March 2024

Bishop Robert is with us on 17th March

Here is a bit of Anglican legalese. If you were to attend, and please do attend, the rather grand ‘Chrism Service’ on Maundy Thursday (11am 28th March, Gloucester Cathedral), you will watch all the vicars in the Diocese, working and retired, stand up to affirm their oath of canonical obedience to Bishop Rachel and Charles III. I checked the House of Bishop’s steer on such things, which says:

The ministry of the Church is the ministry of Christ, its chief shepherd and high priest. The ordained ministry is Christ’s gift to his Church, and in their life and ministry, bishops, priests and deacons are called to speak in Christ’s name and build up the Church of which he is the head. In this way the whole body of the Church is ordered in faithful response to the Lord’s summons to share his work.

Vicars and curates share ministry (both always are deacons). Bishops and vicars also share ministry. In fact, come to think of it, all Christians share ministry with Jesus. Jesus is the one true shepherd. And bishops and vicars copy Jesus ‘the Good Shepherd’.

So when Bishop Robert comes to Staunton Church (9.30am 17th March) and to Maisemore Church (11am 17th March) he is not really a visitor or our ‘guest’. Bishop Robert is one of us. The implication of the oath of canonical obedience is this: The message Bishop Robert gives at Staunton Church and Maisemore Church, about Jesus who by dying for our sake serves us [note: Passiontide starts on March 17th] is to be lived out by us altogether. Bishop Robert, the vicar and both congregations, we together, are called by God to embody Jesus in our character and in our actions.

As Daphne Fraser put it:

By your wounded hands: teach us diligence and generosity.

By your wounded feet: teach us steadfastness and perseverance.

By your wounded and insulted head: teach us patience, clarity and self-mastery.

By your wounded heart: teach us love, teach us love, teach us love, our Lord and saviour.

Mid-month with Bishop Robert, we reflect on God’s call on our hearts and lives, so that at the month’s end, on Easter Sunday, we - Bishop Robert, vicar John, all of us - may be witnesses to the risen Christ standing in our midst. Christ alive on Easter Day offers us God’s peace. Our Good Shepherd, wounded yet risen, bears the wounds of Passiontide. Wounds suffered by Christ’s for his lost, scattered and at Easter, regathered sheep.

Baptism in March

9.30am 3rd March at Staunton Church, Hazel Bunn, her parents Robert and Miriam. We offer our prayers and congratulation.

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