THE next Bishop of Colombo, in the Church of Ceylon, is to be the Revd Dushantha Rodrigo, the Archbishop of Canterbury has announced. The Archbishop said, however, that making the appointment involved “too many reminders of a colonial past”, and that the Church should seek to become an independent Province.
He was asked to make the appointment after the diocesan council failed to reach a conclusive decision this summer (News, 25 September). The Church of Ceylon consists of two extra-provincial dioceses, the other being Kurunegala, under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In his announcement last week, Archbishop Welby said: “I should say that, although I regard it as a privilege to have been entrusted with this important function in the life of the Church of Ceylon, as its ‘Metropolitan’, it is not a role I have sought, or feel comfortable having to exercise. In my view, it carries too many reminders of a colonial past. I have therefore sought and obtained from Fr Dushantha his assurance that he will give urgent priority to enabling the Church of Ceylon to take its proper place as a fully independent Province in the life of the wider Anglican Communion.”
Fr Rodrigo is the Vicar of St Paul’s, Kynsey Road, Colombo. After his appointment was announced, he said: “The Church of Ceylon diocese of Colombo, in all its richness and vibrant faith, is called upon to witness, as it has done through the past 175 years, as a community that will strive to be obedient to the gospel in its walk of faith and service in the days to come.
“As we look to the next decade in the midst of new realities, our lives must reflect what God is doing in our midst at this point of time. To a God who has been gracious and merciful we need to sing an unending hymn of praise, and extend to one another a magnanimous gesture of kindness that will carry us through to be faithful in the midst of many a challenge.”
“Our people, who are so diverse, live side by side and strive to bring meaning to every moment, and we are truly blessed to be part of that life-giving diversity.”