Friday 20th March, 2020
A letter to faith leaders in Barnet
Gentlemen and Ladies
Few will know better than you the challenges faced by our communities at this time. Uncertainty, disbelief, fear, panic, misery, separation, loneliness and possibly sorrow are rife; sadly they may increase.
I expect you will view this first weekend without public acts of worship with trepidation. We all draw strength from the communities we serve. Having public contact removed may leave some of you feeling emasculated and even irrelevant. I believe nothing could be farther from the truth, and that now represents an unparalleled opportunity for faith groups to show a fresh purpose and prominence. To take the lead. To provide a shelter and a place of solice where necessary. To provide meaningful opportunities for those out of school and out of employment.
Quite how this may be implemented is for others to determine, but we all need to remain brave, and certain of the faith that binds us, and the truth that gives us confidence to do all things under the law. Knowing many of you well, I have no doubt that you are taking local measures individually.
Please remember that my thoughts are with you. I have said often that I think the role of a faith leader can be relentless, burdensome, and very lonely at times. I am sure you will support each other as well as caring for your communities.
Over the last fourteen years, I have met many of you. I have promised in public to pray for you. I have prayed for you in the past, and I assure you that my wife, Brigid and I will continue to pray for you, not least during this especially difficult period. I urge you to continue to pray for The Queen, and all the Royal Family, as well as for those in Government and authority under Her.
My family motto reminds me that all will be well: ‘Deus alit eos’, and with your continuing efforts, and those of your communities, it will be. I have been planting salad and vegetable seeds in trays to prove that better times are not far off, as well as to provide for the future. I expect you been doing much more imaginative things!