Next month, senior bishops from seven countries with partnership links to the Diocese of Leeds will meet together for the first time.
Bishop Nick has invited the church leaders from Sri Lanka, Sudan, the USA, Tanzania, Sweden, Pakistan and Germany to spend 31 March-9 April in the diocese.
He says, “It will be a unique international conference - I’m not aware that any other diocese has done this before. We’ll be celebrating the strength of global Christianity - a hugely positive message that runs counter to the current narrative of anti-globalisation”.
The church leaders are Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo, Sudan, Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Bishop George Okoth, Mara, Tanzania, Bishop John Samuel, Faisalabad, Pakistan, Bishop Mark Bourlakas, Southwestern Virginia, Bishop Åke Bonnier, Skara Sweden, and Senior Matthias Rein, Erfurt, Germany .
The global gathering begins with a diocesan welcome service at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday 2 April at 3.30pm. Bishop Nick will preach and it will be an opportunity to hear from some of the link bishops and to pray for them and the dioceses they represent. Dean, Jonathan Greener says, “It would be great for as many people from the diocese as possible to come along to show how pleased we are that our visitors have made the effort to come to the UK, and to show how important our overseas links are to the life of the church here.”
Link events will take place the following weekend, including a forum with the bishops at Leeds Minster on Sunday 9 April from 3.30pm for 4pm followed by Evensong at 5pm.
Along with the two diocesan events at Wakefield Cathedral and Leeds Minster, the bishops will spend five days together on retreat at Parcevall Hall, as well as meeting with parishes and link supporters.
Bishop Nick adds, “The bishops will pray, study and talk together, learning more about the diversity of our missional contexts and considering how we might optimize the potential for the development of multilateral links. In essence, we will be asking what are our links for, and how might we renew them?
On Monday 10 April the Bishops will travel to Canterbury to visit the Cathedral and meet with Archbishop Justin Welby.