At its creation at Easter 2014 the new Diocese of Leeds inherited a number of international partnership links. Three years into the new diocese, I invited our link bishops to visit this diocese for a week of retreat and conversation that might help us discern the potential (or otherwise) of our links.
Rather than repeat what I have written elsewhere, here are links to the various articles written for different audiences:
Although we originally didn’t intend to produce any statement at the end of our time together, we did agree a communique that read as follows:
Diocese of Leeds – Visit of Link Bishops, 2-10 April 2017
The Bishop of Leeds invited bishops from the international partnership links (inherited from the historic dioceses of Bradford, Wakefield and Ripon & Leeds) to convene in Passiontide at Parcevall Hall for a retreat.
The Archbishop of Khartoum (Sudan), the bishops of Mara (Tanzania), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Faisalabad (Pakistan), Southwestern Virginia (USA), Skara (Swedish Lutheran) and the Superintendent of Erfurt (Germany) spent five days with the Bishop of Leeds and the suffragan bishops of Bradford, Huddersfield, Richmond, Ripon and Wakefield.
In a context of prayer, worship and deep fellowship the bishops took time to explain the cultural, social and church/missional contexts in which they serve and the polities of those churches. This formed the bedrock of deeper exploration of biblical theology, hermeneutics, prayer, spirituality, discipleship and ethics as seen and understood in their particular context.
Recognition of the differences that threaten to divide Anglicans from one another sat within a deep commitment of mutual friendship, fellowship and love. Conversations were characterised by honesty, generosity, grace and genuine attentiveness.
Grateful for the hospitality during this retreat, and following discussion of how our partnerships might be renewed or further developed from here, the bishops resolved:
- to recognise in one another a brother in Christ
- to form a community of mutual loving, learning, support, encouragement and challenge
- to pray for one another
- to communicate regularly
- to check with each other reports about developments in one another’s church before passing judgment or comment
- to face honestly any future strains or challenges that threaten the unity of our church or the bonds of affection to which we are both called and committed
- to set up conversations to explore the potential for optimising multilateral partnerships where possible.
The bishops further resolved to meet again in Leeds prior to the Lambeth Conference in 2020.
Rt Revd Nicholas Baines, Bishop of Leeds
Most Revd Ezekiel Kondo, Bishop of Khartoum, Sudan
Rt Revd Mark Bourlakas, Bishop of Southwestern Virginia, USA
Rt Revd Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Sri Lanka
Rt Revd George Okoth, Bishop of Mara, Tanzania
Rt Revd John Samuel, Bishop of Faisalabad, Pakistan
Rt Revd Åke Bonnier, Bishop of Skara, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden
Rt Revd James Bell, Bishop of Ripon, Diocese of Leeds
Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Huddersfield, Diocese of Leeds
Rt Revd Dr Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford, Diocese of Leeds
Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, Diocese of Leeds
Rt Revd Paul Slater, Bishop of Richmond, Diocese of Leeds
Senior Dr Matthias Rein, Superintendent of Kirchenkreis Erfurt, Landeskirche von Mitteldeutschland, Germany (Meissen)
10 April 2017
We finish tomorrow before visiting the Archbishop of Canterbury on Monday.