Bishop’s Letter

A Richness of Ministry

If we’re all alike we tend to think the same. This can be comfortable and reassuring – ‘Everyone around here sees things just like I do’. But it doesn’t help us think out of the box or worse, spot risks and dangers of which we’re unaware – ‘Crumbs we never saw that one coming!’. For this reason, companies and all kinds of organisations are seeking to become more diverse. Having differing viewpoints, skills and abilities is increasingly recognised to grow ability to think not only more widely but more effectively too.

Recognising diversity has been very much part of our life here in our Diocese of Bath & Wells during recent weeks. Back in May we acclaimed the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women to the priesthood. It’s almost impossible now to imagine what our Church would be like without the contribution of women throughout the ordained ministry. At the end of June the ‘Celebration of Lay Ministries’ held at St Paul’s Weston-super-Mare saw us affirm, thank and bless the many different roles and responsibilities that lay people are undertaking across our churches and in local communities – from leading worship to pastoral care, ministry with children and young people to preaching and teaching the faith. Again, it’s almost impossible to imagine what our churches would be like without such richness.

Our hope is that the diversity we’ve been honouring will only flourish and grow. For it’s essential if we’re to bring the light of the Gospel to everyone in our communities – and especially those we find hard to connect with. For none of us alone, either individually or as a group, has the ability to reach everyone. All of us are needed. It’s for this reason that one of the priorities we’re commending across our diocese is ‘shared local ministry’. This recognizes that everyone, everywhere, has a contribution to make. Now surely that’s something to celebrate!

Bishop Michael