Worshippers from across south-east Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will welcome bishops from across the globe next month (July).
Eleven Anglican bishops and their spouses from Africa and the USA will spend five nights in the Portsmouth diocese before heading for the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.
The visits, from July 11-16, are part of the national Lambeth hospitality initiative that allows bishops from across the Anglican Communion to see the Church in action in England, Scotland and Wales. It’s the first time that such a programme has been co-ordinated in advance of the Lambeth Conference.
As well as allowing local worshippers to offer Christian hospitality, it also gives us a chance to hear how God is working in different cultures. Three of the bishops, the Bishops of Atlanta, Georgia and Idaho, are from the USA. The other eight - the Bishops of Kumasi, Wiawso, Cape Coast, Tamale, Sunyani, Ho, Sekondi-Takoradi and Koforidua - are all from Ghana.
The Portsmouth Anglican diocese is linked specifically to Ghana via the Inter-Diocesan West Africa Link (IDWAL), which celebrates its 30th anniversary this summer. That link has seen dozens of Ghanaian Christians visiting parishes here, and hundreds of worshippers from this diocese visiting Ghana over the past three decades. There are thriving links between individual parishes and schools.
The overseas bishops, their spouses and civic guests will spend time with the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Kenneth Stevenson, in Portsmouth Cathedral on July 12. They’ll also view an exhibition showing the diocese in action. Worshippers are invited to a special Eucharist in the cathedral from 3pm that day.
The 11 bishops will participate in worship in the parish church that is hosting them on July 13. There will be events in each deanery that afternoon.
They will spend a day on the Isle of Wight on July 14, and enjoy visiting HMS Warrior, HMS Victory and the Spinnaker Tower on July 15.
The Rev Mark Rodel, who is chairing the diocese’s Lambeth hospitality co-ordinating group, said: “Each of the bishops and their spouses will stay with a family in their home. It’s a tremendous opportunity to offer the gift of hospitality to representatives of our sister churches around the world.
“Those of us involved in planning the programme are excited about the opportunity to hear from God as we share stories of our participation in God’s mission in some very different settings. It will be a time for learning and growth for all of us in our engagement with God.”
The Lambeth Conference takes place every 10 years at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Hundreds of bishops from the worldwide Anglican Communion will meet for 20 days of worship, study and conversation at the University of Kent. The archbishop’s wife, Jane Williams, is hosting a parallel Spouses’ Conference.
The Lambeth Conference begins with a retreat led by the archbishop on July 17-19, which enables delegates to prepare spiritually for their time together. Conference sessions after that will look at Anglican identity, evangelism, social justice, the environment, and other religions. Each day of the conference will start with bishops worshipping together and then meeting for Bible study in small groups from 9.30am-11am.
Note to Editors:
1. You are invited to take a photo or obtain footage of the 11 bishops at either of these locations:
(a) Osborne House on the Isle of Wight – 11am on Monday 14 July
(b) at the top of the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth – 5pm on Tuesday 15 July
If you would like to come to either of these photo calls, please contact the bishop’s chaplain, the Rev Alex Hughes, on 01329-280247.
For more information, contact:
The Rev Alex Hughes, bishop’s chaplain (01329-280247)
Item from: The Diocese of Portsmouth