Diocesan Director of Making & Nurturing Disciples, the Revd Richard White, writes:

What is the good news for the rich?

Ten years ago I walked nervously into the Dean of Liverpool’s office to be interviewed for the post of Canon for Mission and Evangelism. The trickiest question came from Bishop James Jones, then Bishop of Liverpool and of course previously Bishop of Hull.

“What is the good news for the rich?” he asked, “what is the good news for those who are well off and satisfied with life?” I’ve thought about it often. My conclusion is that there isn’t any. There isn’t any good news for the rich. Jesus came for the poor. His good news is good news for the poor.

Of course the gospel is the good news for all of us. But only when we recognise that we are poor. If we think we are not sick, he can’t be our doctor. If we think we are not poor he does not have good news for us.

Those who face the most challenging circumstances are a gift of grace to all of us. A gift reminding us to embrace our interdependence with mutual generosity. Together we can then come to Jesus as the poor in spirit for whom he offers very, very good news.

Bishop Alison who leads our commitment to people in poverty has been helping us to ask ourselves difficult questions. The People in Poverty strategy is continuing to take shape and will we hope secure significant funding. A delay in the national church’s grant making process for all dioceses means that won’t be decided until mid-2020. However, the Archbishop’s Leadership Team are committed to pressing on in every way possible. So that we move forward relentlessly determined to become a diocesan family that vibrantly reflects all of our communities. So that in every parish we make it our priority to “remember the poor” in our family, and are all transformed by the work of the Spirit in and through our sisters and brothers in poverty.

The current Bishop of Hull asked me equally difficult questions at my interview for this post! I’m so glad that, despite my weak answers, I was invited to join this richly diverse Diocese and join with you in working and praying to see many more 20s-40s and people in poverty find a place of belonging in our churches.

Richard White