A message from Bishop Philip

Pastoral statement by the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, Bishop of Truro 

17.3.2020

My friends, I’m sharing this message today not just with the clergy and people of the Diocese of Truro, but with everyone here in Cornwall at what is a very challenging time for us all. 

You’ll be aware of how much has changed in just a few short days. By now you will probably have heard too the call of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to suspend public worship for a season. That will come as a shock and challenge to many of you, but in the circumstances, and following the best medical advice, I’m sure it’s right.

But I want to say very clearly to you that does not mean the Church is shutting up shop! Far from it. Now is the time for the Church of God to rise to this great challenge of our times. I cannot help but feel that this crisis challenges us deeply to be just the kind of Church our God is a calling us to be.

And I believe too that that this crisis challenges Cornwall to be its very best: to express in heart and soul the spirit of One and All.

So to us all in Cornwall I would say – let us be the very best we can be. This is the opportunity we all have to shine, to be our better selves. It’s a great challenge: but let’s rise to it.

And if you are feeling isolated and fearful, remember you are not alone. There are many people standing by you, even if you can’t see them – and our God has not changed: he remains good and faithful and we can trust him and rely upon him. He won’t let us down.

And if you’re working in the public services, our NHS, the emergency services and the caring professions, planning and working to respond in the best way possible to the many challenges we face and who may be very stretched in the days to come: do know that we are cheering you on. We’re deeply thankful for you and are praying for you – and for your families too.

For the Church  – whilst our pattern of worship will change significantly I think our church buildings need to be more open, not less, providing space for people to come and pray and be and socially interact (at an appropriate distance of course). We should use digital media creatively wherever we can and we are working on identifying a few churches in the diocese where live streaming of worship might be possible.

And we need to be the feet on the ground in our communities – identifying those who are lonely and isolated, fearful and grieving and doing all we can, within the constraints that are placed up on us, and without exposing people to unnecessary risk, to show in word and in deed the love of Christ.

Likewise there will be others who will find these times very challenging economically: again we need to do all we can to meet their needs. Let’s keep the foodbanks well stocked up.

So for us as a church this will not be business as usual. But it will NOT be no business, it will be ‘business unusual’. We’ll still be about the business of the Kingdom of God, but in new, different, committed, creative and deeply caring ways.

The big question this crisis asks of us as a Church is this: will we meet its challenge to love and serve and give as Jesus did, for we are nothing less than his Body here on earth? I pray we will and will not be found wanting at this great hour of need.

And to all of us I would say, across Cornwall, in this crisis, let’s be people of prayer. This crisis is bigger than any of us. But God is greater. So we need not be fearful – in the end we can be people of hope, as we become people of prayer: because there is a good future for us, beyond this, a good future that God holds out for us all.

And as this virus is no respecter of borders, I’m going to close with a prayer written by our neighbour, Bishop Robert, Bishop of Exeter. If you’d like to, do pray with me now:

Keep us good Lord under the shadow of your mercy, in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort, knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

And may God bless us all.

News December 2018

One very good piece of news is that at long last the road through Portloe has been
repaired. It looks like a patchwork quilt, but no matter, it’s a great improvement. Thank
you, Cornwall Council!
We launched the first winter soup lunch in great style with a fine display of sparklers –
it was 5th November! Lin and Rachel produced two simply delicious soups and, after
cheese and fruit, we enjoyed mint chocolates with our cuppa (we know how to live
in Portloe!) Next one is 7 January – come and celebrate the New Year with us.
In addition to our Sunday services, our church building neatly transforms itself into
Portloe’s community hall. As well as meetings of, for example, the Parish Council and
the Harbour Commissioners, we host table tennis and yoga, soup lunches and concerts,
and much more. We really are benefitting from the farsightedness of those who replanned
the building nearly thirty years ago.
Our celebration of Christmas, with mulled wine and mince pies, will be on Thursday 20th
December at 7 pm. Midnight worship, Christmas Eve, 11.30 pm

