One of the joys for both of us in the days before Christmas was to be able to join in a number of carol services around the Diocese. In these services, we told again the story of the coming of God among us in the birth of Jesus Christ. This is Good News, and we were reminded again what an immense privilege it is to serve with you as your Bishops and of the committed and generous ministry of clergy and lay leaders in all our communities, and faith lived out by children and adults in numerous everyday contexts Sunday to Saturday.
Moreover, as in these services, we heard again of the visits of the shepherds and the magi, we were reminded to look up and out. We were reminded that this birth is not just for a few, but for all, and for now. As we step out into this new year, we are invited to live the life of Jesus Christ in all that we do. God comes to live with us, sharing our life and that of our world and we, the Church, are called to do the same.
It’s good to be reminded of this in the midst of all the noise that surrounds us, all of our worries, fears, and concerns. This is our purpose, to share the love of God and to work for the coming of the Kingdom, as the prophet Micah tells us, ‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ With this as our focus, we can walk confidently into the new year.
In this Diocese our LIFE Together vision and our five spotlight areas, are especially helpful in guiding us in this path and keeping us focussed, in our plans and actions, on sharing the life that we find in Jesus Christ.
We have committed to:
- Nurturing everyday disciples
- Developing diverse lay and ordained leaders
- Investing in people and programmes which excite young people to explore and grow in faith
- Encouraging new and courageous ways of worshipping in different places which connect with more people
- Being advocates for flourishing through initiatives which combat injustice, environmental destruction, exclusion and isolation
Keeping these in mind, as we navigate what will, without doubt, be yet another challenging year which again promises the unexpected, will help calm us when we feel buffeted by the storm and keep us close to our purpose and calling. As we see these commitments lived out by others of all ages they will also assure us of our unity in Christ across our different communities and expressions of church life. Perhaps most importantly they will help ensure we look out beyond ourselves to the world in which Christ was born, which we are called to serve in Jesus’ name.
The life of our Diocese is each day in our prayers, not least prayers of thanksgiving for all we share and prayers of blessing that together we may bless all in our care.
We look forward to sharing the journey of the year ahead with you,