THE Bishop of St Asaph has issued his Easter Message, encouraging people of all faiths and none to share their beliefs.
Responding to the controversy over the use of “Easter” on branding for Cadbury’s and Easter Egg hunts at National Trust properties, The Rt Rev Gregory Cameron said: “It all goes to show that the nation is getting shy about religion: we’re becoming frightened of offending people, or putting them off with a display of faith.”
He goes on to explain how he wants to be able to share his own faith and live in a society where people are not ashamed to talk about their own faith, or having no faith. He said: “To be honest, I am more afraid of a society in which we’re not allowed to speak of our deepest convictions in public, and a sort of pensive neutrality has to be enforced.”
Bishop Gregory uses his message to wish the Jewish community Happy Passover, which coincides with Easter, and a Blessed Ramadan for Muslims, who will be fasting from the end of May for a month.
Bishop Gregory has just marked nine years as Bishop of St Asaph. The Diocese is a community of 229 churches covering the counties of Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and parts of Gwynedd and Powys. It looks after 51 schools, including one shared faith secondary school. It is part of the Church in Wales, an independent Province within the worldwide Anglican Communion of Churches.
Bishop Gregory’s Easter Message in full reads:
“So the controversy this year is whether you should put “Easter” in front of the advert for your Egg Hunt. Having dropped it, I understand that Cadbury’s and the National Trust are now putting it back again. It all goes to show that the nation is getting shy about religion: we’re becoming frightened of offending people, or putting them off with a display of faith.
“Of course, as a Christian, I want to be able to share my faith, but I also want a society where people are not ashamed to talk about their own faith, or no faith at all for that matter. I’m not afraid if someone thinks differently from me, and I’d like to be able to talk about our different convictions – as long as such conversations are always respectful and not coercive. Wales is a multi-cultural and multi-faith society these days, and we ought to respect that – Christians to atheists to Zoroastrians. To be honest, I am more afraid of a society in which we’re not allowed to speak of our deepest convictions in public, and a sort of pensive neutrality has to be enforced.
“So, let it be Happy Passover towards the beginning of the week, and Happy Easter towards the end. Let it be Blessed Ramadan next month.
“For this moment, I hope you can be joyful that I am joyful in my faith that Jesus is alive. I want to invite you to see why I believe that faith works for me, and I’m keen to learn what works for you as well. And if you get a chance, and if you wish, pop into a Church to hunt for an Easter Egg this weekend. We’d like you to see us Christians in the best possible light.”