Vicar's letter

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you all!  I don’t know about you but as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I felt very reflective about the passing of 2018. We all know that it was a very difficult year for our city and so as it was consigned to the history books, we could all move forward into a new year with a renewed hope that the city would continue to recover.

Yet the beginning of 2019 has felt far from hopeful on a national level.  Brexit continues to dominate the headlines, with competing views as to what should happen next.  MP’s talk about threats and abuse that they now suffer on a daily basis – something that was captured on camera only a few days ago.  People talk about Brexit as being something that has put a strain on their relationships with family and friends.  Whatever then your own views, one thing we can all agree on is that the division in this country is hugely worrying.  Of course, people have and always will disagree – especially where politics is concerned – but Brexit has created a very angry, divided nation, one that seems to have lost the art of disagreeing well.

How strange then it might be to hear that the Church could help in such times, not only in the obvious ways such as praying for our politicians and for healing in our country.  The worldwide Church has for centuries dealt with the realities of division and yet through the ecumenical movement has found a way to reconcile, heal and find a unity within a diversity of theological views.  Of course, there are still fundamental disagreements; there are still evident divisions even within denominations.  Yet the Church continues to show the world that unity can be found amidst the most fundamental disagreements, in the Church’s case in and through faith in Jesus Christ.

Let us then not give up hope, but pray that the anger and division in our country may begin to heal.  It may take many years, it may not be easy, but the Church in this county and indeed in Europe shows us that a true, lasting unity can be found – even in the midst of diversity.

With every blessing,