Shirleys phone call immediately reminded me of the story of the British Ambassador in Washington who, on New Years Eve, received a telephone call from the local radio station asking: What would you like for the New Year? The Ambassador thought for a while and gave his answer. The next day, he heard the announcer say: We have been running a poll on what foreign ambassadors want for the New Year. The French Ambassador said: I earnestly desire that the next year should be a year of peace in the world. The Russian Ambassador hoped for a year of justice for all humankind. The German Ambassador wanted to see a greater sharing of wealth in the world. And the British Ambassador said: I would like a box of crystallized fruit.
Well, Im not going to fall into the same trap! I would love to see the effects of our economic recovery spreading to the majority and not just the small minority, as at present. Whilst I am glad to see churches and others cooperating together to run Foodbanks and debt counselling services across the county, I long to see the need for them to be eradicated. I hope that every adult in Shropshire and Telford will consider joining a Credit Union to put pay day lenders and loan sharks out of business. Together we can do this.
Many of the churches in Shropshire are growing numerically and spiritually and making a huge difference in the communities they serve. But some are not. I would love us to become confident at naturally sharing our faith in Jesus Christ as an expression of who we are and more ably demonstrating that faith in compassionate care and service of our neighbours and the disadvantaged.
One of my prayers is that I will grow in wisdom, learn to be a better follower of Jesus Christ and, thus, a better bishop. More selfishly, in 2015, I would like to have a few wonderful days fishing for trout, score a century to help Lichfield Clergy Cricket team win the Church Times Cup and see England win back the Ashes!