Archbishop of Papua New Guinea visits Norwich
The Archbishop of Papua New Guinea, Clyde Igara, was reunited with ten pilgrims from the Diocese of Norwich on January 16 during his visit to the UK to attend the Primates meeting organised by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Ten of the Diocese of Norwich pilgrims from the 2015 pilgrimage to Papua New Guinea, took the opportunity to reunited with each other and the Archbishop to speak of their experiences.
Last summer Bishops Graham and Jonathan led ten pilgrims on a pilgrimage to the Anglican province of Papua New Guinea; the pilgrimage was shared with seven pilgrims from Waiapu Diocese in New Zealand and four from Rockhampton Diocese in Australia.
The reunion, that took place in Granary Court at Bishop's House in Norwich, was to enable time to remember and reflect on the extraordinary pilgrimage. The pilgrims recalled the highs and lows of the journey and reflected on what they have taken away from the pilgrimage. The Archbishop then also spoke a little about his hopes and expectations of our link with each other.
Archbishop Clyde reminded the gathering that Papua New Guinea has over 800 different languages – the largest concentration in the world – which means over 800 different cultures; “what holds them together”, he said, “is God’s doing”.
The link between the Diocese of Norwich and Papua New Guinea goes back to the early 70’s, when the first Archbishop of Papua New Guinea (who was from Norfolk) and the then current Bishop of Norwich, Lancelot Fleming, first set up the link.
In the years since, there have been exchanges of personnel, mostly on short visits, but sometimes longer. Last year, a couple from South Norfolk (Lynn and Tony Fry) took a sabbatical to volunteer in Papua New Guinea for eight months or so; many decades before this, a young priest from Papua New Guinea came here for some much valued curacy experience.
Pilgrimages like the recent one, give mutual benefit to all partners, the Archbishop said. Overseas partners bring fresh perspectives on Christ in the world and take away a deeper understanding of the impact of a strong faith on the everyday lives of Papua New Guineans. The Anglican Church is “no longer a baby church”, he said, “we now relate to each other adult-to-adult”, as witnessed by the Archbishop’s attendance at the recent Primates’ meeting in Canterbury. “Life should never be just for self”, he said, underlining the Christian ethos of mutual care and support to all neighbours across the world.
In response the Bishop of Norwich, The Right Revd Graham James, said that “our pilgrimage was to learn from the church in Papua New Guinea about its martyrdoms, witness, suffering and sacrifice in recent times”. The pilgrims had visited Martyrs School, near Popondetta, on Martyrs Day and commemorated with Papua New Guineans the martyrdom of seven Anglicans during the Japanese invasion in 1942.
Bishop Graham also stressed the importance of church-to-church links between the two countries as well as links between their bishops and looked forward to meeting the Archbishop and members of his Church again in the future.
Every other year Papua New Guinea is also the focus of the Diocesan Lent Appeal and this year the appeal will focus on raising money for a school in Orobada, Papua New Guinea.