On 2nd February 2015, when Christians around the world celebrated Candlemas and citizens of Estonia also celebrated the ninety-fifth anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Estonia celebrated the consecration of Urmas Vilma as Bishop and installed him as the seventh, and at 41 years of age, the youngest Archbishop of Estonia.
- As I was crossing the River Ouse on my way to York Minster, I reflected on how the Church of England was about to cross the River Rubicon – when Julius Caesar marched his army across the Rubicon into Roman territory there was no turning back, so, too, with the consecration of its first female bishop, the Church of England was about to be changed for ever.
- I have seen a number of nativity scenes over the last few weeks, but the most beautiful and moving was in a Sunday newspaper which featured a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq. The nativity scene was constructed in a tent – surrounded by the tents in which displaced Iraqis are living today.
- ‘Blood swept lands and seas of red’ is the title of the art work by Paul Cummins which has adorned the moat of the Tower of London. The huge numbers that have queued to see it is an indication that the work has captured the public imagination.
- The news is, quite rightly, being dominated by events in Gaza and Israel, and the plight of Christians in Iraq. It seems a world away, but it was only a few weeks ago that Lord Falconer’s Bill on Assisted Dying was attracting a lot of media attention in advance of the debate in the House of Lords on 18th July.
- Orthodox Christian representations of the resurrection, to be found on icons and wall paintings, are powerful illustrations of reconciliation. The Orthodox do not depict the resurrection by showing Jesus emerging from the tomb, but rather by his descent to the realm of the dead where his work of reconciliation is seen.
- When the flood came for Noah, he was prepared. He was able to take his family and animals into the safety of the ark in an orderly way. When the floods came to Moorland on the Somerset Levels and Yalding in Kent, there was no time for such preparations.
- Bishop of Harare Chad Gandiya has expressed his gratitude for a recent visit to his dioceseby three women priests from the Church of England. Canon Liz Walker, the Revd Judy Henning and the Revd Anne Jablonski, all from the Diocese of Rochester, travelled to the African nation with their bishop the Rt Revd Brian Castle.