A message from Bishop Anne: Visiting the Diocese
I know that many of you are wondering how I will get about and visit the diocese. Here is my plan.
Public transport – when I can:
I was heartened when I read in the Diocesan Profile that public transport is very good across the north-east. This does seem to be the case. When and where I can I will travel by bus or by train.
A good number of you have been in touch following hearing that I do not drive offering me lifts. I will be taking you up on these offers. Thank you.
In many locations public transport is not good in the late evening or on Sunday morning. This is a good reason for me to make visits that last longer. For example, I might arrive on a Saturday afternoon, and leave Sunday afternoon, staying somewhere local overnight. This might be with a church member, if this was a possibility, or else in a B&B. Longer visits will help me to get to know people and what is going on. I might have time to meet others that live locally, or to do some pastoral visiting to those who cannot get to church and rarely see a bishop. Such longer visits could include eating together and times of prayer.
Finally, I am looking to appoint some lay chaplains to help me. Jesus sent people out in pairs, so there is much to recommend this way of working to me. Lay-chaplains will be car drivers who are happy to accompany me on a visit, for example, out to a church on a Sunday morning. They might be located in any part of the diocese. This will be more than giving me a lift. I hope that a lay-chaplain will pray with me, help me make sense of where I am in the diocese (point things out to me!), and be a general encouragement. It will be important that such a lay-chaplain can keep confidentialities. This is not a liturgical role. If I needed a lay chaplain to accompany me on a visit the office would contact someone on the list to ask if they were available to help. Lay-chaplains will be able to claim mileage allowance from the diocese (45p per mile).