Posts Tagged ‘Ecumenical’

Archbishop of York leading teenagers on pilgrimage to Taizé

Posted on: July 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: July 19, 2017

Teenagers from five schools in northern England have set off on pilgrimage with the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, to Taize in France.  The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions.

Archbishop Sentamu said; “Taizé is an extraordinary place, a place of trust, joy, simplicity and compassion. My Young Leaders Award encourages people to look beyond themselves in the service of others. To be able to join with young people from more than 100 countries in sharing food together, worship and learning is a wonderful experience, and each time I have returned from Taize I have returned blessed, inspired and encouraged by others”.

Ao Y_Taize2

Dan Finn, the Director of Archbishop of York Youth Trust, said; “This is the second group of Young Leaders that have chosen to extend their learning of the Awards with a pilgrimage to Taizé.  There is something for everyone at Taizé, a chance to meet new friends, to join in and volunteer with others, to pray and to study in small groups. It is a place of incredible welcome which is something the Young Leaders will be exploring in depth as part of the structured workshops at Taizé on migration, asylum seekers and refugees”.

In addition to the normal youth meetings, this week at Taize there will also be special sessions on the theme of migration. Speakers include Archbishop Sentamu;  Father Michael Czerny – Migrants & Refugees Section at The Vatican; Catherine Wihtol de Wendenformer, Research Director at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS);  Pascal Brice, director of the French Office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons (OFPRA).

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Founded in 1940 by Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche (known as ‘Brother Roger’), the Taizé Community every year attracts over 100,000 young people from around the world.  Kay Brown, Chaplain at Abbey Grange Church of England Academy Leeds, said: “It is such an amazing opportunity to explore what faith means in an open and questioning environment, to experience and be involved in music in a new way and to meet so many new people from across Europe and beyond. I am sure everyone who goes will be challenged and inspired in equal measure and I look forward to seeing the growth in all of us through this week.”

During the week, regular updates from the Young Leaders will be added to here.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Wednesday 19th July, 2017

Archbishops call on Christians to repent of differences

Posted on: January 19th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: January 19, 2017

In October 2016, Pope Francis joined global Lutheran leaders at a joint ecumenical commemoration to mark the start of a year of events marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This week, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, called on Christians to repent of the divisions that keep churches apart.
Photo Credit: Gavin Drake

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have called on Christians to repent of the divisions between churches. In a joint statement issued to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the two primates of the Church of England, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, reflect on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. They say that while it directly contributed to “great blessings” felt by many Christians, it also caused “lasting damage . . . to the unity of the Church, in defiance of the clear command of Jesus Christ to unity in love.”

They say: “Those turbulent years saw Christian people pitted against each other, such that many suffered persecution and even death at the hands of others claiming to know the same Lord. A legacy of mistrust and competition would then accompany the astonishing global spread of Christianity in the centuries that followed.”

Archbishops Justin and John continue: “Remembering the Reformation should bring us back to what the Reformers wanted to put at the centre of every person’s life, which is a simple trust in Jesus Christ. This year is a time to renew our faith in Christ and in Him alone. With this confidence we shall then be ready to ask hard questions about those things in our lives and the life of our churches that get in the way of sharing and celebrating faith in Him.

“Remembering the Reformation should also lead us to repent of our part in perpetuating divisions. Such repentance needs to be linked to action aimed at reaching out to other churches and strengthening relationships with them. This anniversary year will provide many opportunities to do just that, beginning with this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“We therefore call on all Christians to seek to be renewed and united in the truth of the gospel of Christ through our participation in the Reformation anniversary, to repent of divisions, and, held together in Him, to be a blessing to the world in obedience to Jesus Christ.”

Last year, in a move that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago, Pope Francis took part in a joint service and celebration in Lund and Malmö, in Sweden, with leaders of the Lutheran communion of churches. That event kick-started a year of commemorations of the Reformation which will culminate in Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther nailed his 95-Theses on the door of Castle Church on 31 October 1517.

Ahead of the event in Sweden, a Church of England spokesman described the Reformation anniversary as “a landmark event with particular significance for many of our close friends, including the Evangelische Kirke Deutschland (Evangelical Church in Germany), Lutheran churches who are members with us of the Porvoo Communion of Churches and the Lutheran Council of Great Britain.”

The spokesman said: “We look forward to affirming our growing mutual understanding and cooperation together in God’s mission. It will also be an important opportunity to reflect on the continuing divisions between churches that are part of the legacy of the Reformation period, and to raise awareness of the vital place of religion in shaping the history of our nation.”

Last April, the Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Lusaka, encouraged Anglicans across the Communion to “be a part of the commemorations by joining in shared services, undertaking study with Lutherans and other ecumenical partners, and engaging with them in mission activities.” The ACC also recommended that Anglicans engage with the Lutheran World Federation’s focus: Liberated by God’s Grace.

