Bishop Nick and his wife, Linda, have taken part in a two week trip to Sri Lanka, visiting the Anglican Church with which the diocese has a partnership.
Read Bishop Nick's blogs from Sri Lanka here
Bishop Nick (pictured right with the Bishop of Colombo, Rt Revd Dhilo Canagasabey) said, “In bringing three dioceses together, the Diocese of West Yorkshire & the Dales has inherited several partnerships with the Anglican Church overseas. These links are strong and important for both sides; what we learn from looking through the eyes of others is as important as anything we are able give to them.”
He added, "We covered the length and breadth of the island, establishing a strong relationship with Bishop Dhilo, the Bishop of Colombo
"We met lots of people in lots of contexts and learned much about the consequences of the civil war on both church and civil society".
The Church of Ceylon, made up of the dioceses of Colombo and Kuranagala in Sri Lanka, was the principle link for the former Diocese of Ripon & Leeds.
Anglicans there are a minority within a minority. Most Christians are Roman Catholic, and 70% of the population are Buddhist. Christians are generally respected and the Church is still one of the few places where Tamil and Sinhalese people can worship freely together.
Prayer and mutual support are at the heart of the link, and there are strong links between churches and schools. When the Tsunami struck in December 2004, over 35,000 people were killed, and no family was untouched by loss. Here in Yorkshire, over £1000 was raised in a few weeks and 12 teachers visited the stricken areas to see what help could be offered.
Bishop Nick and Linda will also be visiting the three dioceses in Tanzania, with which the former Diocese of Wakefield had a link, in January. The other major partnership is the former Diocese of Bradford’s link with Sudan.
Bishop Nick says, “As a new diocese we need to work out how these links will take shape in the future, and there’s no short cut to that, these face-to-face visits are crucial.
“I now intend to discuss with the Sri Lanka link group how we take the link forward in the new diocese in the context of the review of all the links that is currently being undertaken.”