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David Say

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David Say

David Say
Bishop of Rochester
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of Rochester
Elected 1961
Term ended 1988
Predecessor Christopher Chavasse
Successor Michael Turnbull
Other posts Honorary assistant bishop, Canterbury (1988–2006)
Ordination 1 January 1940
Consecration 1961
Personal details
Born (1914-10-04)4 October 1914
Died 14 September 2006(2006-09-14) (aged 91)
Wye, Kent
Denomination Anglican
Parents Cdr Richard Say RNVR
Spouse Irene Rayner (d. 2003)
Children 2 sons; 2 daughters
Alma mater Christ's College, Cambridge

Richard David Say KCVO (4 October 1914 – 14 September 2006) was the Bishop of Rochester in the Church of England from 1961 to 1988. He was often noted for his height (6 ft 4in).


  • Early life and education 1
  • Ordained ministry 2
  • Later life 3
  • Death and legacy 4
  • Quotations 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Say was the son of Commander Richard Say RNVR. He was educated at Arnold House Prep School, St John's Wood, University College School, Christ's College, Cambridge and Ridley Hall.

Ordained ministry

Say was ordained deacon in the Church of England in World Council of Churches conferences. He retired from those roles in 1955 to parish ministry in Hatfield (with the linked office of chaplain to the Marquess of Salisbury).

After his consecration as bishop in 1961, Say took a seat in the House of Lords from 1969 to 1988 (speaking there in 1986 on the admission of women into Holy Orders as deacons) and for some years deputised for the Archbishop of Canterbury as chairman of the board of governors of the Church Commissioners. He also spoke in General Synod in favour of church marriages for divorcés (1983) and of Anglican-Methodist reunion.

Later life

On retirement as Bishop of Rocherster (he was one of the last bishops not required to retire at 70, whilst the final words at his retirement service being “Alleluia — on we go”) he moved to Wye, where he was active in the parish and was an honorary assistant bishop in the Diocese of Canterbury until shortly before his death.

Say supported the city of Rochester, Chatham, Kent County Cricket Club, the University of Kent (serving as Pro Chancellor for several years) and, more recently, Canterbury itself. He was also for 18 years High Almoner to the Queen. He was honorary chaplain of the Pilgrims Society from 1968 till 2002.[1]

Death and legacy

On Say's death, the Bishop of Dover, Stephen Venner, said:

I was privileged to benefit from Bishop David's advice and friendship over the years. Even when I saw him a few days before he died, he typically ministered to me as much as I to him.

Say's funeral service was celebrated in the nave of Canterbury Cathedral on 27 September 2006 and a public memorial service was held on 2 February 2007 in Rochester Cathedral (with a sermon by the then Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali). His wife Irene was a JP and gardener who died in 2003. They had a son and two daughters, all of whom survived them.


  • He believed the greatest danger to the Church of England was concentrating “on laundering our surplices” and forgetting its true mission, which was "from Corrymeela to Calcutta, washing the world’s feet”.
  • “God is the God of the future as well as of the past.”


  1. ^ Robert Worcester (September 28, 2006). "Bishop David Say - Lives remembered". The Times. 

External links

  • The TelegraphObituary in
  • The TimesObituary in
  • The IndependentObituary in
  • Obituary of Edward Francis, an archdeacon under Say
  • Obituary of David Bartleet, a suffragan bishop under Say
  • Obituary of Philip Goodrich, a suffragan bishop under Say
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Christopher Chavasse
Bishop of Rochester
Succeeded by
Michael Turnbull
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