The Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam, preached at the diocesan Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass.
The press release about this: A Maundy Message in the World’s Eye
The full text of his sermon is available here.
Another quote from the sermon:
…As a parish priest I always used to find that people with the most intractable problems would appear after the Sunday evening service when nowhere was open and there was no-one to whom I could refer them. For bishops the equivalent is receiving a letter late on Friday afternoon from the Archbishops about the Church of England and the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which they wanted read out or distributed at the start of Holy Week.
Please will you pray this Holy Week especially for all those involved, and for all affected by safeguarding issues.
Thank you for responding so promptly.
Janet Fife wrote a sharp but insightful Survivor’s reply to the Archbishops which is online.
I thought you might want to know,
how I, as a survivor, feel about your letter. And I know you’ll pay careful attention, because you’ve said you want to listen to survivors.
Since Archbishop Justin has called for an end to clericalism and deference, I’m going to call you Justin and John.
If you’re going to address us all as ‘Sisters and Brothers in Christ’, don’t finish with ‘The Most Revd and Rt Hon’. It’s just not brotherly. It looks like showing off. It certainly doesn’t look like the shame Justin said he felt.
If you want to send out something called a pastoral letter, make it pastoral…What practical steps have you taken to help survivors, for instance?
And so on.
It’s a good letter and a tough one and it’s received quite a lot of comment. She got me thinking about what we would be doing today gathered together and all dressed up at the start of the great three days that lead to Easter through betrayal, denial and the disciples running for it…
At the weekend, the Revd Canon Prof James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College, Salisbury, wrote this article: Salisbury Under Siege – What Does it Mean to be an Easter People?. An excerpt:
… In the gospel accounts of the resurrection, there is both fear and joy. Following Jesus is not a protection from the difficulties and challenges that face us in life. Being an Easter people does not mean that any of us will not require handkerchief to mop up our tears. All of us will know deep in our hearts what our lives, our world is like, and how much of a struggle it is. As human beings we have to deal with our fears and the reality of how little control we are able to exercise over circumstances and experiences.
It is into this condition of who we are and where we are that God can touch us with Easter life and hope. Easter peace is not the obliteration of our past or present, but the re-drawing of our lives into a new way of seeing. Faith can give us the opportunity for direction, redirection, meaning and depth.
As we live with complexity and uncertainty in Salisbury we have an opportunity to take this opportunity to work together in live for what is good. However partial limited our faith may be that always lies the possibility of transformation. We can be confident but we must safeguard against a triumphalism which does not listen carefully to human experience and its sensitivities. We can nurture faith that embraces doubt and in doing so can grows through openness and honesty.
Remember Salisbury in your prayers. Consider the longer view, the enduring truth that goodness is always stronger than evil. Love will conquer. Justice will prevail.
That will mean a change for us. It will also require a much stronger sense of the relational and our readiness to move on and beyond our internal dialogues and contestations to listen more carefully to human experience. We need space and time to share our story…