St Wilfrid’s Anglican Church, Mt Duneed, represents the furthest afield of our known St Wilfrid’s churches. We were delighted to receive the following letter from Victoria, Australia:
Earlier this year Valda Connelly from the congregation at St Wilfrid’s Church Mount Duneed wrote to you expressing our fellowship with you as you celebrate the founding of Ripon Cathedral by St Wilfrid 1350 years ago.
A few words to introduce myself. Until 2019 I was the Bishop of Bathurst and on retiring my wife and I have moved more than 500 miles south to live near family in Mount Duneed which is part of Greater Geelong and close to the glorious beaches around Torquay in the southernmost parts of the State of Victoria, Australia. I worship at St Wilfrid’s, in the Diocese of Melbourne, from time-to-time presiding and preaching at St Wilfrid’s and the other church in the Parish dedicated to St Cuthbert. For many years in the 1970s & 80s I studied in Durham and served as a priest in that Diocese, so both Wilfrid and Cuthbert are part of my spiritual heritage.
As your brochure for the celebrations recognises, Wilfrid was a priest and bishop who lived a holy life but frequently found himself at the centre of controversy. However, the Church of England is in his debt. His vision at the Council of Whitby to align the church in Northumbria with Roman practice formed the foundation for the parish system which for 1300 years has been the centre of life, community, witness and worship in England. The charismatic leaders of the Celtic Church will always excite our imagination and veneration, but the structure brought by Wilfrid has held the Church together with faith and hope through many turbulent epochs.
The purpose of this letter is to send greetings to you, the Cathedral Chapter, worshippers at Ripon Cathedral and all those celebrating the consecration of the Cathedral in 672AD this weekend and in the coming months. We pray that you will be inspired by St Wilfrid’s memory and all that we can continue to learn from his bold missionary endeavours.
I am sure that many of us will enjoy the livestream of your Festival Eucharist on Sunday and in that way, from the other side of the world share in your worship and celebration.
With our continuing prayers and good wishes.
On behalf of your sisters and brothers in Christ in St Wilfrid’s Mount Duneed.
Grace and peace, +Ian