On Sunday 3 April, we had one of those bitter-sweet days that anyone who has ever loved ministry in a place of God’s choosing will recognise, as our time in Gloucester came to an end. After almost eleven years, I am to move back to the diocese of my birth and of my first fifteen years as a curate and an incumbent. To go back as bishop feels a very privileged calling.
There is something special about Your Cathedral and our diocese. The quality of relationships here is a gift we should never take for granted and must always strive to maintain. I shall want to take this good example with me, but I don’t know how long it will take me to get the Bishop’s Staff Team feeling at home as an Abba Tribute Band!
We are approaching Holy Week. For the last two years in all our worshipping communities, our Holy Week and Easter observances have been disrupted by the pandemic. This time, mine is being disrupted by moving house. My abiding feeling is that with all the changes and chances of our existence, there is something wonderful in the changelessness of Christ’s self-offering and the fulfilled promise of the resurrection. We come and go, but the love of God in Christ Jesus is not changed by disaster, by pandemic or even by an evil war in Europe. If anything, instead of being an anxious and tired Church, now is the time for us all, wherever we are, to know again the simple and undeniable fact that the victory is won, and our Easter songs will be sung.
There is something special in the Cathedral and Diocese of Gloucester, as there is in Salisbury and in other places – and that is the risen Jesus, our Saviour and Friend.
The Very Revd Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury
Stephen will be consecrated as Bishop of Salisbury on Monday 25 April at Southwark Cathedral.