The Bishop of Manchester’s Message of Hope This Easter

In the message of the Bishop of Manchester, Rt. Rev David Walker, he encouraged every individual to be hopeful this Easter, as the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 might be lifted in month’s time.

He recalled that last Easter, the celebrations were low key as restrictions had already been imposed. However, he is happy to see the present turn out of events. He also appreciated people who still assembled, especially online to fellowship. This brings hope that even as churches is reopened; people will still continue to worship at home.

Here is the Bishop of Manchester's Easter message in full:

‘’Last year will remain forever the one when the people of God were locked out of their churches on Easter Day. The UK Government had, three weeks earlier, issued regulations closing all places of worship across England.

‘’The Archbishop of Canterbury famously led an Easter service online from his kitchen, with kettle and electrical sockets visible behind him. It was a physical expression of the fact that the focus of our prayers and celebrations had moved into our homes.

‘’This last 12 months has seen a recovery of the home as a centre for worship; a rediscovery that 'church' is not merely a place that we go to, outside of which prayer is somehow unwelcome or unfitting, but a belonging we carry with us, into every aspect of our lives.

‘’It has been heartwarming to see the numbers of people taking part in worship from their homes, not only on Sundays but for daily prayer throughout the week. Nor has the return of religion to our homes been confined to the steaming of services; study and fellowship groups have flourished with the demands of travel replaced by the click of a mouse button, or the press of a finger.

‘’If, at the end of this pandemic, we have learned that God is as present and as central to our lives in a cluttered kitchen as he is in the most resplendent sanctuary, we will have learned well.

‘’This Easter, most of our buildings are once more open. There are still significant constraints, to keep everyone safe from infection or infecting others, but the growing sense is of things slowly returning to normal.

‘’We can celebrate this Easter with added hope - the hope that, over the coming months, the most onerous of the coronavirus regulations will be lifted and life will recover a degree of normality. We will see much missed family members and friends again. We will begin to be able to travel for fun and leisure, not merely of necessity. Our Alleluias can be heartfelt.

‘’So my prayer for this Easter season is that we do not, in returning to our gathering places, seek to lock God, or the practice of our faith, back out of our homes. Can we continue to join, as lay people and clergy, to pray together daily from the comfort of our living rooms? Can we continue to share and to study from home, the better to deepen our discipleship there?

‘’It’s a fact of human nature that we tend to remember things better in the place where we first learned them. Can we become a people for whom the Risen Lord Jesus is not someone whose home we visit when regulations permit, but one who abides with us in the places we ourselves live and work? Therein lies the challenge and the promise for Easter 2021.

‘’May God bless you richly this Eastertide.’’

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