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Last updated 12th January 2024

Introduction to this section by Bishop Philip

A message from Bishop Philip, Bishop of Blackburn

Dear Friends,

The words that cultures develop reveal their mindset, and the latest word coming to a dictionary near you is ‘permacrisis.’

The combination of climate breakdown, pandemic, war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and political turmoil has led people to believe that we are in such a state of permanent near-disaster that we need new language to describe it.

These pages on our website, and a series of Parish Update ebulletin special editions that will follow to accompany them in the coming weeks and months, offer a great deal of advice to deal with some key aspects of that ‘permacrisis’ which is that around rising food and fuel costs; while also helping you to find ways to save money, as well as supporting parishes to support their communities. 

Many of you will be seeing the impact of the 'permacrisis' locally on the people you serve, and our first priority must be reaching out to meet the needs of those who are suffering most.

But service requires healthy and well-resourced churches, so we also need to ensure that our common life as a diocesan family of churches is secure over these next few months.

To assist with that you will also find on these webpages and in our Parish Updates special editions, information on buildings and on parish finances, to ensure that we can weather this storm and continue to offer the full richness of Christian ministry to our communities in service and proclamation.

I would also encourage you to do two things.

First, pray ... and in particular continue to pray for peace in Ukraine.

In large part the cost of living crisis, driven by rising fuel costs, is a front in that terrible war, caused by the unwarranted aggression of the political leaders of the Russian Federation.

The issues facing households are part of our share in a war effort to resist tyranny. So pray for peace with justice for Ukraine.

And second, have hope.

It seems to me that we Christians also need a new word to deal with the current times. For what we declare is not permacrisis, but permaChrist.

As we draw closer to Advent and to that season of the year when we are called to reflect on the Kingdom, Jesus warns us that there will be wars and turmoil and suffering.

But he also says, ‘Not a hair of your head will perish.’ (Luke 21, 18). He has already won the victory.

The forces of violence, suffering and darkness have already been defeated by our triumphant Saviour King. So in these testing days, declare the power of the cross with ever greater hope.

This comes with my deep love and constant prayer for you and for the people you serve.

Bishop Philip

+Philip Blackburn