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All our doings without love are nothing worth

10 July 2015

This month, three more women are consecrated bishop. We asked each of them to introduce a favourite prayer

The Ven. Rachel Treweek, Canon Sarah Mullally and The Rt Revd Alison White



Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new: transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


FOR me, this prayer is both a cry of shame and a shout of praise. It is both humble and hopeful. As I stand in the present, deeply aware of my impoverished heart, I dare to be embraced by God’s immense generosity in Christ. As I endeavour to walk Christ’s talk to the rhythmic beat of hope and transformation, this prayer invites God to blow on the embers of my desire to see the lives of individuals and communities transformed. It focuses my heart and mind on the mystery of God who brings into being that which does not exist (Romans 4.17).

In this prayer, I submit myself to inner change, both painful and life-giving, as I respond to God’s invitation to join in with the bringing in of the Kingdom. And yet not through my striving; "for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours" — I am simply saying "yes".


The Ven. Rachel Treweek is the Bishop of Gloucester. She will be consecrated in Canterbury Cathedral on 22 July, the feast of St Mary Magdalene.


Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.


THE Sunday after the announcement of my appointment as the next Bishop of Crediton, our liturgy included one of my favourite collects. Originally written for Quinquagesima in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, the collect for the Second Sunday after Trinity is used with the 1929 Scottish BCP use of "love" rather than "charity". It is a prayer that, although a simple request, is at the heart of God’s transforming nature.

At the heart of my understanding of God is his deep love, through which we and the world are transformed into that fullness for which we have been created. It is a love that is immeasurable, and surpasses knowledge; and that holds us when everything around us is falling away. It is a love into which we are called, and which calls us to love others. In loving others, we need to know that God’s love is inclusive and not exclusive; that it affords dignity and worth; that it empowers, and does not exploit; and that it affirms rather than marginalises.

Without love, all our doings are worth nothing; so, whether sitting alongside the lonely or dying, praying with others, or in the midst of an administrative task, I pray that I may have that most excellent gift of love — because the gospel is as much about being as it is about doing.


Canon Sarah Mullally will be consecrated for the see of Crediton, in Exeter diocese, in Canterbury Cathedral, on 22 July.


Grant me grace, Lord, to be strong and wise in all things. Give me a generous love. Fill me with the spirit of intelligence and wisdom. Let me always be mindful of others. O perfect and eternal Light, enlighten me.

Alcuin of York (735-804)


PRAYER for me is the big adventure! It is that deep connectedness with God, and with all kinds of people and places, which holds me. I always feel sustained by those prayers that we have inhabited over the centuries as they are prayed in us now. I am going to be living and praying with people in the diocese of York, so Alcuin’s prayer has been a particular gift to me in my preparation. He asks simply for the graces he needs, and nothing could make me seek more deeply for "the needful gifts of grace" than accepting this call to be a bishop.

One of the special presents I was given by the village C of E First School when I left the parish, a few weeks ago, was a book of blessings written by the children in Class 2. One of them reads, "May your days be filled with joy. May you find helpful friends. May your wisdom rise like the sun. May God be by your side to guide you." Christ’s wisdom and love find a voice in every generation in our shared adventure, and I am looking forward to hearing that in Hull and the East Riding.


The Rt Revd Alison White was consecrated for the see of Hull, in the diocese of York, in York Minster, on 3 July, the feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

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