Bishop Drennan in India “not as a traveller but as a volunteer and friend”


For over 25 years the bishop of Palmerston North, Charles Drennan, has volunteered for a month at the Raphael Ryder Cheshire Centre in Dehra Dun, India where he works with tuberculosis patients, special needs adults and children whose parents had leprosy.

Drennan left for his most recent visit at the beginning of November.

“Sometimes I’m asked why do you return to the same place in India? (The implication being, isn’t that a bit boring!?)

I’m here not as a traveller but as a volunteer and friend. So it works well.

Far from boring or repetitive, I get involved with people and their trials quickly because I’m known.

Trust and friendship across cultures and social strata take time to build. But the fruits are great.

My base is a place called Raphael where I have been visiting and volunteering for 28 years.

It’s a diverse community: some with leprosy, special needs children and adults, and it has a small TB hospital too,” he said.

“From there I venture out and get involved with other projects too. Most people there are Hindu with a few Muslims and Christians.

“It is also the place where, during my first OE, I decided to give the seminary a try upon return to NZ.”

Drennan said that even after all these years he loves now being able to arrive in a completely different world, with rhythms so different from his usual daily pattern, yet feel totally at home.

It is, he says, a privilege and a gift.

  • Read more on the Palmerston North Diocese’s website
  • Visit Bishop Bishop Drennan’s FaceBook page


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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