Just a few days before he comes to Yorkshire as part of a unique gathering of link bishops, it has been officially confirmed that the Archbishop of Khartoum is to become the leader of a new Anglican Province.
Bishop Nick, who will be welcoming Archbishop Ezekiel Kondo from Khartoum at the gathering of overseas bishops in our diocese from March 31 to April 9, will join the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at the inauguration of the new Province in Khartoum on July 30th.
This week the Anglican Communion confirmed that Sudan will become the 39th Province in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Currently, it is an internal province within the Anglican Church of South Sudan and Sudan.
Bishop Nick said, “The Archbishop is a great friend of this diocese and he will be joining us and our other link bishops for a visit to the Diocese of Leeds at the beginning of April. Archbishop Ezekiel of Khartoum is a man big in stature and heart, and we look forward to welcoming him to Leeds once again.”
Archbishop Ezekiel expressed joy at the news: “I would like to say that the Christians and the entire people of Sudan are very much looking forward to welcoming the Archbishop of Canterbury to inaugurate the New Province of Sudan, number 39, which represents 39 Articles of faith of the Anglican Church and the 39 books of the OT! It is my prayer and hope that the occasion will strengthen the church in Sudan for God's glory and extension of His Kingdom.”
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, which left the Primate of Sudan and South Sudan, Archbishop Daniel Deng, with the challenge of overseeing two countries. In 2016 a formal application was made by the Primate to the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), for the internal province of Sudan to be granted autonomy.
In a unique event, senior bishops and leaders from seven countries with partnership links to the Diocese of Leeds will be welcomed to meet together for the first time from March 31 to April 9.
The global gathering begins with a diocesan welcome service at Wakefield Cathedral on Sunday 2 April at 3.30pm to which all in the diocese are welcome, particularly those with links to any of our overseas link dioceses.
Along with Archbishop Ezekial Kondo of Sudan, the diocese will be welcoming Bishop Dhilo Canagasabey of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Bishop George Okoth of Mara, Tanzania, Bishop John Samuel of Faisalabad, Pakistan, Bishop Mark Bourlakas of Southwestern Virginia, Bishop Åke Bonnier of Skara Sweden, and Senior Matthias Rein of Erfurt, Germany.
Bishop Nick will preach at the opening event 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 of Wakefield, Jonathan Greener, said, “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.”
The bishops will then spend five days together on retreat at Parcevall Hall learning from each other and praying for each other’s situations. Link events will take place the following weekend, culminating in a forum with the bishops at Leeds Minster on Sunday 9 April from 3.30pm for 4pm followed by Evensong at 5pm. (Again all are warmly welcome to this event).
Bishop Nick added, “It will be a unique international conference in which we’ll be celebrating the strength of global Christianity. It's a hugely positive message that runs counter to the current narrative of global fragmentation”.