27 September 2018 IN: Bishop
On those Sundays when I am not taking a service, I attend a main Eucharist at the church where my wife has been going for the last five years.
I enjoy being part of a church family in this way. I've got to know a good number of the regular churchgoers, and have built up a picture of how this one particular parish operates through the seasons. As Bishop of Manchester, I can know a little about a lot of parishes. What has struck me is how much I am also learning by being able to know rather more about one particular place.
It helps me to see a church on an "ordinary Sunday", not a special occasion for which lots of extra people may have turned out. I can then take that experience with me into my diocesan meetings as well as to the national church structures with which I am engaged. It acts as a reality check. The big decisions we make at a very wide level need to make sense in the specifics of the week to week life of the local church.
When I'm sat in the church hall, having a cup of tea and a biscuit after the service, and chatting to whoever is at the same table, it reminds me that whatever else I am, I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ, alongside my fellow Christians. And I hope that goes some way to making me a better bishop.