June 2024

This month marks two years since my service of inauguration in the Cathedral and so its two years since I first ordained people deacon and priest – a powerful and humbling experience.

June 2024 will see more ordinations and a special service to mark 30 years since the ordination of women to the priesthood on Saturday 15th June at 11am in the Cathedral. Everyone is very welcome to attend this service, to give thanks for the gift of women’s ministry in this diocese and across the Church. Please join me in praying for all those who are preparing for ordination, as well as those who serve, and have served, in all forms of ministry across the diocese.

At the service for the ordination of deacons, the bishop explains that deacons are ‘called to reach into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.’ Never before has the world been so connected, so visible, with its remotest parts so easy to reach. Yet despite this, many people still feel forgotten and invisible.

Our fast-paced news culture means that stories of suffering, of tragedy or disaster quickly make way for the next headline. The world moves on, but not for those who still dwell, every day, in a place of great difficulty. There will be people around dus who have been forgotten and who feel invisible – those who need support but struggle to access it; the lonely, the housebound or those who cannot access technology. You may feel that way yourself.

‘Reaching into the forgotten corners’ of our world and local communities and making visible the love of God, is a calling to all of us – lay and ordained. This is what we see in Jesus – going to the forgotten places; the forgotten people and showing them that God is with them; that God forgets no-one. Let us, as the church of today, ‘Go and do likewise.’

- Bishop Stephen

July 2024

From my bedroom window I have a great view of both Preston Hill and Hambledon Hill. The Wessex Ridgeway Path passes across them, which spurred me, during my period of study leave earlier in the year, to walk that entire path from Marlborough to Lyme Regis. It took me across many new horizons, across the Wiltshire Downs, around Salisbury Plain and down through the Marshwood Vale to the coast. It was a great walk albeit very boggy in places given the February rain.


May 2024

May is exam month for my youngest daughter, who is undergoing her ‘A’ Levels this summer – the last of our three to pass through that ordeal. I still recall (as I’m sure many of you do too) the sense of elation – almost disbelief – when these were over and a new chapter of life could begin. Somewhere in my loft, I still have the ring file I flung into the air when it was all over!


April 2024

At this time of year, we are beckoned outside after a long, cold and often wet winter. Spring has sprung and all creation calls us to go outside, to tend to our gardens and to admire the new life around us.

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March 2024

A century ago, the great journalist and Catholic provocateur G.K.Chesterton wrote a wonderful essay entitled ‘The Priest of Spring’ in which he considered the integration of the Christian seasons with the natural year – and referred to the “armies of the intellect who will fight to the end on whether Easter is to be congratulated on fitting in with the spring or the spring on fitting in with Easter”.


February 2024

It won’t have escaped many of us that this year, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day. This may feel like an uncomfortable union.


November 2023

Praying for the People God Knows We Need. This autumn it has been a joy to institute and licence a record number of clergy to new posts and as well as being the beginning of new ministry for individuals, communities and parishes, these services represent the culmination of months of careful work.


December 2023

In my former parish, there were various experiments we made to make the most of the unique atmosphere of preparation and excitement accompanying Advent.


October 2023

October is one of those months when the leaves begin to change and fall, and somewhat comical excuses come into conversations about why things don’t work. Leaves on the line may well be a technical problem for the railways, but we all know it also means, somewhat ironically, why is it somethings just don’t work as they should. 


September 2023

Harvest, in the agricultural sense, is well past. All is safely (or soggily) gathered in and the appealing blocks of barley and hay baling our landscape into a pop-up sculpture park have all but disappeared. The Church’s Harvest celebrations


July 2023

I write this at the end of no mow May, and during a week when we are remembering to care for God’s acre, so I am thinking about all those who serve in many ways tending our churchyards and enabling them to be places where God’s creation and God’s presence can be experienced. Thank you.

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