Bishop's message to think of one another

SUFFOLK'S most senior cleric has urged families to concentrate on relationships this Christmas, rather than worrying if they can't spend lots of money.

SUFFOLK'S most senior cleric has urged families to concentrate on relationships this Christmas, rather than worrying if they can't spend lots of money.

The Rt Rev Nigel Stock, bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, encouraged people to think of the homeless and not be anxious about whether they can afford their usual standards during this financially bleak time when many workers are losing their jobs.

The bishop, speaking as he celebrates a year in office on Friday, also urged people who are buying festive gifts to shop locally, and support their small independent retailers.

He said: “What is the most important thing about Christmas is relationships. People should concentrate on those before they worry too much about feeling they have to spend a fortune.

“We really do need to think about those who are less well off. If Christmas is not too tough for you, think about where you can give, there are charities there to support the homeless during this time.

“That is something people should give a thought to, rather than worrying whether our Christmas will be up to standard this year.”

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During his first 12 months in office the senior clergyman, head of the Church's regular 19,000 worshippers, said he has enjoyed getting to know the area and people including church wardens, working hard at grassroots level.

He said: “I want to encourage people, there is so much good that has happened in this diocese. The clergy I have met are “salt of the earth” and are doing a remarkable job within their communities.”

The cleric and his wife Carolyne have three grown-up sons and the clergyman was enthroned as the tenth bishop of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese during November last year, taking over from the Rt Rev Richard Lewis, who was retiring.

n. Do you agree with the bishop's message? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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