This years Lent Message was filmed at a place that, I daresay, will be familiar to many of you: the Worcester Royal Hospital.
Our National Health Service been on my mind recently havingbadly broken my wrist ice-skating with my 13 year-old on New Years Day yes,I know, I should know better! I ended up spending five hours in A&E at theWorcester Royal before being admitted to have a plate fitted under generalanaesthetic. Its on the mend though I still bear the marks.
It wasnt the best preparation for my wedding but I came awaywith a deep sense of gratitude for the NHS. We hear lots about the strain it isunder but we dont often stop to remember how fortunate we are to be able tobenefit from it more so than all our forebears and the vast majority ofpeople in the world today. Having broken my wrist on a Bank Holiday I wastreated and fixed within 24 hours by wonderful people whose skill and cheerfuldedication to the welfare of their patients was inspiring.
Though its not much recognised as such nowadays, the NHS isa profoundly Christian institution. It was intended by its founders, whoincluded the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, to be a sort ofinstitutional answer to the question Who is my neighbour? The answer is, ofcourse, that everyone is my neighbour. When you hear an ambulance siren, its asign of paramedics going to help someone in need on behalf of us all.
This Lent, Id like to encourage you to count your blessings especially ones like the NHS that you might generally take for granted. More thanthat, as you contemplate prayer, fasting and almsgiving Id like to encourageyou to pray for and maybe help financially those who are not able to count onsuch blessings.
March 1st marks the tenth anniversary of myenthronement as Bishop of Worcester. I have much to give thanks for over thattime particularly the support of people throughout the Diocese in good timesand in bad. As a mark of my own thanksgiving Im setting up a Tenth AnniversaryLent Appeal for Berega Hospital in Morogoro where they are struggling terribly.I was shocked to receive a report from the Director Isaac Mgego recently whichinformed me that the Tanzanian Government has reneged on its responsibility topay the wages of nurses and doctors.
If you feel able, I invite you to contribute toward thatappeal, in thanksgiving, as part of your almsgiving, and to give thanks for thevery many blessings that God showers upon you.
God bless you this Lent.
There are two ways tocontribute to this appeal:
Donations can be made online at: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/berega-hospital/456151.
Cheques made payable to Worcester Diocesan Board ofFinance Ltd and clearly marked Bishops Lent Appeal should be sent to: DougChaplin, Mission Development Officer at the Diocesan Office.