London’s Bishops have delivered their Easter messages across the Diocese, with the themes of hope and optimism threading through all.

The Bishop of London, Dame Sarah Mullally used her Easter message in the Evening Standard to urge the Government to tackle the cost of living crisis and health inequalities in the capital. She said that while the cost of living crisis affects us all, it will impact London’s most vulnerable the most acutely. She urged people to heed the Easter message of new life, which invites us not merely to enjoy the life we see around us, but to work together with our communities to support and nurture those more vulnerable than ourselves. Bishop Sarah wrote that the “injustice” of health inequalities is particularly prominent in London, which suffers from the highest rate of poverty in the UK. As Chair of the newly formed Health Inequalities Action Group, she pointed to a recent meeting of faith leaders at the East London Mosque where the unequivocal judgement was made that “the pandemic has worsened health inequalities in our city, particularly with respect to mental health. There is more to be done, and I will continue to advocate for action in the House of Lords.”

The Bishop of Hackney, the Rt Revd Dr Joanne Woolway Grenfell (p6) wrote of her sadness at seeing people, families and infrastructure torn apart in Ukraine, Afghanistan and across all places of conflict. She added: “I will be looking beyond these days of pain and sorrow, to the joy and hope of Easter day, when Jesus Christ rose from the tomb, drawing all people into the love of God, and pointing to a new era of God’s justice and peace.”

The Bishop of Willesden, the  Rt Revd Lusa Nsenga-Ngoy (p9), quoted the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who when asked what advice he had for keeping optimistic, responded “I’m not an optimist, but I’m a prisoner of hope.” Bishop Lusa urged readers not to “short-change hope” this Easter, instead praying that “as we face the storms of life and the uncertainty of tomorrow, we come through it as people of hope.”

The Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Rob Wickham  wrote that Jesus’ actions and his words speak of a priority of bringing good news for the poorest, the least powerful and the most marginalised. Bishop Rob went on to say that this is why “support for the plight of Ukrainian (and other) refugees matters, why challenging the inhumane Nationality and Borders Bill matters, why banning conversion therapy matters, why locally urging the (now successful) release of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe matters, why challenging adultification and eradicating strip searching of children, particularly of Black children like ‘Child Q’ matters, why listening to and responding to the cries of mothers who choose to heat or eat matters.”