The Derbyshire Churches in Partnership with The Church of North India

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Our Partnership with the Diocese of Durgapur.

I left India four years ago, assuming that I would never return. I had spent two months looking at many of the Synodical Board of Social Service projects, and it was then that I met Probal Kanto Dutta. We struck up a friendship which lead to the suggestion of a partnership between his new diocese and my team of churches in England. Since then we have played host to two groups of people from the Diocese of Durgapur.

At the beginning of February, it was our turn to visit India, and I was joined by a member of one of my congregations, Mrs Alison Richards from Wirksworth. We spent two wonderful weeks in the diocese, visiting those projects in which we have had a particular interest. We were delighted to see the work of the Child Development Centres at Mankar and Serenga, and were especially pleased to see how quickly the new centre at Shanti Griha had grown. Now that the new building is complete, we know that even more children will benefit from the dedication of its staff.

It was also good to be greeted by old friends. Danny Thomas and John Gosh, the principals of St Peter’s and St Michael’s Schools respectively. They were kind enough to show us around their schools and to provide wonderful hospitality both for us and the other foreign guests who were staying at the time. Alison and I were amazed at the artistic ability of both sets of pupils, who sang and danced for our entertainment at the cultural programmes to which we were invited.

Perhaps the highlight of our visit, for me at least, was the Annual Thanksgiving Service on February 18th. In nearly twenty five years of ministry, I had never experienced anything quite like it! For us in England, it is so unusual to be “danced” into church. I count it as an enormous privilege that Bishop Probal had invited me to take part as the celebrant. Along with Elizabeth Welch, the URC Moderator from the West Midlands here in the UK, we stood together; a visible reminder of the international nature of our Christian faith.

When the time came for us to leave, both Alison and I felt that we had made new friends and renewed old friendships. Now when I pray, as I often do, for the work of the Diocese of Durgapur, I will put faces to names and memories to places.
Thank you to all who made our time so memorable.

Revd Canon David Truby, Wirksworth Team Ministry