My desire's to see a group of vibrant worshipping, serving communities

First published on: 27th April 2023

You can read Bishop John's ad clerum here.

To all clergy

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

First let me thank you. I have been overwhelmed with greetings, support, and prayer as I enter this new phase of ministry among you. It has been so heartening to read your messages and emails, so I thank you.

The installation service was a joy. To be alongside so many people representing the different aspects of the religious and civic life I am called to is a tremendous privilege.

I was delighted to see a small part of our diocese in my mini tour before the installation and I thank all who made it possible. I know we had many more suggestions of places to go than I was able to fit in so there is much for me to do and visit. I do intend to visit the clergy with the intention of getting to know them and pray with them and I look forward to the many opportunities I will have to meet you in other contexts. I also look forward to meeting you on the clergy study and retreat days later this year.

We all know these remain challenging yet exciting times for our diocese and the Church of England. However, one of the things that inspired my call to Liverpool was the positive way you are meeting these challenges. I have said before about my commitment to supporting our vision to see a bigger church making a bigger difference with more people knowing Jesus and more justice on the world. It is a positive and joyful vision. My desire is to see that we are a group of vibrant worshipping and serving communities with joyful assurance in the faith that we hold on to and deeper confidence in sharing our stories with others. 

The Diocese of Liverpool acknowledges fully the challenges we and our communities face. We know we have financial challenges.  Our historic lack of assets, the pressure on parish share and the burden on buildings. These are well articulated and understood and the partnership between us and the national church is crucial. I will continue to play my part in articulating the case for financial support from the national church. Yet I also want to encourage you in your efforts to sustain financial giving. We have had productive conversations with the national church over the support we believe we need, and we will report the outcome in the next month or two when we have a clear direction.

I do not come with answers to all our questions or problems. Neither have I come with a particular vision that I want to impose on this diocese. I believe God was here before I arrived and am impressed by your ‘long obedience in the same direction’ that led you into the move to become Fit for Mission. Change is unsettling and worrying for many of us, but I believe there is a real opportunity for us here as a church to work together to follow Jesus' call to build the kingdom of God. The call to introduce people to Jesus, develop disciples, grow new leaders and work for justice is the most important call on the lives of all Christian believers.

I know how faithfully you work as servants of Christ, so I also want to talk to you about how you care for yourselves as you care for others around you. Finding time for rest and relaxation is essential. We cannot serve as effective ministers and disciples of Christ if we are not feeding ourselves and resting in God. I have been long concerned to ensure that the body of Christ is equipped in sound scriptural knowledge to be able to be confident witnesses and disciples. We take a lead in this in our context. Our worshipping communities look to us for guidance and inspiration so how we model our lives is of utmost importance.

That’s why I support the Rule of Life in our diocese and encourage all leaders to embrace it and model it for others. I will be leading us in our summer reading challenge as part of this rule. More details will follow.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to Bishop Bev, Mike Eastwood and the team for their leadership during the interregnum. Liverpool is not a diocese that stops still, and it is encouraging to witness the ongoing focus and determination to succeed. As an incoming bishop that is so encouraging, and it is as result of this leadership that puts us in a strong position.

As we are approaching Pentecost, I pray that the same spirit that moved the Apostles and the first Christians in Jerusalem will lead us to be resilient disciples in these anxious and uncertain times. The Spirit created unity, upsetting the existing superficial order and breaking down the barriers. The Spirit also empowered the disciples, transforming them from being fearful people staying behind the closed doors to be confident public witnesses. Then they are sent out to wherever people and nations are with no limits to God’s reach and love. May the Spirit of God unite us, empower us, and keep sending us out.

I pray for you and hope and trust you pray for me. None of us can carry the weight of our ministry on our own. May God encourage and equip you in your ministry in the places you are called to serve.


With every blessing,



Rt Revd Dr John Perumbalath, Bishop of Liverpool

Bishop’s Lodge, Woolton Park, Liverpool L25 6DT  0151 421 0831

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