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Visit to Lahore to mark Bishop Irfan's retirement

First published on: 21st June 2022

Group in Lahore

This month, a group from Manchester visited Pakistan to celebrate the ministry and impending retirement of Bishop Irfan Jamil, the ninth Bishop of Lahore. The group was led by Bishop Mark Ashcroft, and included Revd Paul Jump, Revd Canon Dr Phil Rawlings, Revds Katie & George Reeves, and Emily Hilton from St Clements Higher Openshaw. 

The Diocese of Manchester has had a link to the Diocese of Lahore, Church of Pakistan, for over 25 years. The link has flourished with visits to each diocese, together with an active linking of schools. Although our needs are different, the link benefits people and communities on both sides as they share and learn from one another.

On arrival in Pakistan the group headed for Murree, in the north of the diocese, to attend a diocesan conference with the theme of 'Changing World, Unchanging Word'. The Manchester team were involved in leading sessions for the clergy and lay attendees, sharing experiences and encouraging them in their ministries in Pakistan. In tune with the upcoming Lambeth Conference, Bishop Irfan also led a daily Bible study on 1 Peter.

While in Murree, the group attended the dedication of the third phase of the rebuild St Denys school following a devastating fire in 2009, The school is linked with Bury CE High School and has been gradually restored.

Unveiling of plaque in St Denys SchoolThe team also took part in an ordination service at Holy Trinity church in Murree. In the 160-year history of this church, this was the first ordination service. Dave, Mary, Reuben and Dora Mackie were previous members of St Clements, Higher Openshaw, and Dave was one of the candidates ordained deacon in Murree.

Next the team spent time in Lahore, where they preached in various churches in the city. Bishop Mark also helped lead a confirmation service at Lahore Cathedral. During the following week, the team led sessions for Sunday School leaders and school Scripture teachers, and a clergy retreat day. They also attended a diocesan retirement ceremony attended by 400 people from across the diocese.

Manchester Diocese presented the Bishop of Lahore with a framed print of Old Trafford cricket ground as a retirement present, knowing that he is a keen cricket supporter.

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