It hardly seems possible that the summer is almost over and we are tumbling
headlong into autumn, with the spectre of winter hard on it’s heels. The fact is,
however, that each season brings its natural challenges and joys, and, perhaps, how
we view them is of greatest primary importance. Our hopes and dreams, too, and our
response to seasonal circumstance, are shaped and coloured by our previous
experiences and optimism. This is true of life in all its aspects, for all of us, I
There is a time for wringing our hands and shaking our heads as we despair at what
we, not unnaturally, perceive as the “Change and decay,” which, “in all around I see,”
yet, we do find our comfort in that He, “who changeth not”, continues to “abide with
me”. There is a time, then, for confidence and optimism.
In my Chaplain’s Report for the AGM, delayed because of Covid 19 and to be held this
month, I noted the widespread consensus that we are beset by challenges our
generation has never faced, and our material world is threatened as never before.
There is political turmoil and national and international friction and distrust on what
seems a new scale. There is, however, a satisfying and affirmative response, already
ours, requiring that we simply press the ‘refresh’ button!
As Paul reminds us in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing motivated by selfish ambition or
conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourselves”. In a
nutshell, he suggests we embrace the mind of Christ, who left his heavenly comfort
to die and to liberate even those who refuse his friendship.
So how is such love possible since, for humanity at large, there is pretty substantial
evidence that we are by nature selfish? Who, by nature, accepts others as more
significant than self, and welcomes the costs of love? Our addiction to the hunger
for praise and riches and personal comfort and safety, is hard to break.
Finding our ultimate purpose in life is how we free ourselves from these things, and
we believe we have the answer to our search. In what we learn through Jesus and his
profound Gospel of radical inclusive loving, we come to know the actuality and
authenticity of all pervading contentment. Our freedom from self-exultation makes
us glad to welcome the costs of love and reveals the wonder of our ultimate purpose.
This ‘purpose’ is enjoying these treasures we have and that we recognise in our faith,
without losing sight of it in the greedy battle to have more than we will ever need, at
the expense of others.
God bless you all.
Love, as always, Brian
INFECTIOUS ILLNESS AND THE CHALICE (February 2020).
6 March 2020
To the Clergy of the Diocese
Dear Sisters and Brothers
We wrote to you at the beginning of February regarding good practice concerning coronavirus and control of infectious diseases in general. We want now to update our advice in the light of changing circumstances over the past month.
The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:
We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies.
Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership.
This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.
We will keep in touch with you as the situation develops and plan to write again in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions do contact us or your Archdeacon or our Chief Operating Officer. We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely. At the same time, our Diocesan website will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also.
Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.
Yours in Christ
Was signed Robert and David