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'What a year!' - Bishop Cherry reflects on her first year in post

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A year ago this weekend, the bells of Newport Cathedral rang out across the city to celebrate the enthronement of the Right Revd Cherry Vann - welcoming her officially as the eleventh Bishop of Monmouth and the first woman to hold the post.However, within just a few weeks the world was plunged into the middle of a global pandemic!Church-life became very different - with plenty of challenges, but also plenty of opportunities.So, how has Bishop Cherry found her first year as a Bishop - especially during these unprecedented times?One Year OnIt’s hard to believe that it’s a year since my Consecration at Brecon Cathedral (Jan 25th) and my Enthronement at our own Newport Cathedral (Feb 1st). As many have commented, ‘What a year!’ And it has been quite a year; one in which there have been many blessings amidst the awfulness of the pandemic. We have seen how God continues to work out his purposes, whatever the circumstances in which we are living. His love is not thwarted or even diminished by such things as viruses but is able to reach in and through our lives to transform, to heal and to reconcile, whatever else is going on.Happily, there were seven weeks of ‘normality’ before the first restrictions were imposed and I was able to meet many of you at the ‘Meet the Bishop’ services held across the diocese which was a real blessing. The joys of being able to confirm both adults and young people at St. Augustine’s Rumney just a week before the lockdown began will stay with me forever. As will the first ordinations that I was able to preside at in June and October.Thanks to Zoom and Teams, and of course the old-fashioned telephone, I’ve been able to get to know some people quite well, though it’s been a real sadness not to be able to visit the churches and meet the congregations of the diocese. That time will come and I look forward to it immensely.The life and work of the Church has continued, albeit differently, and the ways in which both clergy and congregations have adapted to the new normal has been impressive. I think we have all surprised ourselves and can be rightly proud of what we have been able to do; some of which will continue, even when the pandemic is over.A year on and I still feel blessed to be here. Thank you for your welcome to both Wendy and I, for your care and encouragement and, above all, for your continuing prayers. God holds before us a hopeful future and I look forward to the next stage of the journey in your good company.

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