Bishop of Hanover welcomed as Honorary Canon of Ripon Cathedral

Ralf Meister, the Bishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran church of Hanover has been installed as an Honorary Ecumenical Canon of Ripon Cathedral in the Diocese of Leeds.

And by no coincidence, the first hymn during the Choral Evensong service on Sunday was "Glorious things of thee are spoken", sung to the tune of the German national anthem, Austria, by Haydn.

Bishop Ralf has been at the head of the largest German Evangelical Church diocese since 2011 and prior to this was General Superintendent in Berlin for three years.

He has particularly strong links with the Church of England through his work as co-chair of the Meissen Commission, a role he now shares with Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs.

Bishop Nick Baines chaired the Commission which fosters close relations between the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the Church of England for eleven years until 2017.

At the start of the installation service, John Dobson, Dean of Ripon Cathedral presented Bishop Ralf and explained the honour was "in recognition of his contribution to international ecumenical work and to the special relationship between the Landeskirche Hanover and the Diocese of Leeds."

Speaking after his installation, Bishop Ralf said this was sign of a new partnership between his diocese, the Diocese of Leeds and Ripon Cathedral with the aim of working for a more friendly, more loving world.

"This is probably one of the most honourable and inspiring moments in my personal pastoral biography," he said.

In his address, Bishop Nick welcomed Bishop Ralf and said how different, but  shared visions of the world were greatly needed.

"We need to get rid of the nonsense that people of God should somehow compartmentalise their lives and keep politics and the 'real world' in one compartment, while they 'do God' in another.

"It's an impossible thing to do.

"We have a partnership with the German Church and we have to stand together, looking out into a complex world together

"With some fragility in Europe, we need to interpret the world to each other and look through each others' eyes at the wider world.

"We need each other especially as we head towards Brexit.

"We need to look through German eyes to see how we look to others and equally, the German Church must be able to look through our eyes to understand us.

"Our partnership link is developing and Bishop Ralf will be coming over in November to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

"I will be going over to preach in Hanover a few days later, and in May next year Bishop Ralf and his six bishops will be coming to meet and stay with with our bishops at Parcevall Hall. 

"I pray that not only will Ralf be blessed through his relationship with Ripon Cathedral, but that we will all be blessed in this relationship."





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