The Bishop of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales Visits St. John’s
The Bishop of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, the Right Reverend Nicholas "Nick" Baines (please look at last page for a brief biography), his wife Mrs. Linda Baines, the Bishop of Colombo, the Right Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, his wife Mrs. Harshini Canagasabey and the Archdeacon of Jaffna and Manager of our College the Rev. S.J.Jeyaveerasingan visited St. John’s College on 21.10.2015.
They were given a red carpet reception at the gates of the College and were escorted to the Peto Memorial Hall by the College Band.
After the Principal gave a brief introduction of the special invitees, he said:
• The special assembly was convened in their honour.
• The College has had close links with UK since its establishment 192 years ago.
• The visit of the Bishop will pave the way for more understanding between the dioceses.
• He valued the guidance and counsel of the Head of St. John’s College, the Bishop of Colombo, the Right Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey.
• He valued the support of the Honourable Archdeacon who was a source of strengths during all ups and downs.
• Volunteers from UK and other countries are welcome to St. John’s to share their time and talent with the students and teachers of the College.
Next, the Bishop of Colombo addressed the gathering. He talked about the special invitees in depth and about the nature of their work. He said that he had extended an invitation to the Bishop of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales to visit Sri Lanka the very day he was enthroned. He briefly touched upon the 30 year war, child victimization and the way forward through the process of peace and reconciliation.
The Right Reverend Nicholas Baines was invited on stage to share a few words. He said:
• If at all he felt tired, it was because of the heat.
• It was a great privilege to be at St. John’s.
• The diocese replaced the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield. Almost 500 clergy, 656 churches and 256 Church of England schools came under the new diocese.
• His calling was to help the people of England.
• He wants to see people rooted in Jesus Christ and having a living relationship with Him.
• Called upon everyone to see with their eyes, listen with their ears and understand in their spirit.
• Promised to take back the stories of the land and about the faithfulness of the people to the gospel to where he came from.
• He was honoured that the Bishop had invited him.
Next, Mrs. Linda Baines was invited on stage to distribute the prizes that students have won over the week.
Students who won places in the Air Rifle Shooting Competition and Eastern Musical Competition were lucky to get their certificates from the hands of the wife of the Bishop of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales, the first bishop of what is the largest Church of England diocese. It needs to be mentioned that students from St. John’s had taken part in the Air Rifle Shooting Competition for the first time this year – and one of them, S.Sinthujan became First in the Northern Province.
Next was the Vote of Thanks by the Senior Prefect, Julius Charoon. He thanked everyone present, especially the Right Revd. Nick Baines and Mrs. Baines for crossing oceans and continents and travelling the congested roads from Colombo to Jaffna to be at St. John’s College.
Following the Vote of Thanks was the closing prayer by the Archdeacon. He said, ‘Father who has the heart of a mother, we thank you for the pilgrimage of life. We thank Thee for this historical moment – for strengthening the links between the dioceses.
The function ended with the Right Revd. Dhiloraj Canagasabey prayer for blessings.
After the function, the entourage headed towards the Technological Faculty where both the Right Reverend Nicholas Baines and his wife Mrs. Linda Baines planted saplings to mark their historic visit to the College.
The Rt. Revd Nicholas "Nick" Baines
The Rt. Revd Nicholas "Nick" Baines is a British Anglican bishop who is a well-known communicator of the Gospel.
He became Archdeacon of Lambeth in 2000, Bishop of Croydon (in the Diocese of Southwark) in 2003 and Bishop of Bradford in April 2011. He was the Bishop of Bradford, the diocesan bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Bradford until 2014. Since 8 June 2014, he has been the Bishop of Leeds overseeing the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales. The diocese replaces the dioceses of Bradford, Ripon and Leeds, and Wakefield. The new diocese covers five church areas - Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Ripon and Wakefield and is home to three cathedrals - in Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield. There are almost 500 clergy, 656 churches and 256 Church of England schools coming under the new diocese which covers 2,425 square miles (6280 sq km) and serves a population of 2,614,00, according to the Church of England.
Bishop Nick Baines, the first bishop of what is the largest Church of England diocese is also the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative on the Board of the Centre for Inter-Religious Dialogue in Vienna and represents the Archbishop at the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions which meets in Kazakhstan. Since 2007 he has been Co-Chair of the Meissen Commission.
Of his recent visit to Sri Lanka, he has this to say: ‘I am only a few days into this visit – and have an explosion of images, sounds and stories in my mind – and will continue to think around it all. Today's judgments might well be challenged by tomorrow's experience or the weekend's encounters. So, I continue to listen and look and learn.’