As I write this message to you all it is a glorious spring afternoon, the sun is shining and although it is cool it is wonderful to be able to be out and about around the Diocese. Everywhere I go people are looking more cheerful as the weather helps to lift our moods and as we enjoy the spring bulbs and the trees as they blossom.

But, wonderful though this is, there are some for whom even the good weather is not a help to the way that they feel about their life and the world around them. For no matter how brilliant the sunshine and how wonderful God’s world is for so many life is full of anxiety and concerns about what will happen in the future and because of this, their mental health suffers. That’s why my Lent Call this year, which draws to a close today, has supported projects, both here and in our link Dioceses in Zimbabwe and Jerusalem, which work with those whose mental health is suffering – often because of the complexities of life. So many today are worried about having somewhere to live, enough to eat, paid work and access to health care and this can make them weary and cause their mental health to deteriorate. It seems too that, although the stresses and strains may show themselves differently, the concerns that we share here are mirrored in other parts of our world as people find it hard to navigate all that is required of them.

I know that many of our parishes and schools have supported the Lent Call this year and have engaged in various fundraising activities in order to be able to show practical support for the organisations and churches we have featured. I want to say thank you to all those who have contributed to the Lent Call and I know that those who will receive money as a result of the Lent Call will be very grateful too.

As well as encouraging individuals, parishes and schools to give towards supporting the Lent Call I always encourage people to try to keep a prayerful and reflective Lent and I hope that your Lent has been blessed. Now though is the time for joy as we have moved from the penitential time of Lent, through Jesus’ passion and death, and now we have reached Easter Day, when once again we can celebrate all that Jesus did for us through his life, death and resurrection.

As we carry forward the joy and the light of the resurrection in our lives day by day may we be willing to share that joy with those around us. Sometimes this is through the things we say but often it is by what we do and how we work to enable all to flourish and to have secure and fulfilled lives.

Jesus came into the world to bring light and salvation to us all; to heal the rift between God and humanity. As we give thanks for all that Jesus did and all that we can learn from his life, and as we focus on the light that Jesus has brought into the world, it is my hope and prayer that in this Eastertide we might all learn to live in the sure knowledge that our sins are forgiven. I pray too that as we learn to live and walk in that knowledge, we may discover what it means to live in the light of Christ with joy and freedom. May we come to know more fully that we are God’s children and that if we walk in that light our lives will be transformed and we will learn how to live and love and share with all.

May your Easter Day and Eastertide be holy and blessed.