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African bishop is special guest at Wymondham Abbey

Bishop Cyril shares a joke with Rev Catherine Pennington and Canon Christopher Davies.

Bishop Cyril shares a joke with Rev Catherine Pennington and Canon Christopher Davies.

Archant

It is not every week that an African bishop drops in to preach in a Norfolk parish.

However on Sunday, congregations at Wymondham Abbey had a surprise when Bishop Cyril Ben-Smith, from the new Diocese of Mampong in Eastern Ghana, called in.

The Bishop spoke at both the 9.15am informal Service and the 10.30am Sung Eucharist.

He was in England for an Anglican bishops’ conference in Birmigham, meaning he was left with a few days to fill.

“I nearly didn’t come,” he admitted.

“The Archbishop of New York also invited me but it seemed a long way to go for a weekend!”

The choice of Wymondham was, of course, no accident, a spokesman for the Abbey said.

The Abbey developed links with Ghana some years ago, which have recently been revived.

The Vicar of Wymondham, Canon Christopher Davies, visited Mampong Diocese after Easter to assist with clergy training and the parish is committed to giving financial and practical support to development projects in this remote and very poor region of the country.

During his sermon, Bishop Cyril reminded people of how in his country the church is often the principal provider or education and health care. One of his diocese’s priorities is providing clean water to villages.

During the service, Wymondham Mothers’ Union presented the Bishop with gifts to enable the formation of a new MU branch in Mampong.

They are holding a fund-raising garden party at 87 Norwich Road, Wymondham, from 2pm to 4pm on Saturday, June 21.

Are you welcoming a special visitor? Email dma.news@archant.co.uk

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