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Home Who's who Bishops The Bishop of Ramsbury Sermons, articles, and media To all clergy and licensed lay ministers - July 2021

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To all clergy and licensed lay ministers - July 2021

by Michael Ford last modified 29 Jul, 2021 09:15 PM

Bishop Andrew wrote to all Ramsbury clergy and Licensed Lay Ministers on 27th July 2021, Commemoration of BF Westcott, Bishop of Durham.

Dear friends

“We walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor.5v7

Despite being such a precarious business, living by faith is an essential life skill, without which we really cannot do much at all. ‘We live by faith, however we live’ is how Bishop Westcott put it, opening his book on The Apostle’s Creed, The Historic Faith. ‘By faith’ (he continued), ‘in dealing with the commonest circumstances of life - we penetrate the future, we enter on the unseen: we grasp it, we embody it, we try it, we commit ourselves to it with a confidence which nothing can shake.’

The ability to love by faith feels especially necessary at this unsteady hour in the life of our church and nation. People of faith - who can bear fear and uncertainty with confidence - are vital and valuable just now – so, as ministers of the Christian Gospel, trained and prepared for just such a role, you are a light indeed in dark times.

Nevertheless, it is all too easy for us to fall prey to the spirit of a nervy and unbelieving age, so I urge you, friends, to make time this August for resorting to the sure ground for faith and firm support for hope we find in Christ Jesus. This may be by reading, reflection, or prayerful walking amidst God’s creation, but however we do it, the effect of turning to Christ undergirds and affirms us, strengthens us for service.

For service takes its toll, and this year has asked so much of you, in myriad ways. Thank you most sincerely for the wise and unstinting leadership you give to our communities: I have great faith in you, and in the power of the Holy Spirit working through the local church. Much about our diocesan life at present is provisional: embarking on a vacancy-in-see, and with numerous
uncertainties about the future. Where we cannot see clearly, we must wait on the Lord, and bear with renewed patience what is yet to be resolved. We, of all people, can do this, for the Spirit dwells within, drawing us ever closer to his coming kingdom.

“Faith”, assures Westcott, “is the ladder joining earth to heaven, on which the angels of God find
footing as they fulfil their ministries of love”. In your own ministry of love, may you know Christ
and the heavenly powers serving and ministering to you, that you may find his promised rest.

With the assurance of my prayers,

+Andrew Ramsbury

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