A little late posting this month, but here is my (now slightly out of date) Pastoral Letter for May:
Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise!
Dear Friends in Christ,
Christian Aid Week falls this month, from 10th-17th May. Christian Aid Week is the single biggest act of Christian witness in these Islands. This year Christian Aid Week confronts one of the greatest injustices of all time: discrimination against women, especially in some of the poorest countries in our world. The good news is that individuals, communities and churches can make a real difference this Christian Aid Week. Last year, a magnificent 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m (€14.3m) for Christian Aid Week. Thanks to your efforts, many more people can look forward to a future free from poverty. As Archbishop Justin writes, ‘Jesus calls us to love our neighbour, and challenges any limit we put on who that neighbour might be.’
Easter is a 50 day long Alleluia of praise. In our Sunday Liturgies, as we think and pray about what it means to be an Easter People, we concentrate this month on the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, leading up to our celebration of the Ascension on the 40th day, Thursday 14th May. Jesus leaves the apostles with a promise of his abiding presence, made real through the Holy Spirit. Constantly he tells them, as he tells us, ‘Do not be afraid’.
Looking forward, we begin this month with the All Saints Art Exhibition, and a number of us will then make the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. We are always aware of taking the prayers and hopes of our Parishes with us to Walsingham, to offer them in ‘a place where prayer has been valid’; please do pass on any prayer requests if you would like them to be remembered there in the Holy House. May is often called Mary’s month, as the Church rejoices to join with her and the Apostles, praying to her Risen Son, and reflecting the picture of the early Church gathered together in Acts 1.14, in praying for the Gift of the Holy Spirit, a prayer that will come to its fruition on the Feast of Pentecost. How wonderful, and awe-inspiring, to think that God wants you and I to share in that offering of prayer with Mary and the Saints!
I write these words as I am preparing for Parishes’ Annual Meetings. My thanks to all who have held, and to all who will hold office, as Wardens and Church Council members. Thank you also to all who contributed to our Easter worship, and all who helped to clean and prepare our Church buildings.
May the Risen Christ grant us his peace. Alleluia!
Pax et Bonum (Peace and All Good to you)