Three of our bishops from the Diocese of Leeds have joined with their colleagues across the northern dioceses and with the Archbishop of York on Holy Island, Lindisfarne, this week to pray, to reflect, and to discuss Bishops’ Missions across the Northern Province of the Church England.
Northern Bishops’ Missions have taken place in Sheffield (Crossroads) in 2015, Blackburn (Crossroads) in 2016, Durham (Talking Jesus) in 2017 and this year in both Carlisle (Moving Mountains) and Newcastle (Pathways) – where Bishops across the North have gone with teams to support local efforts to model missions through working together and to sow the seeds of the Gospel across the north.
Pictured are northern bishops including Bishop Nick, Bishop Tony Robinson, the Bishop of Wakefield, and Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley, the Bishop of Ripon.
The Bishops enjoyed wonderful hospitality from the team from Marygate House, using the new conference facilities at the Crossman Hall.
In 635AD Saint Aidan came from Iona and chose to found his monastery on The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The Christian message flourished here and spread throughout the world.
Prayers were said in St Mary’s Church, Lindisfarne, at the site of St Aidan’s first chapel (The Heugh) and on St Cuthbert’s Island. At the end of the retreat, on the windswept west beach of the island, Bishops called out their prayers and pledged to continue working together in mission in the Northern Province of the Church of England, and to ground this in a retreat together in prayer on Holy Island as a priority.
“There was much to be thankful for in the stories shared, especially where the Bishops’ Missions had inspired local churches to try new ways of reaching out in their communities,” the bishops heard.
“This has led to increased confidence and a readiness to repeat what worked, as well as striving to find new ways of connecting with the wider community.”
Three more Bishops’ Missions are now planned over the next eighteen months.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “Our ordination as Bishops in the Church of God, the Holy Spirit endows us with a charism of those who are sent by our Risen Lord Jesus Christ to make Him visible together. We, by the grace of God, are modelling mission as we bring our teams who work with the parishes, deaneries, prisons, schools and colleges of higher learning. This collaborative partnership in the Gospel has strengthened us, giving us hope to see what God is already doing – for the God of mission, who has a Church, has already gone before us. Our calling is to discern and follow where He is leading: leading in the way of Jesus Christ, with wisdom, oversight and insight.”
(Picture above courtesy of Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley)