Milverton, Somerset

Bishop’s letter for October

I was expecting to be on sabbatical as I write this but of course you will all now be aware that Bishop Peter is receiving treatment for leukaemia and thus I am back in the diocese.

He is as cheerful as ever and very much values your care, thoughts, prayers, cards, flowers and so many warm messages. Thank you! Please keep praying for him, Jane and the family.

Coping with the ‘unexpected’, whether it is news about health, the pandemic or a personal diagnosis like +Peter’s; or a change of plan such as my sabbatical, can set us in a spin. We don’t always know how to respond. It requires us to adapt, to change, to rethink how we will live. I’m reminded of the story of Elijah who felt overwhelmed by the circumstances around him. A national drought both from rain and faith left him feeling vulnerable and alone. And although God made Himself very evident in the events of Mount Carmel, Elijah still felt under siege and fearful, wanting to die rather than face the wrath of Jezebel. And so he ran! And in the book of Kings we find God meets with him. First of all bringing him refreshment of body and mind through sleep and food. And then, when his well-being is restored, he discovers the voice of God, not in the strength of storm or wind but in a ‘still small voice’.

I wonder where and how you might hear the voice of God? Across the diocese we are entering into a listening project to hear what God might be saying to us, in and through the strange times in which we now live.

We welcome your thoughts so please do share them with us.

Praying God’s blessing on us all,

Bishop Ruth