The oldest of these Links are the ones with Zimbabwe, which began after The Rt Revd Peter Hall, who was then the Bishop of Woolwich and who had previously served as a priest in the Diocese of Harare, came to the Diocese of Southwark in 1984.
There are five Dioceses in Zimbabwe. The Diocese of Harare is linked with the Diocese of Rochester while the other four Dioceses are linked with the Episcopal Areas and Southwark Cathedral. We work together with the Diocese of Rochester to ensure a good flow of information about and support for our friends and colleagues in Zimbabwe. The current political and economic situation in Zimbabwe makes these links all the more important, as do the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and climate change which are making the food situation in the country very fragile.
Diocese of Central Zimbabwe
The Croydon Episcopal Area is linked with the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe. Bishop Rosemarie and the Area have strong links with Bishop Ignatios Makumbe, his clergy and parishes. The Croydon-Zimbabwe Link Working Group supports the Diocese in prayer, with visits and practically in financing and encouraging projects. Parish-to-parish links now exist and there is a new parallel Link Group in Gweru which is the Cathedral city of the Diocese of Central Zimbabwe and the third largest city in Zimbabwe.
Bishop Ignatios was consecrated and enthroned in 2018. He is working hard with the Diocesan staff and the clergy and people of the Diocese to ensure that it is financially sustainable through a number of innovative and exciting initiatives which it is hoped will provide income. He and his team are also working to ensure that those who are most in need can receive help both to grow food where possible and also to benefit from feeding programmes.
Contact person: The Venerable Moira Astin, Archdeacon of Reigate
Contact details below
Diocese of Matabeleland
The Kingston Episcopal Area is linked with the Diocese of Matabeleland and they share a strong bond. The clergy and parishes and their Bishop Cleophas Lunga are supported, both practically and spiritually, by the Kingston-Matabeleland Link Committee. Links with schools and parishes are in place. The Cathedral city is Bulawayo, which is the second city of Zimbabwe and lies to the west of the country. Like other Dioceses in Zimbabwe, it has a vibrant Mothers’ Union which works with the women of the Diocese to build capacity so that they can grow food and make a little income to help to care for their families.
Contact: The Revd Canon Stephen Coulson
Diocese of Manicaland
The Woolwich Episcopal Area is linked with the Diocese of Manicaland, which is the most eastern diocese in Zimbabwe. The Bishop of Manicaland, Bishop Erick Ruwona, was enthroned in 2015 and Bishop Christopher and others represented Southwark Diocese and the Woolwich Episcopal Area at the service.
A large part of the Diocese, which is nearly half the size of England, is rural. Many of the clergy serve several churches dispersed over wide areas and are facing tremendous difficulties because of the present challenging situation in Zimbabwe. The Link Group works to encourage the Episcopal Area to pray for the people of Manicaland and to send practical support for the work that they are doing to deal with the ongoing effects of 2019’s Cyclone Idai, COVID-19 and food insecurity.
Contact person: The Venerable Alastair Cutting, Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich
Contact details below
Diocese of Masvingo
Southwark Cathedral is linked with the Diocese of Masvingo. Masvingo is the newest Diocese in Zimbabwe and it is led by Bishop Godfrey Tawonezvi, who has been Bishop since the inception of the Diocese in 2001. As such a young Diocese, Masvingo faces many challenges from its lack of infrastructure, but it is now building new churches, training and ordaining young clergy, and serving the people of the area in education, health, and development. Masvingo is the home of the shrine of Arthur Shearly Cripps, where Southwark Cathedral has provided the resources to purchase and install a borehole to supply drinking water for pilgrims. The Cathedral aims to support the ministry of the Diocese through prayer, fundraising (aiming to raise at least £10,000 per year), through sharing information in the Cathedral noticesheet and (when we can) at Cathedral-wide meetings, and through visits (which have happened in both directions in recent years, but cannot be planned at present).
The website for the Diocese of Masvingo:
Contact person: Revd Canon Wendy Robins
Contact details below
Diocese of Bergen
The Diocese of Bergen is one of the 11 Dioceses of the Church of Norway. Its proper name is Bjørgvin, which is the old spelling of Bergen, and it is located on the west coast of Norway.
The Diocese covers Bergen and surrounding country. If you speak or can read any Norwegian do visit their website.
The Diocesan Link began following the establishment of a Link relationship between the two cathedrals which remains strong.
