Bishop James’ Christmas message to value relationships

The Bishop of Carlisle’s Christmas message draws on the importance of relationships as the county begins its recovery from the floods.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev'd James Newcome with volunteers and co-ordinators at a floods relief centre in KeswickThe Rt Rev’d James Newcome delivered his annual message – the second time it has been filmed - at one of the county’s many relief centres which have been set up.

Bishop James was able to spend time with volunteers at a relief centre in Keswick, where he lives and which was badly affected by flooding after Storm Desmond.

He says: “I’m surrounded by the most amazing group of helpers, volunteers on the one hand, and goods; goods which have been brought from all over the country by astonishingly generous people. There’s been a steady stream of others who have been affected by the floods coming in and receiving mops and buckets and food and cleaning materials and so on.”

And he also takes the opportunity to highlight the financial cost of Christmas for some versus the need to build on relationships at this time of year.

He adds: “But of course there are some gifts which are beyond financial price; they are worth far more than anything we may buy or wrap up or donate this Christmas. And those gifts are the ones which concern our relationships.

“So perhaps this Christmas is a time to think about a member of our family from whom we have become estranged - Christmas is a good time for making up; or perhaps a friend with whom we have lost touch - Christmas is a good time for re-establishing contact; or maybe it’s someone at work who has been treated unfairly or who has a grudge against them - Christmas is a good time for putting that right.

Bishop James also draws on the kindness which has been demonstrated across the county both in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods and since and reinforces the “priceless gift” of the Christmas message; “the message of God becoming a human being in the person of His son Jesus Christ and then dying for us and rising again so that our relationship with Him can be gloriously restored.”

To view Bishop James’ Christmas message for 2015 visit the Diocese of Carlisle’s Youtube channel here.


Notes to editors

• The full transcript of Bishop James’ speech is attached below and it can be viewed on the Diocese of Carlisle’s YouTube Channel by clicking here.

“We’re recording this brief Christmas message at the Keswick Flood Response Foodbank. I’m surrounded by the most amazing group of helpers, volunteers on the one hand, and goods; goods which have been brought from all over the country by astonishingly generous people. There’s been a steady stream of others who have been affected by the floods coming in and receiving mops and buckets and food and cleaning materials and so on.

Being surrounded by so much stuff here makes me think a little of some of the statistics that are bandied around at this time of the year. For instance, there’s the amount of money that is allegedly spent by every family on Christmas presents; an eye-watering sum that makes you feel rather extravagant if it’s true for you and rather mean if it isn’t. It also reminds me of the kind of sums we spend on bringing up children, sums which if they’re remotely true would have bankrupted me many, many years ago with the four children that we have.

So whether it’s making a Christmas list or bringing a donation to a Foodbank or Flood Response Centre, that always involves counting the cost and deciding if we can really afford it, whether we’re going to go into debt on our credit card, as so many people do at this time of the year, or whether perhaps we may have to go for something a little less expensive on this occasion.

But of course there are some gifts which are beyond financial price; they are worth far more than anything we may buy or wrap up or donate this Christmas. And those gifts are the ones which concern our relationships. So perhaps this Christmas is a time to think about a member of our family from whom we have become estranged - Christmas is a good time for making up; or perhaps a friend with whom we have lost touch - Christmas is a good time for re-establishing contact; or maybe it’s someone at work who has been treated unfairly or who has a grudge against them - Christmas is a good time for putting that right.

As I recently heard someone say ‘You can’t do a kindness too soon, because you never know quite how soon it’s going to be too late’. The floods here in Cumbria have been a great example of that. Nobody realised they were going to come. No-one appreciated just how devastating they were going to be. And the kindness and generosity that has been shown has been quite overwhelming.

Of course there’s a cost to all these things, which is often a cost to our pride rather than just to our bank balance. And there’s a reminder of that, of the priceless gift which is the Christmas message; the message of God becoming a human being in the person of His son Jesus Christ and then dying for us and rising again so that our relationship with Him can be gloriously restored.”


• For more on the Cumbria Flood Appeal go to http://www.cumbriafoundation.org/


• The Diocese of Carlisle has also issued a prayer for all those affected by the Cumbria floods:

Creator God, we remember at this time all those whose homes and communities have been damaged by flooding in Cumbria.
In the name of Jesus we give thanks for the courage and dedication of the emergency services who have come to the help and rescue of all in need.
We celebrate the kindness of neighbours in caring for the most vulnerable.
Lastly, we ask in the power of your healing Spirit to rebuild not just the physical communities which are coping with many problems today but also to give us a sense of trust in your goodness through the kindnesses of one another, in Your Holy Name.
Amen

 

 

Ends

For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.