Bishop David Statement

A letter from Bishop David regards the second national lockdown

Dear Co-Workers in Christ,

I write as together we begin this next stage of our pandemic journey and our thoughts turn evermore to Jesus and sharing the love of Christ with our communities. I give thanks for your faith and the perseverance and energy you continue to bring as we reshape church for the changing contexts we find ourselves ministering within.

Much that is familiar, comforting and regular in this season, by necessity of saving lives, is different this year. As we approach Advent and the celebration of our Lord amongst us, let us both hold fast and hold up the everlasting promise of Light and Hope.

Remembrance Sunday is another ministry that this year is shrouded in confusion for the nation. As we remember the courage and sacrifice of so many and all those who are affected by war, let us seek to play our part and bring God’s peace to the situation. Aligning our own expectations and activities to a season where protecting lives must remain our keen narrative.

In this difficult yet necessary new period of lockdown, remembering the words of Jeremiah 16:19 ‘O Lord, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress’, we turn from lament to giving thanks for all we have and can achieve. I am grateful church buildings remain open for private prayer and for the abundant new ways we have learnt to practice worship in togetherness and to reach out to our communities in service and love.

I urge you to look to all you have in place currently to protect people and continuity of connection with each other, congregations, community and friends. To take time to pause and reflect on any additional activity that may, or may not, be appropriate, and continue to go prayerfully, walking gently, step by step, with all who will be affected by these actions.

Over the coming days, as detail of our new restrictions come to us through the democratic processes of our nation, and together we navigate the detailed guidance from our CofE colleagues and the Recovery Group, I too, with Archbishops Justin and Stephen call for our focus to be that of prayer and service. Ministering faithfully in these distinctive times with the strength of our faith in God’s abundant provision and love, as reflected in the story of the Christ child, we will once again tell afresh to the generations.

Further guidance will continue to be issued through the regular Update, keeping uppermost in your minds our shared, clear policy to save lives, protect the NHS and praying into a hopeful future.

In circumstances requiring clarification, please continue to consult the Archdeacons or your Area Dean.

With my prayers in Chris Jesus,