Bradford Cathedral is set to host an event delving into the intricate interplay between faith, politics, and ideology on Saturday, 28th October 2023, at 3:30 pm.

This occasion is timed to commemorate 90 years since German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s visit to Bradford, during which he delivered what would later become known as the Bradford Declaration. In it, he vehemently opposed the Nazification of the Church, openly defying the Nazi government. This act ultimately led to his execution in April 1945.

This event is a part of the Diocese of Leeds’ warm reception of German counterparts from our twin city of Erfurt. The Erfurt-Leeds/Bradford partnership was established under the Meissen Commission, and aimed at fortifying ties between the English and German churches. It has been active since 1997.

The afternoon will commence with a special Choral Evensong, featuring Three Prayers by Dietrich Bonhoeffer set to music by Yorkshire composer Philip Moore. Following the service, there will be lectures by the Rev. Dr. Noel Irwin, Dr. Matthias Rein, and the Rt Rev. Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds.

Refreshments will be served from 3 pm, prior to the event.

The Revd Dr. Noel Irwin is a Methodist Minister who instructs on community development and organisation, political and public theology. His interests encompass liberation and process theology, as well as the dynamics between religion, politics, and violence.

Dr. Matthias Rein was born in 1964. After completing national military service as a construction soldier, he pursued Theology studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, earning his diploma from 1985-90, followed by doctoral research culminating in 1994. From 1993-5, he underwent his Vicariate (training for Ordination as a priest) at Luther Parish Halle and was ordained in 1995. Dr. Rein is married to Dr. Susanne Ehrhardt-Rein, and they have three adult sons.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, possesses a long-standing interest in politics and Germany. He studied French and German at the University of Bradford and briefly worked in Germany as a translator. Later, he served as the English Co-chair of the Meissen Commission (which fosters relationships between the Church of England and the Protestant Church in Germany) for 11 years. Additionally, he regularly delivers sermons in churches and at conferences in Germany – in German.

The Rt Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, says; “I am looking forward to welcoming our partners from Erfurt for a series of events and services. As the life and death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer exemplifies, politics and religion are inextricably linked. Bonhoeffer’s challenges to the church, though from a different era, still speak loudly today.”

The Revd Ned Lunn, Canon for Intercultural Mission and the Arts, says; “Bradford’s connections with Germany are deep and historic. The city welcomed German merchants here in the 19th century and the Cathedral’s parish still covers the area of the city named ‘Little Germany’ where those merchants built their businesses and contributed to the prosperity of this district. The coinciding of our link city of Erfurt’s visit with the anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s visit here is a great opportunity to reflect on what we can all learn about the role of faith in politics in the past, present and future.

Bradford Cathedral aspires to be a place where challenging issues facing the world can be discussed and debated openly and safely. This event fulfils that brief in the context of worship that is known for its beauty and diversity: grounded in the English choral tradition whilst also reflecting our city’s many cultures and ethnicities within our community life. We look forward to welcoming our guest speakers and anyone who would like to join us for this thought-provoking event.”

The Bradford Cathedral education department has also compiled educational resources for schools about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, available for download from the Cathedral website at

For additional details and to reserve your complimentary place, please visit