Christmas message from the Bishop of Bradford

EACH Christmas, my family puts together our nativity set made from knotted Palestinian olive wood. It reminds me that the characters assembled in the Christmas story don’t have a lot in common.

Shepherds, magi from the East, a young woman and her builder husband from a different part of the country. They don’t even all believe the same things about the baby Jesus.

They’ve each got issues that they’re dealing with. But he arrives and interrupts their lives. They respond, and together they build a home for him, and for each other.

Building a home together is what we’re about in Bradford and in this country. We believe different things, and we all have issues that we’re dealing with. But we can’t build a flourishing city and region on our own.

Believing in Bradford is an initiative of the Lord Mayor that I’m looking forward to in the New Year. It plans to bring together forty to fifty people from the Bradford District from a whole range of different backgrounds and ages and cultures and faiths.

We will spend time in two cohorts over two weekends living with and learning from one another and the different issues we’re facing. We will try together to arrive at a better understanding of our shared city and region. And in the last part of our residential we will plan specific projects in smaller groups that make a difference.

These could range from raising money for the Lord Mayor’s charity by organising a team for the annual Dragon Boat race.

To finding creative ways to help the Lord Mayor in the civic calendar such as in the season of Remembrance. To thinking of ways in which we can make our city and region more resilient in the face of external threats like flooding (which we pray will not happen again this year)!

We will be recruiting for Believing in Bradford early in the new year with the first residential weekend at the end of February.

Get in touch with the Lord Mayor’s office if you are interested –  believeinbradford@gmail.com.

But whatever our plans for next year, whatever our background and whatever the issues we’re dealing with, we don’t need to all believe the same things to build our common home together.

This comes with my prayers and warm wishes for a joyful Christmas!

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