Christmas message from the Bishop of Lichfield

Christmas – Room for all

‘There was no room for them at the inn’.

Since my inauguration as Bishop of Lichfield at the end of September, I have so enjoyed meeting the people of this vast diocese, and visiting churches and communities in such a range of places – from the Staffordshire moorlands to the Welsh borders, from the Potteries to the Black Country, small villages, big housing estates, inner cities and market towns.
Everywhere I have been, people have been warm and encouraging in their welcome. For me, unlike for Mary, Joseph and Jesus, there certainly has been room at the inn.

The Midlands are what hold our country together, and Midlanders are the best people you can find anywhere: genuine, hardworking, and with a great sense of humour.

We are very different from one another, thank God, and I have had the great privilege of meeting people in very different places: asylum seekers at the Sanctus project in Stoke, chicken farmers in Shropshire, wine-makers on the border with Worcestershire, young prisoners near Lichfield and children all over the place!

I have been thinking of that as I live again through the Christmas story at this season – local shepherds, homeless refugees, eastern scholars and Roman officials all have their part to play.

And they all come together in the stable at Bethlehem, just as a huge range of people will be coming together in our churches this Christmas. There is room for everybody: see for your local services. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, my prayer is that God may bring you joy and hope this Christmas.

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