Bishop John's Lent 2016 message is now available to read, watch or listen to. Just click here to go to the page on the Worcester Diocese website.
Late last year I was privileged to travel with the Dean to our link Diocese of Morogoro in Tanzania to join in the wonderful celebrations there to mark the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Diocese. It was a really very moving occasion and what came home to me as I travelled around the Diocese of Morogoro and particularly in that celebration, is the vibrant faith that people have there, the joy that they show in that faith and the way in which God seems ever-present and close to them.
I was also struck by the terrible poverty that afflicts that nation and particularly so at the moment. In this country we are worried about food poverty and rightly so - Christians have responded gloriously to the challenge of meeting the need which seems to be around in our society for food. However, I’ve never seen malnutrition develop to the extent that it is developing in Morogoro and other parts of Africa as a result of the failure of the crops following lack of rains over the last two or three years. Here we very often have more than enough rain, if not too much.
In Lent we have a responsibility as Christians to try to draw closer to the living God and experience as we do so some of the vibrancy, some of the joy, in faith, that our friends in Morogoro exhibit in such abundance. The traditional ways of doing that have been through prayer and almsgiving and fasting. I’d like to encourage you to re-discover those disciplines this Lent and as you do so, to link it with our diocesan link with Morogoro. I’m starting a Bishop’s Lent Appeal and the money raised will go to help priests, pastors, and catechists who are suffering as a result of the malnutrition which is becoming all too rife. It will go towards the furthering of the mission and ministry of our link Diocese.
Maybe as you pray during Lent, you will be able to find time to pray for your brothers and sisters in Morogoro and other Christians suffering in different ways all over the world.
And maybe as you fast, you might be able to give some of the money that you would otherwise have spent on food to this Bishop’s Lent Appeal. That would be a wonderful way of supporting our friends in Christ who are suffering in ways that we don’t have to and it would be a great way too of being able to enjoy with them that vibrancy of faith and draw close to the Living God whose great love for us we prepare to celebrate this Holy Week and Easter.
God bless you during this coming Lent.
This year’s Lent Message launches Bishop John’s Lent appeal to raise money to help the famine relief in our partner Diocese of Morogoro. If you would like to contribute to this, please send any donation to the Diocesan Office, marked ‘Bishop’s Lent Appeal’. Cheques should be made payable to Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd. Please contact the Diocesan Office with any queries.