THE Bishop of Worcester has asked people to pray for his wife as she battles inoperable cancer.

Denise Inge, the wife of the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, is receiving treatment in the sarcoma unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

The 50-year-old mother-oftwo was suffering with abdominal difficulties for a month or so before an MRI scan in May revealed the sarcoma.

An honorary fellow in early modern research at the University of Worcester and a leading authority on Thomas Traherne, an English poet, clergyman, theologian and religious writer, she is now receiving what the bishop has described as heavy-duty chemotherapy in the hope that it will shrink the sarcoma in her abdomen sufficiently for surgery to be reconsidered.

A day of prayer will be held at Worcester Cathedral on Friday, July 12. Bishop John said he was praying for a miracle of healing and that he was in the midst of a nightmare.

“How quickly life can change. Only six weeks ago I had lots to enjoy and thought I had enough to worry about with my duties as a bishop, husband and father of two wonderful daughters.

“And then the unthinkable happened – my dear wife Denise was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. At the moment the news was given nearly three weeks ago, my life changed forever.”

Bishop John is receiving support from his colleagues in the diocese, particularly the assistant bishops, and has tried to carry out as many of his duties as he possibly can.

But he has decided to cut down on some of his national work connected to the House of Lords and the General Synod so he can be near his wife of 24 years and the couple’s daughters – Eleanor, aged 14, and Olivia, nine.

The family has also received messages of support from well-wishers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has already visited the couple since the diagnosis and a spokesman said he was keeping in frequent touch.

The Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who has had an operation for prostate cancer, drove to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to see Mrs Inge as soon as he could.

Now the Rt Rev David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, is inviting everyone in the diocese to set aside time on Friday, July 12, as a special day of prayer.

He said some may wish to pray quietly at home. Others may wish to meet as a group in their parish. For those within reach of the Cathedral, the crypt will be set aside from 7.30am to 7.30pm and there will be a special celebration of the Eucharist at 1.05pm.

Some may choose to spend part of the day fasting as well as praying, which in scripture often go together.