Thanksgiving service to mark conclusion of international partnership

A special thanksgiving service will mark the conclusion of an international partnership between the dioceses of Carlisle and Madras.

The fleet of fishing boats which the Diocese of Carlisle funded following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.The two dioceses first came together in 1979 under the Church of England’s Partnership for World Mission (PWM).

The PWM project sees the Church of England engage in world mission relationships through Mission Agencies, with the Diocese of Carlisle having built up four partnerships over the years.

Now people are being invited to attend the special service at Carlisle Cathedral to formally mark the end of one of those partnerships with Madras.

The Rev Canon Jim Hyslop, rector of St John’s Upperby, has visited India four times in his role as the diocesan convenor for the Madras link.

He said: “The link has created tremendous friendships and it has provided us with an opportunity to develop greater understanding of one another.

“As a Diocese we have learned from our partners in Madras about the importance of being a united church as well as the need to focus on mission and evangelism.”

The Partnership has provided the chance for various exchange trips for clergy and laity. Two curates from Carlisle visited Madras for two and three-month stays respectively.

Young people from Madras helped build an adventure playground at the Rydal Hall Christian Retreat Centre near Ambleside and two others were part of the Hall’s international community staff members. Links were also established between churches and school communities and a group from Madras has also previously participated in a Diocesan Lay Conference.

The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev’d James Newcome, during a tour of the Diocese of Madras in 2005 and at a hostel which was renovated through contributions from the Diocese of Carlisle.  In 2005, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, toured the Madras Diocese in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami . The diocese raised £136,000 towards the aid effort, which paid for a fleet of new fishing boats to replace those destroyed.

Bishop James said: “I very much value the Christian mission and ministry which have been at the core of our links with the Diocese of Madras.

“I visited the diocese in the aftermath of the tsunami and saw the desperate situation which so many people were in. It was our Christian duty to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ during one of their greatest hours of need.

“By the same token, we as a Diocese have learnt much about the World Church from our partners in Madras over the years for which we are thankful.

“Although the official ties are now coming to a natural end, we will continue to extend our Christian love to all those in the Diocese of Madras through prayer and reflection and we wish God’s blessings on everyone there for the future.”

The Diocese of Carlisle now intends to commit further to its three other PWM links: Stavanger in Norway, Northern Argentina and Zululand.

Bishop James added: “Over the past five years each of these three links has become more significant and closer relationships continue to be formed.”

Bishop Peter Ramsden, retired Bishop of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and who now lives near Appleby, has recently been appointed chair of the diocese’s PWM group.

He said: “While our partnership with Madras has come to a natural end we are committed to further developing our links with our other Partners in World Mission.

“At the end of November we welcomed members of the Youth Council of Stavanger Diocese for a tour, our Northern Argentinian partners have benefited through our Bishop’s Harvest Appeal and Mothers’ Union members visited Zululand last year.”

The service of thanksgiving in Carlisle Cathedral will be held on Saturday 16 January, 2016, at 2pm. It will include prayers delivered in Tamil, the language of those living in the Diocese of Madras.

Notes for editors
Partnership for World Mission is the body that links the General Synod and the National Church Institutions with the Mission Agencies and the Diocesan Companion Links.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.