Norfolk bishops offer lockdown encouragement
The three bishops from the Diocese of Norwich have sent out a letter encouraging clergy and lay leaders after six months of lockdown when “many will be hitting the proverbial brick wall".
Bishops Graham Usher, Alan Winton and Jonathan Meyrick wrote: “Hopes were rising of moving towards greater freedom and reduced anxiety, but increasing infection rates and new restrictions have halted that for now. We continue to grieve those who have died and pray for those who mourn. We are also conscious of those who are taking time to recover from being ill.
“In these last months we have learnt and achieved a huge amount across this diocese, and this should give us strength to face these next months. We have seen the remarkable speed with which online services became widespread; the energy shown in reaching the isolated and helping feed the hungry, including through our ‘Filling the Gap’ school and church partnership; the renewed focus on the pastoral nature of ministry; the many acts of selflessness and generosity on the part of our key workers; and the opening up of many of our church buildings for prayer and worship. We give thanks for the tremendous innovation and courage that has shown us in practice the meaning of love for God and love for our neighbours. God’s faithfulness has been discovered afresh, and God’s strength has powered the resourcefulness and resilience shown by so many.
“But all of this has been costly and as we look ahead, we recognise that more will be demanded of us in these coming months. For some, this does feel like a moment of hitting the wall, asking how we will carry on.
“We will need to continue to encourage and support one another, sometimes going the extra mile, sometimes accepting the help that others offer us. As opinions become more divided, and people’s anger at the restrictions on their lives becomes more acute, we will need to be kind to one another, practising godly forbearance, treating others with the grace that we receive from God.”
Read the full letter here