Southwark Cathedral and Bergen Cathedral signed a formal twinning agreement on Sunday 15 October 2000. The service was the culmination of a long process of talking and worshipping together and of the history of the Norwegian Church in the Southwark area. Since 1692 there has been a Norwegian Seamen’s Mission in London. The present St Olav’s Church in Rotherhithe was built in 1927. There has therefore been a long history of living alongside each other as Christian neighbours and in the last few years of actively working together in the proclamation of and witness to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1995 the Church of England and the Church of Norway adopted the Porvoo Declaration, which provided possibilities for a deepened solidarity between the churches, through mutual recognition of our ordained ministries and the encouragement of inter-communion. Southwark Cathedral was honoured to have been involved in the celebration of this declaration and in 1999 to welcome the leaders of the Porvoo Churches as they met in London.
From those early days the link has grown and developed it continues through the Cathedral Unity group headed by Andrew Viner and Michael Rawson. There is normally a visit to Bergen or Southwark each year. During the pandemic we have been keeping in touch via email and Zoom and in 2021 members of Bergen Cathedral were able to take part in the streamed Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Service from Southwark Cathedral by pre-recording readings and joining the streamed service online. Locally, we meet each term with clergy from St Olav’s Norwegian Church, Rotherhithe and St George’s Cathedral Southwark as part of the Unity Forum.
In recent years, the relationship between the Cathedrals has developed into a Diocesan link involving mutual visits and, recently, a shared professional development course taken by clergy from both Dioceses. One of the key factors in this link has been the Norwegian Church in Rotherhithe, which has hosted and enabled many of the contacts between us.
Contact for the Cathedral Link: The Revd Canon Michael Rawson
Contact for the Diocesan Link: The Revd Canon Wendy S Robins
Contact details below
Diocese of Jerusalem
This is the newest of our Diocesan links with the Jerusalem-Southwark Covenant agreement which formally joined Jerusalem and Southwark being signed by Bishop Christopher and The Most Revd Suheil Dawani, the Archbishop in Jerusalem, on 20 January 2021. Linking the Dioceses in this way formalises a long-standing relationship between the Diocese of Southwark and the Diocese of Jerusalem, the latter of which consists of 27 parishes and has approximately 8,000 members. The current Bishop is also the Archbishop of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East which extends across five countries (Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan). Archbishop Suheil retired in June 2021 and was succeeded by Bishop Hosum Naoum.
The formal Link is very much in its infancy, but the two Dioceses already have a strong relationship: Bishop Christopher and the Very Revd Andrew Nunn (former Dean of Southwark), have led three Diocesan Pilgrimages to the Holy Land and have stayed in Jerusalem during these, often visiting St George’s Cathedral and the attached College. The Dean of the College, the Revd Canon Richard Sewell, was a priest in the Diocese of Southwark until his appointment in 2018 and he remains an Honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral.
In 2016, the Diocese of Southwark and the Dioceses in Zimbabwe had a joint study trip to St George’s College – it is hoped that there can be more study trips to the College in the future and that the Link will go from strength to strength.
In November 2023, a new group, chaired by Bishop Martin, was formed to take forward the relationship between the Diocese of Southwark and Diocese of Jerusalem building on the Jerusalem-Southwark Covenant Agreement.
The group is small and at this stage and is designed simply to respond to the current crisis in Israel/Palestine. It will form more fully and more clearly identify its priorities in due course. The group’s current members are Bishop Martin Gainsborough, Revd Peter Welby, Revd Canon Wendy Robins and The Venerable Moira Astin.
In a highly charged political context, it can sometimes be difficult for those who lead public prayers in our churches to know how best to do this. We have put together a few pointers which may be useful to them. These include prayer points given to us mainly by our partners there. Do, please, share them with your intercessors if you think it might be helpful. This page will be updated to reflect the evolving prayers needs of the situation.
We would also encourage people to reach out to synagogues and mosques in their areas to build and strengthen relationships.
In addition, Bishop Christopher has asked that parishes consider giving a percentage of their collections from Advent/Christmas services to the Archbishops of Jerusalem and Canterbury’s joint appeal for the work of the Diocese of Jersualem and the Middle East which has been affected by the devastating war in Israel/Palestine. Donations can be made via the Jerusalem and Middle East Church Association (JMECA) cafdonate.cafonline.org/24666
Contact: Revd Canon Wendy S Robins
Contact details below