In this week's special Christmas week edition of #BlessedIsShe, we meet the Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol.
On Monday evening at 11.00pm, Bishop Viv will preach and preside at the Eucharist of Christmas Night, commonly called Midnight Mass.
In this centenary year of women's suffrage, we are celebrating the women who play important roles in the daily life of the Cathedral community.
Each Saturday of the year, we have been sharing a different story here and across our social media.
Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and search for the #BlessedIsShe hashtag.
What’s your connection with Bristol Cathedral?
I am the Bishop.
How long have you been associated with the Cathedral?
Formally, since my Enthronement [on 20 October 2018].
What have been some of your personal highlights?
Attending the Deans’ Conference, based around the Cathedral, and discovering the glories of its architecture, the commitment of its staff and volunteers, and especially the representation of the life of the ordinary Bristolians. See the North Aisle windows: my grandfather was a fire-watcher / ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Warden, and my grandmother was a volunteer nurse.
What would you like to see the Cathedral doing over the next few years?
(I think I need to talk to David [the Dean] first!)
What does the Cathedral mean for you?
It is the source of my ministry as Bishop.
A Christmas Message from Bishop Viv
I have recently arrived as Bishop of Bristol, having worked in a range of places in the UK and beyond, and know how easy it is for a country to be pulled apart, with profound and sometimes deadly impact.
I have lived in a part of our country where two villages refused to work together because one didn’t tell the other that the Vikings were coming. I have lived in another part of our country where the city and the county wouldn’t collaborate because they were on different sides in the English Civil War.
Our county has been pulled apart by the debate about Brexit. The campaigns and votes have laid bare the rifts not just within political parties but between London and the wider nation, between the nations which form our United Kingdom, between those who are growing richer and those who day by day are getting poorer.
My first post in the Church of England was in Liverpool a city being torn apart by the impact of the troubles in Northern Ireland. There was deep division, with the ongoing threat of violence. But painfully slowly the hard work of mending the tears in that city was beginning as Christians dared to meet across the boundaries of denomination, and befriend those who had deeply different beliefs. Painstaking work brought Christians of different churches together to serve the city, making common cause to work for hope, and peace, and prosperity.
Our whole country now needs a new vision of hope, it needs determined work alongside those who are poor, it needs the hard graft of reconciliation. It will take courage to reach out to each other with the offer of peace and hope. The courage of Mary when God reached out to her. The courage of Joseph as he reached out to Mary. The courage of shepherds and magi who left the familiar and journeyed to see Jesus, the one who brings peace to the world.
May I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a blessed New Year.