Two bishops from Hastings in Sierra Leone paid a visit to their Sussex twin town last week.
Kevin Boorman, Marketing and Projects Manager for Hastings Borough Council, explained: “Knowing of the impact of our twinning activities with our namesake town of Hastings in Sierra Leone the bishops of the two Anglican Dioceses in the west African country particularly asked to visit Hastings, Sussex, whilst they were in the country as guests of churches in the UK.”
The Rt. Revd Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Freetown, whose diocese covers Hastings, Sierra Leone, and the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Tucker, Bishop of Bo met the Mayor and members of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link in the Mayor’s Parlour at Hastings town hall on Tuesday (February 9th ).
The Bishops were breaking their journey from Canterbury, where they have been on a course, to Chichester by calling in at Hastings. Chichester Diocese is closely linked to the Anglican churches in Sierra Leone and West Africa generally.
“These partnerships are tremendously valuable as our communities learn about each other’ said Bishop Tucker. Bishop Wilson particularly emphasised the importance of our partnerships in health and education as keys to sustainable futures for the next generation.
The two bishops spent time with the staff and pupils of Christ Church CofE Primary School in St Leonards. Christ Church is one of 11 local schools that have been partnered with schools in the Hastings area of Sierra Leone since 2010.
At Christ Church School the visitors met members of staff who had been to Sierra Leone on the Link’s teacher exchange programme. They also met members of the International Pupil Council which involves pupils in learning about growing up in other cultures and circumstances.
Roger Mitchell, of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, said: “The Bishops’ visit represented a unique opportunity for them to share something of the rich and diverse contexts from which they come and within which they seek to serve God and neighbour.
“The recent Ebola epidemic has left a deep mark on our guests at the personal level and upon the church communities they serve and lead. We have much to learn from our guests but also much to offer them from our own context. Four members of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link will shortly be flying out to visit our partner community during the second half of February.”
Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling said: “We are very proud of our link with Hastings Sierra Leone, and visits like this help cement our friendship.”
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