Published by Eddie Mason on Wed, 24 Mar 2021 10:24

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A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Paul on 23 March 2021

Dear Friends,

I am writing on this day of reflection for the nation simply to say how greatly I thank God for you all and I am praying for you by name this week as we prepare for another unique Holy Week and Easter. I am certain we will all have points through today when we recall the moment a year ago when we entered that first lockdown, remembering especially those who grieve for loved ones who have died through this most painful of times.

The full effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be difficult to quantify for some time to come. While we hope some restrictions will gradually be eased over the coming weeks, the future pattern of life and ministry remains uncertain. And so we will continue to find ourselves living and ministering in the present moment as well as we can, caring for those around us, whilst also doing our best to plan for the future, both short and medium term.

Please also continue to take care of yourselves. You are the most precious resource the diocese has been entrusted with ‘for such a time as this.’ Your ministry has made a difference in countless ways that only heaven knows. Over the past twelve months some have been called by God into new ministries in the diocese and we still look forward to welcoming them properly ‘in-person’, whilst others have retired or been called into new gospel work elsewhere.

We will all have Scriptures where God has spoken a timely word into our hearts this past year. The Psalms especially have become like friends accompanying us through the dramatically changing contours of the journey we have been on. In Psalm 61, one of those appointed for today, I read again with relief the familiar phrase, “I call to you as my heart grows faint: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

It is an enormous encouragement to know that God is working his purpose out through every faltering step we take. I find he often does his best work in me not when I am feeling ‘on top of things’ but when ‘my heart grows faint’ and I cry out to him for help like never before. It is then that I truly understand what it means to sing, ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand!’

However faltering our steps, it is together that we journey through Holy Week towards the enduring hope of Easter. Please do join others across the diocese on- line next Wednesday at 7.30pm as many renew their vows and vision of Christ and his kingdom; the link will be sent to you beforehand. Each day different voices from around the diocese will also be sharing on-line short stories of hope that reflect a part of all that God has been doing among us.

I truly believe that God is preparing us for abundantly fruitful seasons ahead, whatever challenges we may yet face.

With every blessing and gratitude for your ministry,


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