On Easter Sunday Bishop Peter led his first live-streamed Eucharist, from his home. You can download the liturgy below.
Over the last two Thursdays we have seen an extraordinary sight, as people across the length and breadth of the country have gone outside to clap and cheer in support of the NHS. It has been heartening and encouraging to see streets and communities coming together to show their appreciation of the courage and dedication of NHS and care workers who are doing such an amazing job of looking after and supporting those in such need at this time. The first Thursday I took a big old hooter up onto the tower here in the Bishop’s Palace and made as much noise as I could. It was gratifying later in the week to be speaking on the phone to someone who lives right across the other side of Wells to know that they could hear me. Encouraged by that I took a bell up there this Thursday and rang it for all its worth!
As Easter Day approaches, we are aware that our churches are now shut in order to support the government’s instruction to us all Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives. That means that one of the things we shall miss hearing is church bells ringing out across our towns and villages and fields proclaiming that Easter Day is the day of resurrection – the day when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead.
This year I suspect our celebration of Easter may be more somewhat muted. Many of us are anxious for relatives, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. Many of us have family or friends who are in the front line, in hospitals and nursing homes, caring for those who have the virus. Some of us will be ill ourselves and some of us will be trying to come to terms with grief and loss. Nevertheless, I hope that we will all take the opportunity that Easter offers us to remember that God is with us, despite all the challenges and concerns that we currently face. When the women went to the tomb on that first Easter Day they found the stone had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty and we are told that they ran with great joy back to the disciples to tell them this wonderful news.
Our church bells may not be ringing this Easter but may the good news that Jesus is alive ring out and may we all know the peace and joy of the risen Lord.
May the comfort, peace, presence and joy of the Lord be with you this Easter.
With my best wishes and prayers,
Bishop of Bath and Wells