A message from Bishop Rose

Dear sisters and brothers,
 

Thank you!

When we entered lockdown we knew that many churches were in financially challenging situations as they struggled to meet the costs of maintaining their buildings and sustaining mission whilst, also resourcing their ministry through the payment of Parish Share. At that point the closure of our church buildings and halls by the Coronavirus pandemic was an added and unwelcome complication as a number of our church’s income streams were turned off overnight. In terms of the ongoing viability for many of our church communities, their mission and ministry, we began to fear the worst. But in such times scripture encourages us to trust in God and - wonderfully - we are hearing more and more stories of incredible generosity in our churches.

And not just financially - our people have been able to reach out to a needy and grieving world around them, giving comfort and hope. So firstly, I want to say thank you to each of you for all that you have been about, as you have sought to adapt to our changing circumstances and show the love of Christ to an increasing number of people in new ways. Additionally, both Julian and I want to say a heartfelt 'thank you' to all those churches who have, despite uncertain finances, been able to trust in God and make considerable efforts to pay their Parish Share. This is no mean feat, but it has so far enabled us to sustain ministry without the need for short term financial assistance. Your response has brought great joy to us both, your generosity humbling us as we appreciate that this cannot have been easy for so many of you. Whilst we are not out of the woods yet - and there may still be difficult days ahead - we give thanks to God for all your efforts and for answered prayers.

Monuments & statues

We have had a number of concerned emails from people asking about whether local churches are now required to conduct an audit of their statues and monuments, particularly in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. You can read a statement from the national Church about this here

For clarity, no formal audit of parish monuments has been announced, despite what has been reported by the media. Parishes are being encouraged, however, to take the opportunity to look at whether there are any such monuments or memorials on their premises and, if so, consider how they might deal locally with that element of their history. No one is proposing a wholesale removal of such items, though I would encourage you to reflect locally about how the story of those items might honestly be told. There could be a few cases where decisions may also be taken locally to petition for a faculty to remove such items, after careful consideration of all the pertinent issues.
 
As further National advice and support becomes available, we will let you know, should you wish to access it for whatever local conversations you may wish to undertake.

In Conversation...

Once again, this week, I'd like to invite you to join myself, Neville Emslie and the Senior Team in conversation about this week's resource from St Luke's and Sheldon, which focuses on the body: 

Previous week's resources are all available online here

Our meetings are aimed at lay and ordained ministers - but other church officers are very welcome to join us too. Details of this week's meetings are as follows:

Thursday 9 July, 5pm

Friday 10 July, 10am

I will next plan to be in touch with you on Tuesday next week (14 July) - or sooner if there is urgent information to share with you. 

With blessings,  

 




The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Bishop of Dover and Bishop in Canterbury 

7 July 2020