Ad Clerum: February 2024

To all licensed clergy, LLMs and PtOs

Dear sisters and brothers,

Thank you for all you continue to do so faithfully as we enter this season of Lent. Forty different days feels rather appealing to many just at the moment. Our world is in great need and for me, this need can be summed up in one word – reconciliation. All around us there is discord and sadness that only reconciliation can resolve. As so often, this is reflected in the life of the church. My prayer is that the days of Lent will be a time when we reflect on our need for reconciliation as we prepare for the moment when this becomes a reality in Holy Week and Easter. I offer you a prayer;

Lord God of mercy and refreshment,

open our eyes in this grace-filled season of Lent

to see your face amidst the trials and temptations of daily life.

May your Church keep a holy Lent,

that the world may be blessed

as new hope is embodied in its midst.

We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

in whose footsteps we seek to walk. Amen.

 You can find a copy of the sermon I preached in your cathedral on Ash Wednesday on this theme here Seeking reconciliation, in church and society - The Diocese of Salisbury (

Archdeacon Sue Groom

After over eight years as Archdeacon of Wilts, Sue has informed me of her resignation effective from mid-May. Sue has always been available to the people and parishes in her care and contributed greatly to the life of the whole diocese. Details of a farewell to Sue will be shared as soon as planned.

Sue and Phil have a narrowboat and it has always been their desire to explore the inland waterways. This provides an opportunity to do that, alongside a move to south Devon. We all join in wishing Sue every blessing for the years ahead.

Chrism Eucharist

This will be celebrated in the cathedral on Thursday 28th March at 11am. I shall have celebrated with the Channel Island clergy earlier in Holy Week.

This is one of the very few occasions when I do lean on you to attend, especially licensed clergy.  The Chrism Eucharist leads us into the Triduum and binds us up together when we shall be ministering in all our various communities. The service includes not only the renewal of commitment to ordained ministry by the clergy but also a moment of renewal to licensed lay ministry by our valued Licensed Lay Ministers (LLMs) and to commissioned ministry by other lay ministers. All who normally robe are encouraged to do so.

The oils for the anointing of the sick and dying, for the signing with the cross at baptism and of chrism will be prayed over and available after the service for you to take back for use in your parishes.  I do want to encourage the use of the oils in your ministry.  This year we will again be supplying the oils in small bottles for those who have pre-ordered them on the online form. They will be available for collection in the south quire aisle after the service in a bag with your name on it.  If you do not pre-order, there will still be the opportunity to collect oil(s) in your own containers, but you are encouraged to make use of the pre-order system for speed and order. I also ask you to complete this form to confirm attendance.  Click here to rsvp  Please do complete this form as soon as possible.

After the service, there will also be an opportunity for anointing and/or to make confession for those who wish to avail themselves of these ministries.

At a time when our Church is under stress and some feel isolated or discombobulated, it is even more important that we gather together as a body on this day to recall and join in our Lord’s prayer for the unity of those who follow him.  Part of our expression of that unity is in our dress.  Clergy should please robe in an alb and white stole.  If you do not possess an alb, then the cathedral has a number available for loan.  Please contact Esther Lycett, the Head Verger (, if you would like to borrow one.  If you choose not to wear an alb, then please wear cassock, surplice, and white stole.  If you feel that you really cannot wear a stole, then please wear a black preaching scarf.  Licensed Lay Ministers should wear their blue robes and surplice. 

The cathedral kindly supply a cup of tea or coffee after the service at the west end of the cathedral.  Do please bring a picnic lunch with you and stay on to share time together with your fellow ministers and with your bishops.

The Chrism Eucharist is not just for licensed and commissioned ministers but for all who would like to attend so do please extend an invitation to anyone in your parishes who would like to come, especially those who may be exploring a vocation to ordained ministry or to licensed or commissioned lay ministry so that they may sense the power of the ministry that we share with each other and with the one who calls us and in whose name we serve. I look forward to this moment enormously.

Details with information about parking and where clergy and LLMs should robe will be sent out shortly. 

If you are unavoidably unable to be with us for the Chrism Eucharist, please send me a note or email to let me know why.

Clergy Day 2024

This is to be on Wednesday 10th July at Bryanston School. Details to follow but please put this in your diary.

Prayers of Love and Faith

The House of Bishops commended the prayers for use from December 17th 2023. These are the published prayers and do not go further at this time. Please do be sure that you are fully aware of what is allowed and what is not by reading the Pastoral Guidance (  The General Synod is continuing its deliberations and next week will consider a ‘reset’ in both the process and relationships. I commend that to your prayers.

As a reminder, using the PLF is an opt-in, not an opt-out. Conscience is to be respected on all sides. As local conversations and decisions continue, please do be mindful that we bear the cure of souls of all people. I am particularly mindful of the range of views in congregations of all different types and traditions. Please do contact your Archdeacons or Bishops with specific questions or seeking advice.

Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland

Canon Nick Clarke, who retired last week, has led a holy and generous response by the Christians in Weymouth & Portland. I visited the barge with Nick and others last month. You will have seen much politicking and press coverage with unrelated sad events recently. In case you missed it, here is a valuable response to media comment by the Bishop of Chelmsford.

New chaplaincy

A new chaplaincy is forming in Salisbury Diocese to support LGBTQIA+ Christians and those exploring faith - plus their loved ones, friends, and family. The chaplaincy will offer confidential, non-judgemental spiritual and pastoral care that is affirming and accepting. It will also aim to advocate for LGBTQIA+ people, providing a voice from the community to the diocese in its decision making, as well as offering resources for churches and individuals. Contact details for this will be forthcoming.

Church Commissioners

The Archbishop of Canterbury has appointed me as Deputy Chair of the Church Commissioners. In reality, the Deputy Chair has all the functions of the Chair (the archbishop) delegated to him or her. Every diocesan bishop gets a national role alongside the day job, and this is to be mine. Having been a Church Commissioner for several years already, I am aware of the challenges and will seek to continue to ensure the Church’s voice and resources is used wisely and well. I hope you will agree that it will be good for the diocese to have a place around that table and know that, despite this role, the heart of my ministry remains firmly in this diocese and with you all.

Finally, I started this letter aware of the challenges faced by the Church and us all across the world, but I wanted to end it with hope.   As we step into the wilderness with Jesus during this season, we do so with hope.  For where we see Jesus, there we see hope – the hope of God’s forgiveness; the hope of God’s eternal presence; the hope of God who ‘so loved the world’ that he didn’t give up on it or us, but ‘gave his only Son.’  It is this reality that we now prepare for in this season, as we re-focus and re-centre our lives on Him, in whom we find our unity and the depths of God’s love for us.  

With my thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.

 +Stephen Sarum

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