Soon after his consecration in 2008, Bishop Mead established his annual “Bishop’s Award for Outstanding Lay Service and commitment to the Work and Ministry of the Anglican Catholic Church”. Usually presented at the Diocesan Annual Synod, this year that hasn’t been possible.

Commenting on this years Award, which he presented on the Feast of Christ the King (Sunday 25th October 2020) Bishop Damien said:

My Bishop’s Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Work and Ministry of our Diocese for 2020, this strangest of years, is going to someone who has reminded me through his simple acceptance of eternal truth, uncluttered by adult cleverness, of what we should be doing and why we should be doing it.

Listening for God is difficult at the best of times. We look at the complexity of the universe and expect the Creator of the universe to be complicated. We consider complicated theological terms, doctrines and dogma and expect God to communicate with us in complicated ways. We can become so focussed on the letter of the law and forget the spirit which gives it life.
In fact God tells us that the things which matter the most are much more simple.

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord tells us in St Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 18:3).

Too often we adults mistake being childish for becoming child-like and do so at our peril.

Recently I was reminded of just how important taking Jesus at his word is, and of getting our priorities right in child-like simplicity.

Joshua Hall is 6 years old. Recently he became frustrated at the lack of belief in God vocalised by many of his classmates (influenced in some cases by their parents dismissing all religion as “a load of rubbish”). This disturbed Josh, Why? Firstly he says he believes in God and “Mr Christ”, because, and here I paraphrase him, “God loves us and gives us everything there is”. Secondly he was concerned that by not believing in Jesus, his classmates “might not go to heaven”.

Can you think of a better way to fulfil the Great Commandment to love God and to love our neighbour? Thank you Joshua, I certainly, and I suspect many others, need that reminder!

The Bishops Award to date have been made to:

18th April 2009 Dr Roy Fidge
24th April 2010 Mrs Patricia Mary Johnson
12th March 2011 Mr Roy Anthony Hipkiss
21st April 2012 Br Peter Russell Smith, OblOSB
13th April 2013 Mrs Catherine Ann Bosworth
There was No Award in 2014
18th April 2015 Mr Laurence & Mrs Margaret Mead
29th October 2016 Dr Frank L Wiswall
29th April 2017 Mrs Modupe Ighodaro
21st April 2018 Mrs Margaret Bendelow
4th May 2019 Mr Andrew Hall
… and on 25th October 2020 Master Joshua Hall