Bishops share message of encouragement and thanks as new restrictions announced

In light of new national restrictions announced on Saturday, Bishop James and Bishop Simon have written a message of encouragement and thanks to the Diocese.

Read their letter here

Writing on All Saints's Day - a season when we celebrate our fellowship with the saints of God living and departed - they acknowledged that the prospect of new restrictions was particularly painful:

"It hurts all the more, therefore, that at this very time we face further restrictions on our meeting together both for public worship and also in terms of family and social life.
"Our prayer with and for one another and our neighbours becomes more important as each day passes. So too our practical actions of service and care in our neighbourhoods and for family and friends."

The bishops said the lockdown comes at huge time of fatigue and would bring for some a sense, but the actions of churches and individual Christians over the previous months was a source of hope for the time ahead: 
"This lockdown comes when we have already been living through this pandemic for over 7 months. For many, there will be a sense of fatigue, disappointment and even despair.  
"Yet despite all previous restrictions, you, individually and in our parishes, chaplaincies and other settings, have continued to be beacons of hope for your communities: creatively taking your ministry online, caring for the vulnerable and isolated, offering worship and time for prayer both in person and virtually.
"This in itself is a source of hope for the time ahead and so please take this brief message as one of immense gratitude from myself and Bishop Simon for all that you are doing, and of our continuing prayers for you as together we face these uncertain times."

Expressing their sincere gratitude for all that was being done the bishops encouraged churches in their continued endeavours:
"Our continued thanks and encouragement to you as, in the words of the final prayer for Night Prayer this day, we say: 'May the light of Christ, the King of all, shine ever brighter in our hearts, that with all the saints in light, we may shine forth as lights in the world.’

In addition the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and Bishop Sarah Mullally have sent a letter to clergy calling for 'this month of lockdown, to be a month of prayer.' 

There is also an invitation 'to fast in a way appropriate to you as well as pray for our nation every Thursday, for its leaders, its health and essential services and all those who suffer.'

Read their letter here

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