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Quotes of the week

10 March 2023


We must not abdicate our legal and moral responsibility to some of the world’s most vulnerable by simply treating asylum seekers as a group not to be welcomed or integrated, but detained and returned. We must do and be better

Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, response to Home Secretary’s statement on the Illegal Immigration Bill, 7 March


The reality is that of all those who came across the Channel last year, we know from our analysis that two-thirds will be granted asylum because they are refugees who need safety in the UK. They are not illegal

Enver Solomon, chief executive, Refugee Council, The Guardian, 8 March


But the Government isn’t interested in providing protection to people who have escaped war, violence and torture by taking dangerous journeys. Desperate to be seen to be tough, it wants to treat all people seeking asylum as suspected terrorists and criminals, lock them up, and then deport them with no meaningful right of appeal



The most harrowing part of life in the UK right now isn’t just the lack of integrity in public life, but the growing sense of indifference to suffering among many of us — the lack of solidarity, the lack of any hunger for social renewal, the ease with which injustice is accepted

Jarel Robinson-Brown, Twitter, 4 March


“Why would I want to have a child and bring it into this world?’” they ask. “How can you talk about these things when we’re on the point of environmental collapse?” And I guess the message . . . is that we have to look beyond our despair to imagine a world worth saving. Hope is an act of the imagination

Nick Cave, interviewed by Rowan Williams, The Sunday Times, 5 March


I recall the Buddhist parable of the man running from a tiger and coming to a cliff edge, scrambling down a few feet and hanging on to a fragile root protruding from the cliff face. In a cleft in the rock in front of him is a small flower. The man suddenly says, “That’s beautiful!” We both laugh. In my experience, talking to dispirited young people, the challenge is to encourage them to recognise where it is that they are finding the flower in the cliff face; where they can let themselves be open to joy

Rowan Williams, ibid.


I come away [from talking with Cave] with an overwhelming sense of someone who has been to — even lived in — places very few of us visit, places where very few of us could survive with such radical, clear-eyed hopefulness

Rowan Williams, ibid.


I recently presided from the chair at the ordination of the new Bishop of Beverley. But other bishops presided at the consecration and the eucharist itself. With my high doctrine of church order and eucharist, I found this difficult. If you examine it too closely, it doesn’t always make a lot of theological sense. But it works pastorally. It holds us together. And provided we choose to inhabit this slightly muddled, ecclesial structure with generosity and grace, we offer the world a better story, one where disagreement no longer leads to division, but to mutual flourishing

Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, New Directions, 3 March

Such a way of living with profound disagreement, absolutely requires two things. The first, is that we do not have separate jurisdictions. We are still the one Church of England, but providing pastoral, and, where necessary, sacramental space for those who are unable to conscientiously inhabit some of our more recent developments in faith and order. . . The second is baptism. . . I have come to see that water is thicker than blood, and that the bonds we have in Christ, and with one another through our baptism fixes us together as the body of Christ in ways that simply do not permit us the luxury of saying, as it were the eye to the hand, I don’t need you



My father, Canon Tony Williamson [Obituary, 22 March 2019] . . . became the first priest in the Church of England to be ordained in a factory job, and he remained a “worker priest”, labouring in a car factory in Oxford rather than as a parish vicar, for 30 years. . . His Christian values underpinned his varied activities in secular life. “Politics is the ordering of society,” he said, and Christians should get involved in this ordering

Hugh Williamson, letter published in the Financial Times, 7 March


Some of my sisters face unbelievable barriers to being taken seriously and considered on an equal footing with men. . . Women are not a mistake or an afterthought or lesser beings. We are equally loved by God; equally valued by God and equally saved by Jesus Christ

Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading, Oxford diocese website, International Women’s Day, 8 March


Little else is known about Cherry Burton around that time, or its residents, and little had been recorded but the WI account does include some intriguing snippets. “Those we do know something about are such people as curate Thomas Davey who was in trouble for rushing through church services; Edmund Bonner, who as Bishop Bonner was reputed to have had at least 200 people put to death; and many more tortured during the 1530s; and then there was Thomas Micklethwaite, who was nicknamed ‘Burnroast’ on account of the length of his sermons.”

Emma Ryan, The Yorkshire Post: Rural Life Magazine, 4 March


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