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Bishop Jane’s visit to link Diocese of Lulea in Sweden strengthens friendship.

New deacons and priests at their ordination in the link Diocese of Lulea in Sweden

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The link between the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Luleå in Northern Sweden was further strengthened this week when Bishop Jane visited.  Luleå is the largest town in Swedish Lapland, but the Diocese stretches far north to the Norwegian border, as well as  south to Umeå.  Parishes are large, with one council for several churches in the parish though with local decision-making for some things.  And large means large – tens of kilometres between churches. 

Bishop Jane visited Ormbspoke-Herstölandet and spoke to people from the parish about the Church in the Diocese of Norwich. She also visited the mediaeval Church of Gammelstad, with its rare surviving ‘church town’ with cottages where rural families would stay when attending church, and its modern parish hall. 

On Sweden’s national day, there was a visit to Arvidsjaur and to a great community gathering arranged by the Church, with face painting, popcorn and a BBQ.  The parish priest, Margaretta, showed those visiting round the parish and Bishop Jane met some of the new recruits to the local barracks.  Then it was on further north to meet parish priest Kristina and her retired colleague Anders in Arjeplog with its pink church and the deepest lake in the Diocese.

It was back to Luleå on Saturday, and Bishop Jane preached in the Cathedral (in English), praying with the ordinands on the eve of their ordination.  The next day, she joined Bishop Åsa in laying hands on the four deacons and two priests: Anneka, Hannah, Kaisa, Konrad, Lela and Markus.  After the ordination, Bishop Åsa and Bishop Jane discussed the similarities and differences between our two dioceses. They both expressed their grief at the racial injustices inflicted on people of colour and (in Sweden) on the Sami people, and discussed how we are trying to enable a better future. 

Both Bishops have an earnest desire to share the gospel with young people and to support young Christians and Christian adults in the issues confronting them as Christians in today’s world.  Both Bishops committed to continued friendship and prayer for each other and our dioceses.