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RIP Bishop Eric Pike

The Right Revd Eric Pike, former Bishop of Port Elizabeth, has died at the age of 84 after a lifelong ministry in the Eastern Cape.

After growing up on a Church of Scotland mission station, where he learned to speak isiXhosa as well as English, he first trained as an educator. He taught at Queen’s College, Komani, but changed course as he entered his 30s. He trained for the ministry at the old St Paul’s College and was ordained in 1968.

He served in Komga and East London, latterly as Archdeacon of East London, before his election and consecration as Suffragan Bishop of Grahamstown in 1989. In 1993, he was elected the third Bishop of Port Elizabeth, succeeding Bishop Bruce Evans and Bishop Philip Russell before him. He retired in 2001, to be succeeded in turn by Bishop Bethlehem Nopece.

Introducing Bishop Pike’s book, “Who do you say I am?” at a function in Port Elizabeth in 2011, the Revd Robert Penrith said when he first met “this amazing evangelist Eric” at St Andrew’s Church, Mdantsane, he “expected a rather loud and in-your-face evangelist, but instead was greeted with the deepest warmth by this humble man.”

In acknowledgement of the fluency of Bishop Eric’s isiXhosa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to jokingly pronounce “Pike” as if it was African, putting the stress on the “e”.

Bishop Pike was known as a walker, from sharing a daily early-morning walk with Bishop Duncan Buchanan of Johannesburg at bishops’ meetings, to undertaking “the Camino” pilgrimage in France and Spain twice.

In his early 80s, he and his wife, Joyce, hit the headlines when they embarked on the “Nehemiah Prayer Walk”, a 200 km journey through all 60 wards and 126 informal settlements in Nelson Mandela Bay.

He recorded his journey in “Walking the Walk”, a book described as being “right up to date, with the final chapter giving insight as to how the walk has brought churches in Nelson Mandela Bay together in the fight against hunger in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

See Bishop Pike in a news report by the SABC in 2019:

With acknowledgements to the Living Church, Gateway News and the Transformation Christian Network

3 replies on “RIP Bishop Eric Pike”

RIP + Eric.
I together with my younger siblings were confirmed by him at St Cyprians Macubeni, whilst he bishop suffragan in Grahamstown based in Queenstown then.
You have played your role and nurtured many a young, now adults, Anglicans.
Condolences to his family.

You LED your people like sheep: by the hand of Moses and Aaron. – So he tended them with UPRIGHT heart: and guided them with SKILFUL hand. Pss 77:20; 78:70

Some of the ABOVE elements epitomised episcopacy of Eric Pike. I remember how he led his bishopric of Port Elizabeth onto the ruins of St Peter the Fisherman, situated on the hill of South End overlooking Algoa Bay, for a service of cleansing on 14-6-98. Places of worship became redundant when her worshippers were DIS-LOCATED to the Northern and Northeastern Areas of the city. A public service of cleansing of all FORMER church sites ,was the initial,FIRST part of the Diocesan Commission: “Lance the boil!”

We give thanks to God for His faithfulness through His servant Eric Pike.

Bishop Eric PikeRIP will remain in memories of many whose lives he has touch through his ministry as a cleric, both in priestly and episcopacy ministry. i came to know +Eric in 1979 Renewal Conference in Milner Park in Johannesburg, and more closer when I was called to the ministry of a Bishop succeeding him both in Queenstown as Suffragan Bishop of Grahamstown in 1998, and Port Elizabeth in 2001. He was a down to earth person, an Anglicize MXhosa man speaking isiXhosa as if reading from the palm of his hand. We used to take morning walks during Episcopal Synods sittings, with +Duncan BuchananRIP and +Paddy Glover (Retire). Notably is the walk we took in George, Carmel Conference center to Victoria Bay. I came back so tired, trying to keep up with his pace. We all know that indeed, this “walking Bishop” was also an evangelist of note, interpreting the Truth, which is Jesus Christ as brought to us by the Scriptures, with no distortions. The Church has been built on the true Foundation which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor 3:9-11) May his soul rest in peace, and rise in glory in the arms of the Risen Christ in glory!

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