Three Cheers for the four clergy who featured in A Vicar’s Life on BBC2!
I believe there is an enormous amount to be thankful for following the BBC’s six part series about four vicars from the Diocese of Hereford. I want to record my wholehearted congratulations and thanks to all of them, the two Matthews, Nicholas and Ruth.
It must have been a considerable strain to have had television cameras following them round for six months, and it is a great credit to them that they emerged so well: authentic, really positive witnesses to their faith and to their calling.
Thanks are also due to the BBC for a sympathetic portrayal of the vicars. OK, of course there were things which any of us might choose to take issues with, and the programmes were selective snapshots rather than comprehensive surveys of ministry. None of us can control how others see us, and there were times when I wanted to say, “Yes, but .............” or “How about........?” But that’s not the point. Rather,let’s respond positively to the attention given to those four clergy, and through them to the diocese as a whole.
There are many possible themes for discussion and potential action in the light of the series.
“Life events” - baptisms, weddings and funerals — were shown in a very good light. Do we maximise the pastoral opportunities afforded to us by those events? Are we as welcoming as we should and could be?
The four clergy were a diverse group (relatively speaking: for example, no ethnic mix). But in their different ways, each one was clearly called, gifted and warm-hearted. Who do you know who might be being called by God to ordination?
There were many challenges, often understated, implicitly or explicitly within the programmes. In the course of the series, each of the vicars made profound observations and raised questions to do with the nature of mission, the call to be outward looking, the need to take ourselves not too seriously and God very seriously.
Thank you to Matthew, Matthew, Nicholas and Ruth for what you have given us.
A letter from the Bishop of Hereford