The weekly Bulletin (31.03.20)

Published: Tuesday March 31, 2020

A Message from Bishop Rachel

Passion and compassion in Passiontide

In these days of ‘staying at home’ Bishop Robert and I continue to be inspired by the way people are living Church with such creativity and love, finding different ways of sharing in public prayer and worship at home (noting once again that there is no compulsion for everyone to be streaming); and learning more of what it means to be Christ’s people Sunday through to Saturday. Christ’s love is being proclaimed as people of all ages live out their faith in daily life whether at home, school or in other vital places of work, including our hospitals, prisons and emergency services. We also continue to hear of the ways people are providing pastoral support and shining Christ’s light in our communities through acts of kindness and practical support. Please can I draw your attention to  the ‘Feeding the 5,000’ initiative which is happening across large parts of the diocese in conjunction with ‘The Long Table’, and complementing many of the projects which are springing up locally.

In the deepening discovery of what it means to be the Church and participate in the work of the Kingdom of God with compassion, there is the treasure of our own becoming. These days will undoubtedly have places of both pain and joy as well as sadness and laughter, and in it all we need to pay attention to who we are and what we find life-giving as we inhabit a new rhythm to our work, rest, prayer and play.

I was tempted to use the vocabulary of ‘paying attention to what you are passionate about’ but ‘passionate’ is a word that is all too easily used as shorthand for saying we feel strongly about something. In this season of Passiontide it’s good to pause to remember that the root of the word ‘passion’ is in suffering and sacrifice, most supremely shown in Christ’s love for us on the cross.

The headline of ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’ is indeed one we should be living and encouraging others to live with passion and compassion in the coming days. It will involve sacrifice but also enables us to live and speak of the saving acts of God in Jesus Christ as we engage with people in our varied contexts in numerous ways over the coming days.

As always, bishops, archdeacons and diocesan staff are here to support you both practically and pastorally. We might be physically distant but we are walking with you in these days of Passiontide.

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross..’

 Hebrews 12:1-2 (Morning Prayer 31 March 2020)

Messages for clergy, churchwardens and Readers

Holy Week and Easter 2020

Planned reflections and services for Holy Week 2020

On Palm Sunday and the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week Bishop Robert, the Dean and the Archdeacons will be offering a short online reflection. All of these will be available on this webpage and on our Diocese of Gloucester social media accounts.

On Maundy Thursday at 11 am we are seeking to gather together as many of the clergy and readers as we can through a live ‘Zoom’ act of worship in which we will reaffirm our ministerial promises and during with Bishop Rachel will give her Charge to the Diocese in these extraordinary days. For those not able to access this via Zoom there will be a telephone number so you can ‘dial in’ to hear and be part of this service. We will publish the order of service on the Diocesan Website and circulate details of how to access this service early next week. Bishop Rachel’s Charge will also be available on the Diocesan YouTube channel later that day.

For Good Friday the Bishops Staff Team will be offering by YouTube a dramatized telling of St John’s account of the Passion with a short reflection before and after.

On Easter Day there will be a 7am live-streamed Eucharist from the chapel in Bishopscourt with Bishop Rachel’s Easter Sermon. Bishop Robert and other members of the senior clergy will be releasing short Easter messages and Bishop Rachel’s Easter Sermon will be available to view on the diocesan website later for those taking part in other livestreamed worship that morning.

More details will follow in the Tuesday Bulletin (Tuesday 7 April).

Central services help and support

College Green offices are currently closed, with teams working remotely from home. Most people will be available on email (format is first initial, surname, eg ku.gr1716312342o.coi1716312342dsolg1716312342@pmal1716312342ck1716312342) so do continue to contact them if you need anything.

We’ve created a hub on the diocesan website with resources, guidance and information.

How can technology help you?

Resources for children and young people

Sharing the Easter story online

Jo Wetherall, diocesan Children and Families Officer, has recorded the Easter story on Facebook in a very visual way with clear and simple wording to help share the message of the season.

Please do share with anyone who might find it helpful.



Growing Together
This is a collection of resources for households (people of all ages) to explore or nurture Christian faith in their own time and at their own pace.

As well as the usual monthly sheets, there are topical weekly reflection and activity sheets. This week’s is called The Gift of Time and we have shared the Holy Week resource ready for you to use next week.



Barrie Voyce, diocesan Youth Life group leader, is blogging each week for church leaders on keeping engagement with young people. 

If you are involved in work with schools, education and young people you might find the Church of England’s leadership development publication ‘Called, Connected, Committed’ read by co-author Andy Wolfe interesting. It explores 24 leadership practices for educational leaders.

Resources for rural churches from the Arthur Rank Centre

The Arthur Rank Centre has launched a resource hub to support rural Christians and churches during the coronavirus outbreak. Named ‘Together Apart’, the hub has a range of resources covering many aspects of rural Christian life. Different section include: farming and agriculture support; practical resources, guidance and advice; resources for children and families, and weekly reflections.

Christian Aid Week 2020

There are some big changes at Christian Aid and this year Christian Aid week is being done very differently —>

Community support: information urgently needed

It is important that we do all we can, in a safe way and following national guidance, to help those in our communities who are most vulnerable. There are some simple but effective things we can all do to help, such as taking out the bins, making a phone call, collecting shopping that will make a world of difference to those in need.

Gloucestershire County Council has created an online help hub, which is collating all the support people, organisations and worshipping communities are providing in response to the Covid-19 crisis. They are also asking for people who are willing to volunteer their time and skills. This information then helps the district councils find the community support needed for those most in need.

This is really important information and we know our worshipping communities are actively helping so please do sign up. It would also be hugely helpful if you can send us the information so we can help provide a coordinated response across our diocese. Please ku.gr1716312342o.coi1716312342dsolg1716312342@name1716312342tapk1716312342/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">email Kerry  with how you are serving the community.

Mental health resource hub

In these unprecedented times, we are very aware that we will all have lots of different pressures to deal with.

Staying in touch with your team

  • Make sure that you are keeping in touch with your team or chapter. Lots of teams are finding Zoom to be a helpful way to meet and see each other’s faces. There is also a telephone dial in option for people who don’t have a smartphone. If you’re unsure how to connect with Zoom, you might find this web tutorial helpful.
  • There’s a church leadership only Facebook group which is intended to be a really informal place where clergy can share what’s going on.
  • If you are a member of clergy and get sick then please do let the ku.gr1716312342o.coi1716312342dsolg1716312342@kral1716312342ca1716312342/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">HR team know.

Here’s a round up of some other tips you might find helpful

Prayer requests

We have had some kind offers from people who would like to pray for needs around the Diocese. Email your prayer requests to ku.gr1716312342o.coi1716312342dsolg1716312342@pmal1716312342ck1716312342 and we will collate them and share through the Bulletin.

Clergy news

  • Debbie Orriss has been appointed as Pioneer Evangelist within the Gloucester and Forest Centre of Mission. She will be based in the Coleford area in the Forest of Dean, working in a team with Andy Wilson the Lead Evangelist who is based in Matson.   Debbie is a commissioned  Church Army evangelist who currently works for the Diocese of Salisbury as Diocesan Discipleship Coordinator. The intention and hope is that she will take up her post from 1 August, subject to issues around coronavirus. Debbie will also be working closely with Sarah Bick, the Vicar of Coleford.
  • The Revd Nina Summerfield, Associate Priest of Lydney, Woolaston, Alvington and Aylburton Benefice will be given Permission to Officiate from 25 May until she makes a planned move to the Diocese of Oxford.

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