Bp. Michael Wright: Celebration of Life and Legacy

Bishop Michael Mat Wright was born on 13th January 1932 and was baptised one month later in the parish church of Holy Trinity, Windsor. Confirmed in 1945 in the Royal Chapel of St. George, Windsor Castle, he went on to read Theology at Oxford University where he gained his BA in 1955 and his MA in 1958. He completed his studies at Wells Theological College having been ordained to the deaconate shortly before in 1957, and to the priesthood the following year by the Bishop of Oxford. He served in the Oxford Diocese until October 1962 when he was licensed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to serve as a Chaplain in HM Armed Forces.From 1962 – 1994, he served in various locations in the UK, Germany, Belgium (where he was seconded to NATO) South Arabia (actually ministering under fire in the Aden conflict), Cyprus and Hong Kong.
As Father Michael Wright, he was Chairman of the Anglo-Orthodox Association, to bring catholic-minded Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox Churches closer together and in his latter days in the Church of England, whilst stationed at Bovington Camp in Dorset (Tank Regiment), and having decided his ecclesiastical direction upon retirement from the Army, he set up the Anglican Catholic Fellowship for those seeking guidance as to their futures (both lay and priestly) in view of the imminent liberal changes within the C of E.
Immediately upon his retirement from the Army he resigned from the Church of England and was received into the Anglican Catholic Church and served as Archdeacon in the Diocese of the UK. The ACC became the Holy Catholic Church – Western Rite and Father Michael Wright was consecrated bishop in March of 2000.
Elected Metropolitan by his fellow bishops in 2005, his first task was to re-establish full Communion with the estranged bishops of the US dioceses and then to look further afield at trying to bring together the strands of continuing Catholic Anglicanism loosely called the “Anglican Continuum”. He saw his work essentially as a return of the Continuum to the beliefs and ecclesiology of the Undivided Catholic Church of the first Millennium whence came our roots and as put forward as a requirement in the Affirmation of St. Louis (1977), establishing what has become the Anglican Continuum. His vision of the Church being the Living Body of Christ as opposed to the institutional bodies it has become, is our inspirational basis upon which to establish further unification not just of the Anglican Continuum but of the wider Catholic Church
Bishop Michael was instrumental in restoring faith and hope to the people of Umzi wase Tiyopiya (an indigenous Catholic church in South Africa). This church has been in existence since the late 1800’s and in the 1900 had a compact with the Anglican Church in Southern Africa for the fulfilment of its hope namely that of being a ‘church of the first millennium’.This church has been on a journey since then seeking true and genuine Catholic Faith. Bishop Michael met with the leadership of this church in 1998 and he willingly offered to stay in South Africa for an initial period of 6 months; training clergy and lay readers in preparation for Holy Orders.
His efforts culminated in the promulgation of the Diocese of Umzi wase Tiyopiya and the consecration of its first Bishops in August 2000. Since then Bishop Michael has established closer links with this diocese and the people of the diocese regard him as their Father in Christ.
The Diocese of Umzi wase Tiyopiya has since shown tremendous growth in faith and in the number of parishes and that can be attributed to Michael’s unique ability to provide ,develop and inspire leadership.
In January 2009 he visited the people of the Diocese of Umzi wase Tiyopiya; possibly to bid them farewell.
I had the privilege of meeting with him few years ago at the ecumenical congress and talking with him few months ago, hoping to visit with him in Spring. Spring did come but I could only participate in the celebration of his entry into heaven. The wonderful family that he has left behind stands to show forth the sweet nature of this wonderful shepherd who has gone heaven’s way to intercede for us before the throne of the Almighty God.

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