News August 2018

How we’re all enjoying this wonderful summer weather!
(writing this, though, on 16 July we’re also enjoying the first rain
for some weeks and the garden is loving it!)
Since the last Parish News we’ve had the annual Blessing of the
Sea – Rev’d Philip’s first – and, most unusually, we were blessed
with glorious weather. We had a film crew here for an
episode of one of Rosamund Pilcher’s novels for the very
successful German TV series. The church was used as a Green
Room only, for relaxation and learning lines, not for the actual
filming.
A ‘crab and gin’ event was held in glorious sunshine in the
Ship’s garden when Portloe’s very own gin was distilled, right
there and then. This Limited Edition gin, with its own label,
will no doubt become a collector’s item. The handsome sum of
over £3000 was raised for Cornwall Air Ambulance.
On the church front we’ve been greatly appreciative of, and enjoying,
the wide variety of services provided for our ‘DIY’ services (that was Gerald’s very
apt phrase). These are led by – always! – willing volunteers. For example, Hilary recently
offered to lead the service, her mum played the organ (beautifully) and her husband
read the appointed Bible lesson. A truly family affair. We feel we’re on a good learning curve,
which is just as well as sometimes we have three DIY services in a month with five
Sundays.
It’s always good to welcome visitors and we were delighted to have young Holly with us recently.
She took great delight in helping to unpack the first of three bright blue chairs for children,
declaring it ’very nice’, and that blue was her favourite colour It’s exactly the right
height for the low table which has a selection of colouring books and crayons

News June 2018

Very briefly, all seems to be well on the Portloe front, village-wise and church-wise.
It’s great that the young among us are coming up with ideas for building on the enormous amount of
goodwill that already exists in our community.

New editor needed!
After many years the editor has reluctantly decided for a number of reasons that this year will be her last as editor of ‘Parish News’ – your last magazine in this format may well be December’s issue.
Anyone who would like to take on the rôle would have a free hand in the size, design and content – from the current A4 ‘newsletter’ to something a bit more ambitious. Call Christine if you’re interested: ’desk-top publishing’ can be fun!

News April 2018

Soup lunches ended on 5 March on a high note – such a splendid way to get together
during the winter months!
Aren’t baptisms joyful occasions these days? That of Millie Clark certainly was. The
church was absolutely full to bursting, mainly with young people, plus lots of ‘littlies’
and babies. Rev’d Philip abandoned the font, opting instead for the altar, which
meant that everyone could see what was happening. At his invitation several very young
children ‘helped’ with the baptism, young Millie blissfully sleeping throughout. At
their request Jeanette played two of the hymns sung at the wedding of Chris and Hannah,
the second one ’One more step along the world I go’ a truly celebratory finale.
But how we shall miss our beloved Jeanette and Barbara…

Contributions from parishes towards Diocesan costs was discussed at a recent Deanery
meeting. The Diocese of Truro, like all other Anglican Dioceses, provides certain services for its
parishes [these include legal and financial support and advice, training and support for parish
priests, management of clergy houses and glebe land etc].
Unlike many other Dioceses, Truro, as a new creation in 1877, has no ancient endowments, land
or investments, and is largely dependent on contributions from individual parishes to provide the
funding to run the Diocesan office and its obligations.
Currently the income from parishes is not enough to maintain the Diocese which is having to dip
into its modest reserves to balance the budget.
Recent arrangements have allowed parishes to make an offer that they feel they can afford, so
that in theory richer parishes can support those which are less welloff.
The Diocese suggests that this is not working and is asking for a cost-based system whereby each
parish pays the full amount of its ministry and other support costs.
Our cluster clergy have responded to this:
•reminding the Diocese of the many hours of volunteer time in parishes which seem not to be
acknowledged by the Diocese as ‘in kind’ support, worth, in money terms, a very considerable
amount. This of course includes the chairmen and members of numerous Diocesan committees
who give their time and expertise freely.
•The cost of ministry is known but we have no idea of the overall cost of Diocesan staff salaries and
other costs.
•Many active members of congregations are pensioners who should not be expected to bridge the gap
in the Diocesan pensions fund.
•If it isn’t good practice for the Diocese to meet the shortfall out of its reserves, it is equally unfair
to expect parishes to do so.
•Given that parishes have to work hard to generate income, maybe the Diocese could organise a few
fund raising activities of its own? .