This year’s Lent Message was filmed at a place that, I dare say, will be familiar to many of you: the Worcester Royal Hospital.

Our National Health Service been on my mind recently having badly broken my wrist ice-skating with my 13 year-old on New Year’s Day – yes, I know, I should know better! I ended up spending five hours in A&E at the Worcester Royal before being admitted to have a plate fitted under general anaesthetic. It’s on the mend though I still bear the marks.

It wasn’t the best preparation for my wedding but I came away with a deep sense of gratitude for the NHS. We hear lots about the strain it is under but we don’t often stop to remember how fortunate we are to be able to benefit from it – more so than all our forebears and the vast majority of people in the world today. Having broken my wrist on a Bank Holiday I was treated and fixed within 24 hours by wonderful people whose skill and cheerful dedication to the welfare of their patients was inspiring.

Though it’s not much recognised as such nowadays, the NHS is a profoundly Christian institution. It was intended by its founders, who included the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, to be a sort of institutional answer to the question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ The answer is, of course, that everyone is my neighbour. When you hear an ambulance siren, it’s a sign of paramedics going to help someone in need on behalf of us all.

This Lent, I’d like to encourage you to count your blessings – especially ones like the NHS that you might generally take for granted. More than that, as you contemplate prayer, fasting and almsgiving I’d like to encourage you to pray for and maybe help financially those who are not able to count on such blessings.

March 1st marks the tenth anniversary of my enthronement as Bishop of Worcester. I have much to give thanks for over that time – particularly the support of people throughout the Diocese in good times and in bad. As a mark of my own thanksgiving I’m setting up a Tenth Anniversary Lent Appeal for Berega Hospital in Morogoro where they are struggling terribly. I was shocked to receive a report from the Director Isaac Mgego recently which informed me that the Tanzanian Government has reneged on its responsibility to pay the wages of nurses and doctors.

If you feel able, I invite you to contribute toward that appeal, in thanksgiving, as part of your almsgiving, and to give thanks for the very many blessings that God showers upon you.

God bless you this Lent. 


There are two ways to contribute to this appeal:

Donations can be made online at: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/berega-hospital/456151.

Cheques made payable to Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd and clearly marked ‘Bishop’s Lent Appeal’ should be sent to: Doug Chaplin, Mission Development Officer at the Diocesan Office. 

Download Gift-Aid declaration form.