South East Asian partner dioceses

Published: 25th June 2015

 Lichfield Diocese played host to a distinguished group from the Province of South East Asia last week.

The group, led by Archbishop Bolly Lapok, were in England to mark the closure of two missionary organisations that had proclaimed the gospel in the far East and to renew links with the Diocese, including a whistle-stop tour of a few pioneering church projects as well as a traditional service of Evensong in the cathedral.

The Province of South East Asia covers twice the area of the Church of England but comprises just four dioceses: Singapore, Kuching, West Malaysia and Sabah. Oversight of Anglican churches in Cambodia, Indonesaia, Laos, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam has been passed from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the diocese of Singapore, while the other three dioceses cover the parts of Malaysia.

"These exchanges are for mutual learning and encouragement" said Archbishop Bolly.

 Singapore and West Malaysia contain some densely populated cities, but most of the province is rural and many parallels were noted with situations in Lichfield Diocese. Shared challenges regularly came to the fore during the visit. 

The group visited a flower festical at St Bartholemew's, Penn (Wolverhampton) before travelling west to meet Revd Lee Plummer, pioneer minister in central Telford and representatives of the Chinese Church in the town before seeing the Cafe Connect project in Radbrook Green, Shrewsbury.

"From what we saw today, we can draw lessons. The Diocese of Lichfield is on the right path to reach out to people" said the Archbishop.

"We joked about the large numbers of people in the churches of Malaysia and I think that's a wake-up call to us here" said Revd Phil Cansdale, rector of Trinity Churches which includes Cafe Connect. "But at same stage they spoke of how in their own culture it is becoming harder to be a Christian."

At a reception in the evening, where many acquaintances between the diocese were refreshed, the Archbishop thanked Bishop Jonathan in particular for his help in raising the issue of rising religious intolerance in Malaysia through Bishop Jonathan's work in the House of Lords (see p10 of this Spotlight). 

As well as the Archbishop, the party included the Assistant Bishop and  archdeacons from Kuching and the newly-installed bishop of Sabah, Rt Revd Melter Jiki Tais and the Provincial Chancellor.

Revd Philip Swan, Director of World Mission for the diocese said "We anticipate a new beginning that builds on a long-standing relationship of partnership and trust with Lichfield Diocese."

As part of that, the Bishop of West Malaysia, The Rt Revd Ng Moon Hing is working hard to help develop the St Chad's Volunteer Programme, visiting Aldridge this weekend when he will also meet a small team including Revd Phil Cansdale to plan a return visit to develop the programme with a particular focus on discipleship.

Find out more about our links with overseas dioceses here and more about World Mission in general here.

Page last updated: Thursday 25th June 2015 9:58 AM
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