Bishop John Inge of Worcester in the English Midlands, whose diocese has longstanding links with Peru, has travelled there this week to meet the new diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Jorge Aguilar and suffragean Bishop Alejandro Mesco. They will be exploring how they can support and learn from one another in the exercise of episcopal ministry in such different circumstances. Bishop John will also be inviting them to attend his diocesan clergy conference this September in England.
Four other representatives from the Worcester diocese, led by the Rev’d Phil Bradford, have been visiting Peru for the last fortnight, travelling south to Arequipa, north to Cajamarca and Chiclayo, and then returning to Lima. They went to renew friendships, offer support and encouragement, and take stock with the bishops and senior clergy of how the companion link can best support the diocese, as they seek a stable development plan under the new diocesan bishop.
There is a particularly strong and long-standing link between Bishop Alejandro and the parish of Alvechurch in Worcestershire. Parishioners there have recently committed themselves to providing his episcopal stipend for the next three years, as a way of offering direct support to his ministry.
The Diocese of Worcester has been connected with Peru since the 1990s.Worcester is one of only three Church of England dioceses to have a link with a diocese in South America.
As well as representatives coming over to the UK each year for a bishop’s’ council meeting or for the clergy conference, a group goes from Worcester to Peru every two years. Under the umbrella of the diocesan link, individual links exist between parishes and schools in the two dioceses. The Worcester Diocese says: “ The fundamental purpose of the link is the relationship between two dioceses of the Anglican Communion in very different contexts. We aim to pray, journey and learn together, sharing with each other our experiences, mission and ministry. Visits both ways highlight the amount we can learn from each other and the enrichment of sharing together in God’s mission.”