The Bishop of Lichfield is urging people to build bridges as he prepares to mark 12 months since being appointed to the role.
The Right Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave was named as the 99th Bishop of Lichfield 12 months ago on St Chad’s Day (March 2).
And he is using the anniversary to encourage communities to follow the lead of St Chad – the first Bishop of Lichfield who died on March 2, 672.
Bishop Michael said: “Chad was a Northumbrian, but the people to whom he came as bishop in Lichfield in 669 were Mercians. Northumbria, Chad’s native land, and Mercia, his adopted home, had for decades been engaged in a bitter struggle for supremacy.
“In a very real sense Chad was coming not to his own people, but to enemy territory where he could have been suspected, possibly resented, even hated.
“It is a testimony to his courage and to his faith that he crossed the barriers of enmity and otherness and won the pagan Mercians to the true faith – and that is a reminder to us of our vocation, as those who follow Christ in Chad’s footsteps, to build bridges of trust, kindness and service across all the barriers which divide our own society and world.”
St Chad will be commemorated tomorrow with a special Evensong Service at 5.30pm at Lichfield Cathedral, which was founded in 700 on his burial site.
On Saturday (March 4) the Community of St Chad will hold its annual service of commitment at St Chad’s Church in Lichfield at 11am, where Bishop Michael will preach.