Thoughts from the Rectory
for June 2021
We had a surprise visit to the benefice a few weeks back. Jane Steen, the next Bishop of Lynn – whose role is as assistant to the Bishop of Norwich – was unveiled (metaphorically only!) on 28th April, when her appointment to the post was announced in the media. She joined Bishop Graham and others on a day-long whistle-stop tour of the diocese, to introduce her to different aspects of life in Norfolk – a very different environment from Southwark in London, where she’s currently serving as Archdeacon. One of the reasons the group came here to the Glaven Valley that day was to visit the scene of our monthly Breakfasts and Lunches that normally take place in Blakeney Church, run and enjoyed by people from around the benefice. (And let’s hope it won’t be too much longer before we’re able to restart those.)
There’s widespread delight that we will now have a woman as one of the three bishops in our diocese. Of course we’re aware that there are still a few people for whom this is a difficult issue, but for most of us, there is real pleasure that the Church is becoming more and more diverse and balanced. The number of women clergy in the Church of England continues to grow. There is still work to be done in terms of ethnic diversity among the clergy, but we’re heading in the right direction. On the ground, thank goodness, most people’s experience of the local church is of a broad, welcoming community, where everyone is valued and encouraged and energised. The Church may be God’s idea, but it’s still a human institution, and therefore imperfect! Work in progress, but definitely progressing!
My prayer is that everyone will know that they are welcome and cherished in our churches, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or indeed creed. We are here to share the message that God’s love is there for everyone equally, and to serve everyone we meet without distinction.
Jane will be consecrated bishop in Norwich Cathedral on 23rd June. If you’re able to, please do pray for her in the coming weeks. And if anyone would like to watch the service, it will also be streamed online on the diocesan website(www.dioceseofnorwich.org).
Wishing you a very happy June!