The group arrive in Seoul
At the end of May, four parish priests along with Bishop John travelled to our link diocese in Korea to meet with the Anglican Church in Seoul and forge new partnerships and connections.
During the action packed itinerary, Revds Tom, Griff, Jackie and Jun visited some of the cultural sights of the city and charitable institutions as well as attending services at the Anglican Cathedral and spending time independently in individual parishes.
The concept of a link diocese is widely accepted in the Church of England as a way to broaden the understanding and unity of the Church. As Revd Jackie said ‘It is one my fears that we can become so engrossed in our own little patch that we 'forget' that we are part of something much bigger and wider than we realise. Jesus commanded us to 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations' and we need to take his commandment seriously, working with others across the globe to spread the gospel message’.
Preparing for the ordination service
All the priests mentioned the special nature of worshiping and praying alongside others using a different language but a shared liturgy and tradition. Revd Tom noted ‘ The connections we were able to make, despite the language barrier were my greatest highlight. The conversations we had together helped challenge so many of the things we take for granted here, especially the great legacy of Christian faith in England.’ We may sometimes feel that our old buildings are a burden, especially if you are fundraising for vital repairs, but the contrast with a relatively new church like that in South Korea can underline the cultural impact that having an established church can bring.
For Revd Jun the experience was particularly poignant as he is currently celebrating a decade of ordained ministry, having been ordained a deacon in Korea and priested in Peterborough. He felt the trip was a special opportunity to give thanks for being part of a much larger plan, with people thousands of miles away worshipping the same God, in the say way, saying the same prayers. This was especially marked during an ordination service which was attended by the group where Bishop John preached.
Meeting the mothers union in Seoul Cathedral
The group are now looking forward to building on these relationships, both between ministry teams and also between other church groups like the Mother Union, Scouts and Sunday clubs. As Revd Tom mentioned ‘the wonder of zoom allows us to speak and introduce others from our parish to people halfway round the world.’
A recording of the service in Seoul Cathedral with Bishop John’s sermon is available here. The link committee is looking forward to welcoming guests from Seoul at the end of June, follow our facebook page for more information on the visit.
Bishop John visits the site of the new Cathedral