Tributes paid to Bishop of Buckingham after unexpected death

The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson.

Tributes have been paid to the Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, who died unexpectedly over the weekend.

His passing was announced by the Bishop of Oxford, Steven Croft, who called him "a dear friend and colleague to many across the diocese".

"Alan loved God and loved God's church with a rare passion. He was a bishop who prioritised the parishes and clergy in his care above everything else and served the people of Buckinghamshire with devotion over a long and demanding ministry," said Bishop Croft.

Wilson was Bishop of Buckingham for over 20 years. He was a strong advocate in the Church of England for victims of abuse as well as LGBT equality. 

His death comes not long after starting a sabbatical that he had intended to use to plan for his retirement next year.

Prayers were said for him and his family during the evensong service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford on Sunday. 

"I will miss him as a friend and colleague. The Church has lost a wise, pastoral and prophetic bishop," Bishop Croft added.

The Archdeacon of Buckingham, Guy Elsmore, who worked closely with Wilson, "Along with Alan's other colleagues and the clergy and lay people of Buckinghamshire, I am deeply saddened by this unexpected news.

"We have lost a courageous, wise and exceptional pastoral leader and teacher. Alan's ministry was centred in people, in valuing every person he met and in the quest to expand the circle of the Church's love to embrace all. He will be deeply missed by us all."

Tributes have been paid on social media. 

Lawyer Richard Scorer, who has represented many Church abuse victims, said, "Such devastating news and I'm struggling to take it in. Alan always spoke up for survivors. A wise, empathetic and witty friend. My thoughts are with all those who loved him." 

Former child protection lawyer Martin Sewell said Wilson "was the only CofE bishop fully trusted by the survivor community".

"We must honour his memory by carrying on his work of living the love of Christ," he said. 

Conservative Anglican commentator Adrian Hilton said, "I am shocked and saddened to hear of the death of the Rt Rev'd Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham. We had our theological and political differences over the years, but I also knew him as a man of great integrity and compassion who challenged power and corruption."