Vicar's letter

Clergy letter

Dear Friends,

I don’t think I could have ever imagined when writing my last letter for the magazine, that by the time I came to compose this one, so much could have happened in our beautiful city of Salisbury.

We are of course by now so familiar with the chain of events.  An attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal on the streets of Salisbury with a nerve agent which left both of them and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey critically ill, although Nick has thankfully now been discharged from hospital.  It is an attack which has left many feeling a huge range of emotions – shock, sadness, fear and anxiety.  As police cordons have been erected across the city its shops, businesses and market traders have started to struggle as people stay away.  And of course, what has happened in Salisbury has already had huge international consequences which could well continue for some time.

Yet, the last few weeks have also seen an outpouring of thanks towards the many people who have been working tirelessly on this investigation and keeping us safe.  The outstanding staff at Salisbury hospital, the scientists at Porton Down, the emergency services, the police men and women who have been stood for hours at a time at the various cordons.  All of them deserve our heartfelt gratitude and prayers for all they have and continue to do in the aftermath of this attack.  Their work in caring for those affected and protecting and reassuring the public has reminded us of the strong sense of duty, service and self-sacrifice that comes with such work – qualities that overpower the darker forces which lie behind any attack on human life.

Salisbury with its Cathedral and local churches – many of them ancient, like our own - has seen many Easter seasons.  Over the centuries, the bells on Easter morning, the Easter anthems sung by choirs, the ‘Alleluias’ of Easter morning have all rung out from those places of worship.  But maybe this year, in light of recent events, they need to be heard more than ever.  For Christ is risen and his resurrection stamps underfoot the forces of death, suffering and evil; we still live with their reality, but that reality is temporary.  They are frustrated; they have ‘lost their sting’ because in and through the resurrection, we have new life, eternal life with God.  Our own church then, and the tall elegant spire of Salisbury Cathedral has seen much over the centuries: great suffering, wars, Reformation and World Wars.  Yet still they stand in praise to the risen Christ and the love of God and they will stand for centuries to come reminding all of us that whatever life presents us with, we are indeed loved and cherished by God for all eternity and that His light will overcome any darkness.

I send you every blessing for the Easter Season,