A Message from Bishop Debbie

    Diocesan News
    29 June 2021

    Dear Friends,

    Jesus said to them, ‘But who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’. Matthew 16: 15 and 16

    This is Petertide, the season when we remember how Peter declared his faith and trust in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, and how Jesus entrusted Peter to build his church, a church that we have the privilege of being part of today. It has been wonderful to see so many of you each Monday morning for Diocesan Prayer over the last five weeks. Coming together in this way has provided such encouragement, and our time with one another has reinforced to me what it means to be part of God’s church and what unites us as a diocese Given the busy weeks ahead, we will now pause Zoom morning prayer for the Summer, with a view to looking at future arrangements for the Autumn.

    It goes without saying that this remains a hugely challenging period for us as a diocese. I realise many of you feel you have not heard enough since I wrote to you almost six weeks ago, to inform you that Bishop Tim would be stepping back. Again, I am conscious that many questions remain unanswered, but I can confirm that the process to consider matters raised concerning leadership and governance is progressing.

    Facilitated conversations are continuing and, in order for them to be given the time and space they need, Bishop Tim has agreed these will be his sole focus until the end of August. I recognise many will want to know more and have questions but we do need to ensure the process is held as confidential at this stage and I would urge all to keep those concerned in our prayers. Once we can say more then of course we will. The Bishop of London and the Bishop at Lambeth are being kept fully aware of the ongoing process and are providing welcome support, although they are not part of the conversations.

    Bishop David has agreed to continue standing back from ministry in Winchester Diocese to enable the conversations to run their course.

    I am grateful to you for your prayers through this time and am aware also that, nationally, we continue to live in a time of considerable uncertainty. The overriding questions we have lived with for so many months throughout the pandemic appear to fluctuate almost daily: from when our lives will return to normal, through to whether they even will at all. The answers remain far from clear. Yet, you all continue to work tirelessly for your parishes, your communities, and for each other. This remains a source of great inspiration to me personally.

    Finally, and on a particularly joyful note, we have Diocesan Ordinations to look forward to this weekend. Please do add this year’s ordinands to your prayers (click here for their names) as we welcome their ministry into our parishes.

    With best wishes,