Friday, 10 April 2020

A message from the Archdeacons and Bishop of the Diocese of St. Asaph

Dear Colleagues,

I cannot help but feel that this year we are being given a profound insight into the Easter story. We are learning once again what it is to be powerless, when forces beyond our control shape our lives. And just like the disciples on Good Friday, we are learning what it is to be spectators, of or participants in, a story that is not of our choosing.

Like many of you, I have been deeply moved by the fear and  loss that some families are experiencing. I have also been humbled by the courage and generosity of so many who are putting themselves in harms way to keep our services, shops, pharmacies, surgeries and hospitals going. Maybe this is a glimpse into the realities of the kingdom of God, where those who appear to be the least are actually the most important.

We are also experiencing something of the isolation and trepidation that the disciples felt in the long hours after good Friday, when their hopes and dreams appeared to be shattered and they had no idea what the future would hold in the days or weeks that followed.

In many ways I am reminded of this time last year when I watched helplessly while Notre Dame burned. Except this time, the loss is much more profound and personal.

For many of us this Easter will be unlike any we have previously experienced. Not only because we will not have the joy of sharing with our congregations or wider families. But also because as a society, we know that it will be some time before we can move past our own Good Friday and find the hope, energy and possibilities that will come with a different kind of resurrection.

Easter Sunday transformed a small group of people, who in turn started a movement that changed the world. I hope and pray that as we go beyond our current situation, enough of us will also be transformed that we can make a similar difference.

Each year Christians throughout the world share in those ancient and profound words Alleluia Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia. This year, as we face a global pandemic, I pray for the time when people throughout the world will utter fresh words of hope and thankfulness. And I also pray that our shared experience and shared joy will somehow bring us together.

With thoughts, prayers and best wishes for Holy Week and Easter.

Barry, Andy, John and Bishop Gregory.