Conflict & reconciliation

12 Oct 2023 • From Bishop Richard Jackson

In this week's video, Bishop Richard reflects on the recent horrific attacks by militants on Israel, and the subsequent loss of life and suffering by ordinary citizens in Gaza, alongside the many other continuing armed conflicts across our world today.

'We are a very long way from Isaiah’s vision in chapter 2 verse 4: God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.'

'In the midst of all this we need to find models of good disagreement.  One hopes the Church might provide such a model.  We are all aware of the very painful differences between us over human sexuality, for example.  At such at time as this, with war in many places and climate catastrophe, I am embarrassed frankly that we are still talking about these things, but we are.  We are seeking to find a resolution to what appear to be unreconcilable positions. The [General] Synod motion in February in response to our Living in Love & Faith conversations was a case in point.'

'On Monday (9 October), the House of Bishops ... agreed to commend the prayers of love and faith which means they will be able to be used without General Synod voting on them....  I have signed a dissenting statement in response to the House of Bishops' statement this week.'

'For those who look on all this bewildered, especially in the context of what is going on the world today, I offer a heartfelt apology that we haven’t found a way through this for a Church that faces an existential crisis and urgently needs to re-focus on living and sharing the gospel.'

'I ask that we pray for one another, and seek to be kind and understanding.  Disagreeing well, may be the best gift we can give our hurting and broken world at the moment.'

Visit the diocesan website for transcripts of the Bishop of Hereford's Message.