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Special service to mark African link; Bishops lead Wakefield Cathedral celebration.

Byline: By Express & Chronicle Church Correspondent

CHURCH-GOERS from St Mark's, Longwood, travelled to Wakefield Cathedral last Sunday afternoon to celebrate communion and for a special service to recognise 20 years of the Wakefield/Mara Diocese Link.

Twenty St Mark's parishioners - including the vicar, the Rev Jim Hunt - joined the capacity congregation, which included representatives from the 90 parishes with links to Mara, in Tanzania, East Africa.

The service began with a procession of clergy in their appropriate vestments followed by a procession of numerous bishops from four continents, including Bishop Hilkaiah Omindo from Mara.

The congregation was welcomed with African music by Ali Bullivent and drummers with vocals by Tom Moore and singers. The Bishop of Wakefield Stephen Platten welcomed everyone in several languages.

Stephen then introduced the Bishop of Pontefract, Tony Robinson, and the other visiting bishops. The peace was then shared by the Bishops and congregation while the organist Andrew Padmore played music by Handel from the Royal Fireworks Suite.

Guest preacher was Bishop Hilkiah who praised the work of the links between Wakefield and Mara.

The covenant between Wakefield and Mara was then renewed by Bishops Stephen and Hilkaiah, witnessed by all and greeted with applause. The offertory collection was for the Mara Tree Project.

Following communion the bishops gathered at the altar with each reading intercession prayers. During the recessional hymn, which began quietly and increased in intensity, the bishops moved to the west end of the cathedral, and the congregation turned to face them.

The service concluded with Bishop Stephen at the west door, surrounded by all the other bishops giving the dismissal blessing.

Refreshments were then served outside in glorious sunshine.

CAPTION(S):

TANZANIAN LINK: Peter Pearson of St Mark's Church Longwood and wife Judith meets Bishop Hilkaiah of the Mara diocese in East Africa (zzhwe140708bishop)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2008
Words:302
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