2019 may well seem like ancient history; indeed some people are talking about the “years BC” – Before Covid – but there are some important reasons to give those days some thought.

Each year the diocese produces statutory accounts. This year we have produced an Annual Report detailing all the amazing things that have happened across our diocese to sit alongside the figures and give them some context.

Despite the changes we have all seen and felt, most of the things that we thought were priorities last year are still priorities this year. Faithfulness has not suddenly gone out of fashion, and God’s truth endures, even in times of plague.

The headlines then: The main headline over the whole report is that “with God, all things are possible.” These words spoken by Jesus to his disciples in St Matthew’s Gospel are about blessing, wealth, responsibility and hope. They are the words used by Bishop Philip as he began his ministry among us at the beginning of 2019. Everything last year and this year is only possible by God’s grace.

This report deals with the period before the 2020 coronavirus crisis – but we can hardly face the future and ignore it.

For all that this crisis has been quite devastating in its effect it’s been a time of great compassion too. It’s also been a time of great creativity and innovation. In his final words in the report, Bishop Philip says: “I’m very proud indeed of the way our people and our churches have risen to the challenge that’s presented itself to them.”

So while this report presents the diocese in 2019, it also provides us with an opportunity to look to the future.

Bishop Philip says: “2020 will, I hope, be the year when we see a new diocesan strategy accepted and begin to be embedded.

“At the heart of that strategy is a story: the story of what God has been doing in Cornwall, a story which he is still telling and in which he calls us to play our part. And more specifically still, I hope that in 2020 we will take ever more seriously the five priorities I’ve outlined for us. They are where ‘the rubber hits the road’ for the change we seek.

“Thus it’s my prayer that in 2020 we will increasingly be:

  • A church that conspicuously celebrates children and young people at its heart, learning some of the lessons from the crisis about joining across the generations;
  • A church that unashamedly embraces an innovative pioneering culture, putting into continued practice the inventiveness we learnt in lockdown;
  • A church that is increasingly confident in its calling, knowing just how best we can reach out in loving service – again learning enduring lessons from the crisis;
  • A church that rejoices in strong, warm and mutually encouraging international links, because we know without doubt we’re part of a global family;
  • A church that rejoices in the generosity of God because we believe above all else that our God is good and loving towards us.

“My prayer is that we should be just such a church. Please do join me in that prayer.”

Read the Annual Report here.