Leadership is of key importance in managing disagreements and calls for people of integrity with well-developed listening and negotiating skills. We should be thankful for those who are prepared to chair/lead facilitated talks. It's difficult and exhausting work.
The Oxford Diocese is rather depleted at the moment as, we await the appointment of a new bishop. We have lost two key members of the senior staff recently as well. Our very able and respected Archdeacon of Buckingham shire, Karen Gorham will be consecrated as the next Bishop of Sherborne in the Diocese of Salisbury in late February and our Director of Mission, Michael Beasley was consecrated last May as the new Bishop of Hertford in the Diocese of St. Albans. It's good news for them but they will be very much missed.
We now have to be patient and wait to see who will be appointed as Bishop John's successor. He will be a hard act to follow but a new strong leader with a heart for taking the whole Diocese forward will be very much welcomed by all.
During the weeks of Lent there will be parish activities that help us increase our sense of belonging to the wider church family. Faith and commitment are under extreme pressure in our modern world but if we can support and encourage others to find their own Stubbings place within the family of God then we are fulfilling our call to discipleship.
Every blessing for a holy Lent.
Leadership by Rev Dilys
The New Year is already moving swiftly onwards, with Ash Wednesday on February10, which leaves very little space between the end of the Epiphany season at Candlemas and the beginning of Lent. It can make us feel somewhat rushed and unprepared for the next important season. The rhythm of church life continues to keep in step with the seasonal changes as we welcome the lengthening days.
Compared to some areas of the UK we have escaped the worst floods and storms so far this winter and we continue to remember those in badly affected areas in our prayers.
It will not have escaped your notice that the Anglican Communion has narrowly averted fragmentation over the issue of same sex marriages. The liberal American Episcopalian church has had some sanctions imposed which has allowed the conservative/traditionalists to remain within the fold.
It was a brave move by the Archbishop to call all the provincial primates to meet in Canterbury and to air their concerns in face to face dialogue. Rather than the predicted walk-out by some members, the desire to remain together managing difference has prevailed.
It's a working model that can help in all walks of life. We don't always want the same things, either in working practices, relationships, attitudes to change and so on. Rather than feeling dissatisfied and frustrated, open discussions can often help far more to ease tension than break-away groups trying to do their own thing.