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Letter from the Rector – December 2011

No one could be a greater fan of the Twelve Days of Christmas than I am. The whole thing is a wonderful celebration of life and hope set against the backdrop of the darkest days of the year. The build up to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve finds me each year in a childlike state of excitement as the vertiginous challenge of Advent with its message of ‘get ready, I’m coming….’ fades into the glory of ‘I am come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.’ (John 12. 46) (more…)

Letter from the Bishop – December 2011

Christmas will soon be upon us and with it all the usual rush of presents, parties and family gatherings. In among the frenzy it is good to reflect again of what we are celebrating.  St John masterfully records:

‘In the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word (Logos) was with God and the Word (Logos) was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (more…)

Letter from the Rector – November 2011

November, with its darkening days, is for Remembrance. Great public remembrances and private but no less remembrances of things and people past are part of a greater whole.

On Remembrance Sunday in Cleobury and in our villages we gather around our memorials in an act of witness that seems to grow stronger and more poignant as the years pass, perhaps because those who fought in the First World War have now gone beyond our sight, and those whom President Clinton called the ‘Great Generation’ who fought the Second, grow ever older. It is interesting and fitting that over the last few years the observance of silence and reflection at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Armistice Day, has returned, perhaps in the consciousness that those to whom we owe so much can only now be honoured in this symbolic way – and in the all important struggle to preserve those freedoms for which they paid so high a price. (more…)

Letter from the Bishop – November 2011

One of the benefits of having to drive regularly as part of my Episcopal ministry is that I get the opportunity to listen to the radio. Sometimes the journey and the hour coincide affording me the pleasure of listening to the Today programme and catching up on current affairs. Those of you who listen to that programme will know that topics stretch far and wide from concerns over growing obesity levels, to bankers’ bonuses to environ-mental concerns, to the latest parliamentary concerns or political intrigue. John Humphries and James Naughtie seem to me to be particularly good at asking the penetrating and hard questions of those who come their way. Theirs is the knack of exposing what might be mere rhetoric or political posturing. At the heart of the questioning or debate is a challenge to integrity and right action. In an information saturated age we desire wisdom. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – October 2011

October is a blustery extrovert sort of month. The weather blows in with vigour to tumble the bright leaves off the trees; in school the winter sports with their contact and courage turn afternoons into excitement and adventure in the cooling days, the first frosts whisper of winter ice. Fires are lit and families drawn together in a mid-point of equilibrium between summer holidays and Christmas. (more…)

Letter from the Bishop – October 2011

Most congregations will have had Harvest Thanksgiving services by now, though I can recall Nick Read daring us, a few years ago, to consider what is the best time of year to celebrate harvest when many in the diocese live surrounded by potatoes and cider apples which are harvested so much later than winter barley or the wool from our sheep. The rich diversity of the land and our farms may make a perfect date for a Harvest service impossible, but that same diversity is itself a cause for celebration and wonder. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – September 2011

The other day I had to wait with somebody until the RAC arrived to rescue them in one of the lanes over towards Bridgnorth. It was close to ten o’clock at night and the clouds were sailing across the August sky, between them the stars glittered with their distant and crystalline beauty. I was reminded how before Galileo it was believed that the stars moved in spheres around the earth in a succession of heavens ascending towards the divine presence, and as they and the seven planets moved they created a voiceless music of inexpressible beauty. (more…)

Letter from the Bishop – September 2011

This month sees the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. The term 9.11 is now a part of the global vocabulary. Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day. None of us can deny the shock and horror as we watched film footage of the impact of the aircraft and the consequent collapse of the buildings. The resultant loss of life was something few would have expected in an urban context far removed from a conventional war zone. For many families caught up in the events of that day the anniversary will no doubt be a difficult day. Memories will be stirred and emotions once again brought to the fore. Solidarity with those who lost loved ones and remembering all those who worked with courage to save others will be important. (more…)

Letter from the Rector – July 2011

We can say some things for certain about summer, but we cannot, in this country at least, predict the weather. The number of times I have written clergy letters for July and August in good bright weather, looking forward to a warm and sunny time, and they have sat around in people’s houses and churches while outside the rain falls and the winds blow is embarrassing! (more…)

Letter from the Bishop – July 2011

The King’s Speech has proven to be one of the most imaginative and widely acclaimed films of recent times. Among the many themes the film explores is that of true friendship. There is a memorable line where Lionel Logue says to the Duke of York, later to be King George IV: ‘What are friends for.’ And to which comes back the reply; ‘I wouldn’t know.’ What is so telling is the heart felt cry of the Duke. He had money, position wealth, servants, a plethora of advisors and attendees. What he lacked was a friend. (more…)

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