‘Just and fair county’ the fo­cus as lead­ers join for Prayer Break­fast

West Sussex Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Anna Khoo ws.let­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk

Cre­at­ing a county that is just and fair for all. That was the fo­cus of this year’s West Sus­sex Prayer Break­fast at Wis­ton House near Steyn­ing where lead­ers from ev­ery part of county life joined to af­firm the work of vol­un­teers, busi­ness own­ers and oth­ers who work for the county’s good.

Speak­ing at this year’s meet­ing was Sir Jeremy Cooke, a re­tired High Court judge who gave his story of seek­ing to ad­min­is­ter jus­tice im­par­tially, fairly and justly, know­ing that where law does not trans­form lives, love can.

He said: “As a judge I saw some of the worst as­pects of life – mur­der, child abuse, drugs wars, black­mail, cor­rup­tion and se­ri­ous com­mer­cial dis­putes where wrong­do­ing and cor­rup­tion, bribery and fraud are of­ten to be found.

“In the muck of life, I would seek to do jus­tice. But there are ob­vi­ous lim­its to what a judge can do. No sys­tem of law is per­fect.

“What the law does is es­sen­tially prac­ti­cal, it works within the realm of the pos­si­ble, it shapes and re­flects the so­ci­ety it gov­erns and it makes peo­ple take re­spon­si­bil­ity for what they do but it can­not change peo­ple’s hearts.

“It can­not cause them to do what is right, give them the right mo­ti­va­tion, cre­ate real re­morse or change them.

“But what the law and judges can­not do, the Spirit of God can do.”

He said know­ing that he was ac­count­able for how he used his author­ity made him care­ful to be im­par­tial in all cir­cum­stances and see ev­ery­one in the court­room as equal re­gard­less of where they stood.

He said: “When I was talk­ing with the Queen, she asked me if crim­i­nals were dif­fer­ent from other peo­ple.

“The an­swer is es­sen­tially no, be­cause crim­i­nals and lawyers all need to be put right in the eyes of God. We all need Je­sus to do that for us.”

Those of all faiths and none, said it was pos­i­tive to meet and think about what was most im­por­tant in their roles and their re­spon­si­bil­ity to serve well.

Hilary Bar­tle, the CEO of home­less­ness char­ity Stonepil­low, said it was pos­i­tive to think of how to give jus­tice through her work.

She said: “It’s nice to see such an ar­ray of peo­ple here, in a time that’s chal­leng­ing it’s good to see op­por­tu­nity in terms of part­ner­ship and mak­ing sure we serve our com­mu­ni­ties well to give them op­por­tu­ni­ties and so­cial jus­tice.”

Open­ing the event, the High Sher­iff of West Sus­sex Caro­line Ni­colls thanked those rep­re­sent­ing the emer­gency ser­vices for their com­pas­sion, care and hard work in mak­ing the county a safer place to be, as well as the ‘huge’ con­tri­bu­tion of vol­un­teers.

“With­out these spe­cial peo­ple, so much of the qual­ity of life that we en­joy and per­haps take for granted just wouldn’t hap­pen,” she said.

Guestswere­in­vit­ed­towrite their prayers and as­pi­ra­tions for the county with prayers lead by the in­com­ing High Sher­iff, Dav­ina Ir­win-Clark.

She gave thanks for ev­ery­one who served their com­mu­ni­ties. “May ev­ery­one who in their work­ing lives, or in vol­un­teer­ing, come across deep need and des­per­ate com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tions be given stamina, in­tegrity, courage and hope,” she said.

Pip Gor­ing, who hosted the event,said­she­ho­pe­de­v­ery­one in­vited, re­gard­less of be­lief, found the event in­spir­ing and en­cour­ag­ing.

Ms Ni­colls said she liked how the event drew so many groups to­gether. “It’s a chance to sit, take stock and think about what’s im­por­tant in life,” she said.

L-R: Harry Gor­ing, High Sher­rif of West Sus­sex Caro­line Ni­cholls, Dav­ina Ir­win-Clark, Pip Gor­ing, Sir Jeremy Cooke, ChristineL­aingQCandG­ilesYork,ChiefCon­sta­ble­ofSus­sexPo­lice. Pic­ture­byAn­naKhoo

Guests at the prayer break­fast

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