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2023 will bring challenges and opportunities

Bishop Shane Mackinlay Bishop Shane Mackinlay

2022 has been a year of disruptions. COVID has been an ever-present risk, and most of us have spent the year constantly looking over our shoulder in case we get caught by infection and illness. Even those who haven’t been sick themselves know many others close to them who have been ill, which has had an impact on our families, schools, health services and workplaces. We’ve all become very used to our plans being upset, with last-minute changes, apologies and cancellations.

Then in October floods disrupted everything for large numbers in this region, while communities watched with growing anxiety as the waters slowly spread into streets, homes, businesses and across property. Even now, many people have still not been able to return home and are facing months of repairs and difficult decisions, before they can return to their normal lives.

Overseas, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has cast a shadow over all our lives, reminding us of the human capacity to inflict suffering on one another, and of how fragile peace is.
There’s lots of reasons to feel a bit more run-down than we normally would be at the end of the year!

But there’s also much to appreciate, especially in the generosity, patience and imagination that so many people have shown in supporting those around them, at the same time as facing their own challenges.

As we begin this new year, we can be confident that 2023 will bring more challenges as well as more opportunities. To respond to them, we will need to draw on the strength and resources of our shared life in families and communities.

May these summer weeks of vacation and gatherings with family and friends renew our focus on our hopes for the year ahead, and remind us of how much we rely on the support and encouragement that we can give to one another.