In September Bishops John and Paul visited India. They began their time there at the 9th World Syriac Conference at the St Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI) in Kottayam, Kerala, where Bishop John presented a paper. While there they met up with the Most Revd Cyril Mar Basilios, Metropolitan of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, who had been one of the bishops who ordained them in 2006.
On 10th September the bishops travelled to Chennai in Tamil Nadu to meet with over 400 bishops, clergy and laity of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches in India. Two days of intensive talks followed, with a commitment to explore how to give expression to a deepening relationship.
Bishop Paul then returned to the UK while Bishop John travelled back to Kottayam for the concluding sessions of the Syriac Conference. He and the Revd Rob Desics of the Church of England then travelled north to Thozhiyur to spend nearly a week with the clergy and people of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church. Here they met people who had suffered in the recent devastating floods that had swept Kerala, including one of the presbyters whose seminary fees the FCE had helped to pay. The also visited the MISC’s four schools and discussed ways of helping them maintain their Christian witness.
The last item on their programme was evening prayers at St George’s Cathedral, Thozhiyur, with Mar Basilios, who had just returned from a visit to the United States.