Letter from the Right Reverend Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton For Parish Newsletters – June 2020

Recognise the one who stands beside you.

‘Stay alert’ is the message as we ‘ease out of lockdown’. We know that for some there is little ease as we begin to re-engage with a world that is still fearful of Covid-19 and uncertain about its future. The requirement to ‘stay alert’ is to encourage us to watch out for signs of the virus and protect ourselves and others as necessary.

We’ve just celebrated Pentecost, often recognised as the birthday of the Church. Jesus’ message to his followers as he left them to return to his Father was that they were to ‘stay alert’, not to guard against something fearful to come but rather to be watchful for the Spirit that would free them from fear. It didn’t mean that there weren’t still physical dangers to face but rather that their spiritual lives should grow in boldness.

We have seen much courage exhibited throughout this crisis to date. Key workers who have continued to serve us day by day even whilst most of us have remained at home. The NHS has quite rightly been applauded and appreciated at this time and there are so many more.

I’ve been especially impressed by our schools and their teams who have largely been open throughout this period to be provide care for key worker families and vulnerable children. Even at weekends and during this past half term holiday they have been tirelessly supporting their local communities. Staying alert to the needs of our young, they have shown their commitment and care. I want to express my huge gratitude to them!

As we move into June we may be seeing more children returning to schools having been home-schooled for a time. This will not be without fear for some and a need to be especially alert to physical dangers. Whatever the situation we find ourselves to be in at this point, we are reminded that we have a Comforter, an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who strengthens and encourages our faith even at times of doubt and anxiety.

Whether still at home and isolated or beginning a return to wider community life, may you find yourself being alert for and recognising the one who stands alongside you, the Spirit, who is friend, guardian and comforter.

With every good wish

Bishop Ruth