Friends of the Diocese of Iran Conference - September 2016
The 1998 Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops was attended by Bishop Iraj Muttahedeh and his wife, Minoo, on only the second visit they had been able to make to Britain since the revolution. So the Friends of the Diocese of Iran (a group originally formed in the 1920s to support Bishipministry of the diocese) seized the opportunity to meet with him at a residential conference. The aim was to gather together those who had worked and worshipped in Iran to hear news, share experience, information and prayer. The conferences have continued although the content, shape and attendance has changed with the years. This year 45 attended, including a good number of Iranian Christians. Prayer was offered for the four small congregations in Iran itself, but news of what was happening to other Churches in Iran and among the growing community of Iranian Christians scattered across the world was also shared. At this September’s Conference, along with news of the four Episcopal congregations there were reports from the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches in Iran, which now only have small congregations worshipping in Armenian and Assyrian (the languages of the recognised ethnic Christian communities) and no longer have their former social outreach institutions. The Revd Bassi Mirzania, who has pioneered ministry among Iranians in Britain, spoke of developments in her work of advising the growing number of clergy and churches who had been approached by Iranians. A major session was given over to hearing about ministerial formation for Iranian Christians across the world. The conference concluded with a Communion service in Persian and English at which Bishop Iraj (now an Assistant Bishop in Lichfield and Birmingham Dioceses) presided. A significant feature of the Conferences is that the Religious Communities of the Church of England are asked to remember the Conference in their daily cycle of prayer over that weekend.