Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

Bishop Guli’s New Year Message

31st Dec 2021

Coming together in prayer to witness to God’s love

And so we come once more to the turn of another year. It can be a time for reflecting on the year that’s past or looking forward to the year that is to come. No doubt this involves mixed emotions for all of us. The last year has been one of great challenge for us as individuals, communities and nations, and yet there have been times of joy and celebration too. But if we’ve learnt anything, surely it is that we have much less control than we might like to imagine. Life can change in the blink of an eye.

And it can be hard to know how to respond to this uncertainty. And yet, if we allow it, throughout everything, prayer remains at the heart of all we do, both a comfort and a mystery. Through our intercessions we bring before God the deepest longings and desires of our heart, for ourselves, our communities, for the church and for the world. Through the gift of silence and contemplation we seek to journey deeper into our understanding of God and the discovery of what we are each called to do and be.

To pray is a duty and a joy but it can sometimes be hard and we don’t always understand the ways of God. To remain faithful in prayer requires patience, perseverance and trust. By praying for one another and with one another, we recognise our reliance on God and we also acknowledge our need of each other. As Christian disciples we are called to care for ourselves and for others and there is no better way to begin than by bringing others before God in prayer. We give thanks with those who rejoice and we weep with those who mourn. May this commitment to pray strengthen us in our relationships, so that together we may be a witness to God’s love for the world.


The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani
Bishop of Chelmsford