THE Bishop of Sheffield has highlighted the problem of loneliness in his Christmas sermon.
Dr Steven Croft said the matter was particularly difficult during the festive period.
He told worshippers: “Loneliness can be hard to bear at Christmas.
“The Samaritans will receive a call every seven seconds over this Christmas period.
“Half a million pensioners will spend Christmas day alone.
“We live in a lonely world which is becoming lonelier still and which needs to hear the Christmas story afresh.
“All too often we see the results of loneliness in the tragic newspaper headlines.
“But we don’t often admit to what we feel.”
Dr Croft said that while Christmas posed obvious challenges to people who feel lonely, it also provides an opportunity to reach out and to bring people closer together.
He said: “All across our country tonight, people will be coming together to sing carols and to tell each other the story of Jesus birth.
“It is no accident that loneliness has increased as church membership had decreased.”