Fact-finding trip to Hanover leads to new German links

A delegation from our diocese has just returned from a bridge-building trip to Hanover, Germany.

Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Revd Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, along with the Revd Dr Hayley Matthews, Diocesan Director of Lay Training, and the Revd Derek Jones, curate in Little Horton, Bradford, travelled to Hanover for a four-day exploratory visit, getting to know the context of the Church there, and meeting with various lay and clergy representatives.  

Founded on a long-standing friendship between Bishop Nick and Bishop Ralf Meister, the Bishop of Hanover and an honorary canon of Ripon Cathedral, this new link represents an exciting opportunity to share ideas and work on projects of mutual interest.  

During their visit, Bishop Helen-Ann, Hayley and Derek visited the Cathedral of Verden, meeting with local representatives (pictured left), and the rural parish of Kirchlinteln to the north of Hanover to share in Evening Prayer.

Bishop Helen-Ann said that ‘the welcome and hospitality were overwhelming; there was much laughter and joy, and deep listening as we recognised what we had in common, and where there were opportunities to learn.  

“In these uncertain times of Brexit, this link represents a vital statement of hope in our partnership which we pray will bear much fruit.”

On Sunday, they spent the morning in different churches: the Marktkirche in the centre of Hanover, and two churches in the suburbs: one doing its family church messy church Sunday followed by a lunch, and another at which a high proportion of Iranian Christians worship.  

Reflecting on their visit, Hayley Matthews commented: “it was so exciting to see how we are each developing in similar areas in different ways, so we look forward to working in partnership together and learning from one another.”

Derek shared that “it’s a really exciting opportunity to see how we are growing together and learning from each other’s differences, because we are close to one another and can see each other’s contexts through different lenses.”  

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