The Right Reverend Dr Johan Dalman, Bishop of Strängnäs in the Church of Sweden, together with members of the Bishop’s Council and the Dean’s Council of the Diocese, made a visit to the Church of Ireland Diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross from 12th to 16th February.
On Friday, 12th February the two groups – 14 people in all – travelled, one from Stockholm and the other from Copenhagen to Dublin before driving to Cork. It was a residential weekend of work for the visitors from the Church of Sweden, with plenty of opportunity also to engage with the Church of Ireland locally. On Friday evening, 12th February, the Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton joined the group at their hotel for dinner and gave them an introductory talk about the Church of Ireland, the Cork region and the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and ross
A tour for the Swedish party was arranged for Saturday, 13th February with Bishop Colton as guide. First stop was St Anne’s Church, Shandon for a tour, a climb to the top of the tower to take in the view of Cork, and also an opportunity to ring the bells. ABBA’s ‘Fernando’ was the choice of Bishop Dalman.
Then it was on to the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin, Youghal, (1220 A.D) with a talk given by David Kelly followed by morning coffee in The Red Store. The Cathedral Church of St Colman, Cloyne (1250 A.D.) was next, where Patricia Lyons showed the visitors around. A visit to St Luke’s Home for lunch in the conservatory overlooking the River Lee, and to Northridge House (St Luke’s Home Education Centre) brought everyone back to Cork, and back to the current work of the Diocese. David O’Brien, CEO of St Luke’s, briefed everyone on the work of the charity and the engagement of the local churches with it.
The work of the Diocese in education was next on the agenda, and a visit to Ashton School in Cork. There, Head Girl, Ali Lynch, and Head Boy, Stephen Jermyn, together with Adrian Landen (Principal) and Anne-Marie Hewison (Deputy Principal) were on hand to welcome the guests. Ali and Stephen introduced the school to the visitors and showed them around, and gifts – a school pennant and paperweight – were presented to Bishop Dalman, and pens to everyone in the group.
The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to a visit to Kinsale where Irene Treacy showed the group around the Church of St Multose (1190 A.D.). On Saturday evening, Bishop Colton and Mrs Susan Colton hosted a dinner for the Swedish visitors, as well as the local clergy who had been involved in the Saturday programme and to introduce them to those who were hosting the visitors on Sunday morning. Gifts were again exchanged.
On Sunday morning, 14th February, the visitors took part in Sunday morning Services in some of the parishes of the Diocese: Holy Trinity, Frankfield, St Luke’s, Douglas, St Anne’s, Shandon, St Luke’s Home Chapel, St John’s, Monkstown, St Mary’s, Carrigaline, Nohoval Parish Church, Holy Trinity, Crosshaven, Holy Trinity, Rathclaren and St Peter, Bandon. A number of the visiting clergy were the preachers, while the Bishop of Strängnäs preached at the Choral Eucharist in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. Following lunch in their parishes with their host clergy, the group gathered at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral for Choral Evensong and a guided tour.
Sunday evening was a working session and the visitors had asked to hear about the Church of Ireland approach to recruitment of clergy, the support of lay voluntary church workers and also clergy discipline. Bishop Colton and Mrs Susan Colton were then entertained by Bishop Dalman and the Swedish guests at their hotel. On Monday, 15th, the Swedish party spent a working day together before leaving early on Tuesday, 16th to return to the Diocese of Strängnäs.
The entire visit was organised on foot of a long held hope of Bishop Dalman and Bishop Colton who have been firm friends for nearly 25 years, and came to know one another in the process that led to the Porvoo Agreement and the Porvoo Communion. The Porvoo Communion is a fellowship of Anglican and Lutheran Churches in Great Britain and Ireland, the Nordic region, Iberia and the Baltic countries; more information may be found here.
Watch out for the full photo gallery in coming days on this NewsBlog.