Bishops' messages

So much to celebrate


Pride is something we all need to be careful about.It is regarded as one of the ‘seven deadly sins’ and it is often said that ‘Pride comes before a fall’.John Ruskin captured that thought when he said that ‘Pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes’.And that is probably true.Misplaced pride, over-exaggerated pride, egotistical pride probably does lie behind the great tragedies of human history.Wars are often fought because pride is involved somewhere.And as we know to our own cost, pride can serious affect and undermine the relationships we have with friends and family.


But pride may not always be bad.Writers and philosophers have at times tried to distinguish between ‘good pride’ and ‘bad pride’.And whilst it may not be possible to differentiate completely between them, I think we have a sense of what ‘good pride’ looks like.And 11 May is a day to celebrate ‘good pride’, for that is Somerset Day.It was chosen,becauseon 11 May 878AD King Alfred the Great roused the people of Somerset to fight and subsequently defeat the invading Viking army.And whilst people argue about whether or not he can be regarded as the first true King of England, he is the only English monarch to be accorded the title "the Great".


I think I am right in saying that Somerset was the third largest county in England although the original county boundary now includes other local authorities.Somerset Day however celebrates all that is good about the wonderful county of Somerset.It seeks to give Somerset more identity and is an occasion for all of us who live here to give thanks for the beauty and diversity which we sometimes take for granted.It is too easy to drive through villages and towns, through the stunning landscapes which come alive in different seasons and to fail to thank God for the gifts of his creation all around us.


On Somerset Day let’s make an effort to pray for our local communities and those who serve us in every walk of life. There is so much to celebrate, so much to thank God for and so much to be proud of.


With my prayers and best wishes,


The Right Revd Peter Hancock

Bishop of Bath and Wells.