Posted on the 19th Feb 2013 in the Category - News
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:12). As I read these words, the last verse of the Old Testament lesson for Ash Wednesday, I was reminded of my ordination in York Minster on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. On that day, I stood in York Minster, the ancient cathedral church of the North, a cathedral itself always being rebuilt, to be made your bishop. Surrounded by such a great number of you from across the Province, I was humbled and honoured in equal measure, and I continue to be immensely grateful to those of you who attended the service despite the weather. Though the temperature was arctic, the warmth of the congregation gathered beneath the ‘Heart of Yorkshire’ could not have been greater.
In this ‘heart-warming’ service, we were both encouraged and challenged by Lord Hope to build up the whole Body of Christ in words that echo Isaiah’s:
· to raise up the foundations of many generations by proclaiming the faith passed on to us from generation to generation and which is now our own foundation,
· to repair the breach by building bridges across communities through listening to one another and respecting the differences between us, and
· to restore streets to live in by working with voluntary and statutory agencies so that all may have life in all its abundance.
Isaiah’s words were spoken in the context of a longing for reconciliation and healing, for re-creating a community of mutual care, embodying God’s loving kindness for his people in their love for one another. Lord Hope’s words were spoken in a similar context, the context we find ourselves in following General Synod’s decision in November 2012 concerning the ordination of women to the episcopate, and I share that same longing of Isaiah’s for our own community, the whole of the Church of England. As your bishop, I pledge myself to representing you and your views in the ongoing discussion in the House of Bishops on how we, though many, may remain one body.
In these difficult and uncertain times when, of necessity, our attention focuses on how we all can live together as one community, we must remember what is certain, and that is God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, and, because we can never be separated from this love, we must never lose heart nor ever be afraid. Rather, we must focus on Christ himself, both priest and victim, who calls us to declare his saving love to the whole world. It is only then that we can fulfil our calling as disciples of Christ and fulfil the vows we made at our baptisms and confirmations.
I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible, to listen your stories and to understand your views. I have greatly enjoyed the visits I have made already to parishes across the Province, and I eagerly anticipate the visits I have planned. In particular, I look forward to the Chrism masses which I am delighted to celebrate, when we can come together to renew our baptismal, diaconal and priestly vows to serve Christ and his Body, the Church. Please find below the details of the masses.
In closing, at the time of writing, the Holy Father has announced his intention to resign his office. I am sure that you will join with me in praying for him and for the Roman Catholic Church as it prepares for electing a new Pope.
Contact details and website
For the moment, the postal address and telephone number of the Bishop of Beverley’s office remain the same, until the new office in York is up and running. However, please update your email address book to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also now have a new website: www.seeofbeverley.org.uk. Please update your links on parish websites to this new address. The site still includes details of petitioning parishes, so please check your details here: www.seeofbeverley.org.uk/directory.php and email any amendments or corrections to Lynn at the email address above. (The old email address will continue to work until we move to York).
The dates for this year’s Chrism Masses are:
Tuesday 19th March S Oswald Hartlepool 1200 noon
Tuesday 26th March Manchester Cathedral 11.30am
Wednesday 27th March Goldthorpe 1200 noon