Bishop's letter: Time to re-member

1st November 2023

Bishop Ruth

I am shortly leaving Bath and Wells for a time to serve as interim Acting Diocesan Bishop in the Diocese of Coventry. You may know that the city of Coventry saw some very heavy shelling during World War 2, which resulted in the destruction of the Cathedral.

A new Cathedral has since been built and stands alongside the old ruin as a testament of hope. Though different in style, there's a harmony of old and new. It shows us where conflict can destroy, peace can be found as we seek to live together as the people of God.

This marrying of modern and traditional styles of architecture, helps us to consider how we fashion the life we are called to live as Christians in our communities. It is not that we put aside our differences nor require others to conform to our own shape or form. Rather we recognise the value of listening fully to others and learn to hear the voice of God. Determining to value the worth of each contribution and discerning together a faithful walk with God.

This season of Remembrance encourages us to look back and to value the contributions of those who have gone before us, giving their lives in the service of others. It is not about glorifying the concept of war and conflict but the desire to establish a peaceful world for all. As we look back, so we are invited to look forward and commit to establishing a world where all have a place and where the Prince of Peace, Jesus, is our example.

Coventry is the home to the Community of the Cross of Nails. A community of reconciliation based around the cross fashioned by iron nails found within the ruins of the Cathedral following the fire. Its mission is to live out the practice of peace-building, encouraging people across the world to learn to be reconciled with themselves and one another, as they find reconciliation with God, through Christ.

As I leave here, I do so with plenty of memories, many happy, occasionally sad. Often the latter are those where I have got things wrong and failed to live up to my calling to be the grace-filled child of God I long to be. So, if I have let you down, I am sorry and please pray for me, as I will for you, that God continues to reconcile us to Himself and to one another.

And as we hold our acts of remembrance this month, may we become re-membered (put back together), as the people of God.

Bishop Ruth
This letter featured in the November 2023 edition of the Manna mailing.

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