In the last few months we have welcomed visitors from our partner Diocese of El Camino Real, California.
In mid-September we were delighted to meet Rowland and Pat Rebele from Santa Cruz in California. Rowland and Pat formerly owned and ran a local newspaper. They are however very busy in retriement, working in their community and as patrons of the arts. In Santa Cruz they have set up and run a homeless shelter for families who suddenly find themselves without a home, providing accommodation and help to find work and housing.
Over a Sunday they joined us for Morning Eucharist and Evensong at the Cathedral followed by a guided tour by Cathedral expert Nick Mann, plus a look at the historic docks and finally a meeting with Bishop Rachel and Guy. They were particularly impressed – and surprised – by the plaque commemorating John Stafford Smith, son of a Gloucester Cathedral organist, who composed the music to what would become their national anthem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.
In December we welcomed Link Officer, Canon Brian Nordwick and Revd Katherine Doar, Associate Priest at St. Francis, San Jose. After attending the consecration service of Bishop Robert of Tewkesbury at Canterbury they came to Gloucestershire to inaugurate two parish partnerships – between St. Peter’s Winchcombe and St. Stephens, San Luis Obispo and between St Lawrence’s Bourton on the Water and St. Francis, San Jose.
Katherine spent time in Bourton getting to know people and participating in Christmas preparations. Although this time delegates from St. Stephens were unable to make the journey, the technology of ‘Skype’ meant that Revd John Paul Hoskins was able to ‘meet’ his counterpart, Revd. Ian Delinger, to also set up their partnership.
These two parish partnerships are an important part of the LIFE Vision – both Dioceses are committed to the value of learning from each other. So, in Leadership we will compare how we develop ministry; in Imagination we will link our schools and our churches in partnership projects and activities; in Faith, we will share our stories and journey together in faith and spirituality, and in Engagement, we will compare how we engage with the wider world.
If these parish partnerships prove successful we hope to set up more in the future.
By Link Officer, Julie Fay