Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

Bishop Mark's January letter

Bishop Mark's January letter

Dear Friends, Happy New Year to you!

With Christmas behind us, we begin to follow Jesus afresh through a new year and respond both to the compassion he shows us and to the challenges of his teaching.

Over the last few years, The Diocese of Chichester has travelled through each year with a particular focus: mercy, the Bible and, in 2018, prayer. We are encouraged to travel through 2019 looking through the lens of vocation.

2019 has its calendar of scripture readings, its festivals and solemn days and its decision-making moments. In all of these, we are invited to listen afresh for the voice of Jesus and we are invited to listen out for his calling us in new directions, to fresh courage and sometimes to fresh sacrifice.

Just as the reading of scripture is a lifetime’s work and prayer is a lifetime’s conversation, vocation is a lifetime’s journey. The Good Shepherd never stops calling his sheep onwards. Vocation is not simply responding once or about making a prayerful choice of career. It is about responding repeatedly, day after day and moving in one direction or another as the Good Shepherd leads.

Through this Year of Vocation, we are invited to be especially attentive to the ways in which God is calling us into new territory. We are invited to explore what possibilities God is opening up for us to serve him through our family life, through our professional life or maybe through some particular service within His Church.

We are also invited to take a fresh look at what God is doing in other people and to recognise how he is at work, developing and maturing their skills and understanding.

Perhaps it will be you that recognises what God is asking of them and helps them to understand it too. It is not always the person being called that hears a voice first.

Sometimes someone has to tell them before they recognise it for themselves. May 2019 be a year of listening not only for our own sakes but also for those who rely upon our hearing.

With prayers and good wishes,