June 2023

One year ago, I became your bishop with that great service in the cathedral. It has been the fastest year in many ways, with changes coming at us all with a post-pandemic pace that has somewhat stunned us all. Changing prime ministers and monarchs, the cost-of-living challenges and international events moving faster than ever – just at the point when we ought to be reflecting on all that has happened to us. It’s been an ‘interesting’ time to become a diocesan bishop!

I’m often asked if I’m enjoying it. There is no doubting the pace and the pace of change, but the answer is a certain yes – but – mostly because this is the Diocese of Salisbury. I have visited as many places as possible and what is clear is that the church is all about the local, and the bishop (and those assisting in this co-ordinating ministry) are there to hold more than one locality together. We are truly blessed here with our rural/urban mix, with coast and countryside, with Islands and ‘thin’ places. In being blessed, it is how we respond that makes the difference. We have a chance to show this when the Archbishop of Canterbury comes to us this month.

Much of my time, with the contribution of so many in the diocese, has been the preparation of our new Diocesan Vision and Strategy – our plan for that co-ordination of our common life under God as disciples. All the detail to come, will live under the title Making Jesus Known. For all our differences in each locality, if we are not to be about Making Jesus Known, then I’m not sure what we are about. If we are all doing that, then yes, I’m really enjoying it!

+Stephen Sarum

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