Janet`s July 2017 letter to the Community

Janet’s letter to the Community

My letter this month comes not from me, but from our Diocesan Bishop, Stephen Cottrell.  He has written to the whole Diocese of Chelmsford, and I can’t see a way of improving on his words!

 

Bishop Stephen writes:

There is only one thing that you can't take away from a human being: that is our freedom to choose how we respond.

You can beat someone, starve them, abuse them, imprison them, deprive them of their freedom, and trample over their rights, but you can't make someone respond how you want them to respond unless they choose to; and on the contrary if they choose to respond with love, generosity and graciousness in the face of oppression, then there is nothing the oppressor can do about it.

We see this response of love in many different ways: people going to a concert in Manchester to declare 'one love' rather than cowering in their homes in fear; people reaching out to each other across boundaries of ethnicity, nationality, faith or class. Last week I witnessed it in the Holy Land. I was on pilgrimage to the great Christian sites but was also privileged to attend a talk by a Jewish man and a Palestinian Muslim. Both of them had lost a daughter to violence perpetrated by the other side. They had not chosen revenge. They had not chosen violence. They had not retreated into a ghetto, cut off from those who were different from themselves. Despite their anguish, anger and grief they had made their response a response of love. They had reached out to each other, and gathering other bereaved parents together, committed themselves to work for justice and reconciliation in a divided land.

As we face the fear of terror and the threat of further terrorist atrocities, let our response be the same: let's reach out to each other; let's not give in to our baser instincts for vengeance. Instead, let’s work for justice and peace. Those who perpetrate these atrocities want us to be divided and they want us to cower in fear. Let's not give them this satisfaction. Instead, let us carry on as normal. Yes, be vigilant. Yes, support our police and security services. Yes, seek justice. But most of all, let’s not allow ourselves to be anything other than the peaceful, respectful, tolerant, society that terror is trying to undermine and which love and only love can build.

+Stephen Chelmsford

 

With every blessing in these challenging times

Janet


Janet`s letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s November 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s October 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s September 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s August 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s June 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s May 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s April 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s March 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s February 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s January 2017 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s December 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s October 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s September letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s August letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s July 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s June letter to the Community
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Webpage icon Janet`s April 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s March letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s February 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s January 2016 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s December 2015 letter to the Community
Webpage icon Janet`s November letter to the Community
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