Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


6 Jul 2021, 6 p.m.

“The night has passed, and the day lies open before us”

They’re powerful words at the beginning of the Morning Prayer service; and as I prayed them each morning – often joining in with the excellent podcast worship on the Daily Prayer App – so I realised that that was perhaps the greatest blessing of my twelve weeks of study leave.

In my normal working life, the day doesn’t seem to lie open before me. It is filled from morning to evening with the necessary (and sometimes joyous) services, meetings, preparations, emails and pastoral encounters that are part and parcel of life and ministry. But to have the opportunity of genuinely ‘open’ days – days in which I would wake, pray, and then walk or cycle or write or compose or birdwatch or take my first infant steps as a newbie grandfather – was a mighty privilege. And productive too, with half a book written, a choral Mass composed and some deep times of reflection, especially in a wonderful week’s retreat on Lindisfarne.

Returning to Guildford has proved relatively easy so far, not least because Ordination Week is always a highlight in the episcopal calendar and Bishop Jo has done an excellent job in my absence. But while Study Leaves may be few and far between, these weeks have made me conscious of the need for all of us to have times when the day fully ‘lies open before us’. Do please make sure that you take time out over these summer weeks, to be refreshed and renewed; and do pray too for the Covid night to pass, and for the One who will ‘build his Church’ to lead us into a humbler, simpler, bolder ‘new day’ as we commit ourselves afresh to follow Him.

Every Blessing
Bishop Andrew