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Anglican Communion News Service,  Daily update from the ACNS on Thursday 19 January 2017

Unity prayers to recall the Reformation and celebrate reconciliation

Posted on: January 14th, 2017 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: January 13, 2017

Martin Luther’s act of nailing his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg gave birth to the Reformation. In this 500th anniversary year, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will reflect on the Reformation and ongoing reconciliation.
Photo Credit: Workshop of Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 – 1553)

[WCC] The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated worldwide from 18-25 January, will be hosted this year by the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland / ACK). As 2017 marks the commemoration of the Reformation, the week of prayer will reflect on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ.

“For Christians in Germany and all over the world, the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) can be considered both a calling and an opportunity for reconciliation”, the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) director of Faith and Order, said, “a chance to break historical walls that separate churches and congregations from each other, during times that require healing and recovering hope”.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated worldwide, traditionally from 18-25 January in the northern hemisphere – between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul – or at Pentecost (a symbolic date for unity) in the global south. During the week, Christians come together, in special ecumenical celebrations and services, recalling Jesus’s prayer that “they may all be one so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) and experience in praxis unity in diversity.

This year one of the many ecumenical prayer services taking place worldwide for the Week of Prayer will be held in Wittenberg, Germany – a town with a history and heritage identified with Martin Luther and the Reformation. It was there that Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses denouncing church corruption to the side door of the Castle Church, which still stands not only as a place of worship but as a memorial of Reformation.

Emphasis on the international ecumenical character of the Reformation legacy – on the occasion of the 500th anniversary year – is at the core of ACK’s witness to the world through this year’s Week of Prayer. The material prepared has two focuses: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation and recognition of the pain of the subsequent deep divisions that afflicted the unity of the church.

Each year, a different national working group takes the initiative of proposing a theme and organising the week, coordinated by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which have jointly prepared and published the resources since 1968.

Mateus noted: “the need for a reconciliation that will break down barriers, build bridges and make peace has been the common request between the different German churches preparing the prayers this year, along with the recognition that amidst a deeply shifting and suffering world the healing immersion of prayer for unity can comfort the suffering in Christ, defeat terror and fear, and bring hope for the future.”

Resources:

  • Click here for more information on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from the World Council of Churches
  • Click here for Week of Prayer 2017 Worship and Background Material
  • Click here for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Facebook

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the  ACNS ommunion News Service on Friday 13 January 2017

Catholics and Lutherans commemorate the Reformation together

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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10,000 Lutherans and Catholics gather in Malmö Arena ahead of a joint ccommemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Photo Credit: Gavin Drake

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Commemorations of next year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation – which led to the separation of protestant churches from the Catholic Church – have begun with a combined prayer service in Lund Cathedral, Sweden, attended by Pope Francis and the Revd Dr Martin Junge, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. The participation of Pope Francis at the start of the year of commemorations is hugely significant and symbolises the growing ecumenical thaw which has been taking place over the past 50 years.

The prayer service is taking place in Lund Cathedral, which began life in 1080 as the seat of the Catholic archiepiscopal diocese of Lund; but since Danish Reformation in the 1520s and 1530s, has been a Lutheran cathedral. It became part of the Church of Sweden when the Province of Skåne (Scania) was ceded from Denmark to Sweden in 1658.

Through the Porvoo Communion, the Church of Sweden is in full communion with several Anglican churches, including the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Lusitanian Church of Portugal, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, and the Church in Wales. Elsewhere across the globe, other Anglican churches are in varying degrees of unity and communion with other Lutheran churches.

“We are on our way from conflict to communion,” Archbishop Antje Jackelén, leader of the Church of Sweden, said at a press conference, referencing the ground-breaking 2013 joint report between the two churches. “We are going to express our joy and gratitude for what we have in common: namely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ which unites us – that can be celebrated never enough.

“But there are also things that we definitely do not want to celebrate; but to repent and express our lament and sorrow; and that is, of course, the pain that division has caused throughout so many centuries.”

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Archbishop Antje Jackelén, leader of the Church of Sweden, and Bishop Anders Arborelius of the Catholic diocese of Stockholm, give a joint press conference on the eve of commemorations to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Photo: Gavin Drake

Bishop Anders Arborelius of the Catholic diocese of Stockholm – the only Catholic diocese in Sweden – said that the Catholic Church had “practically disappeared” in Sweden as a result of the Reformation. “The Catholic Church was banned for Centuries here in Sweden, but gradually the Church came back; and in so many ways we experienced the friendship, the help, the spiritual unity with so many Lutherans,” he said. One of many signs of “goodness and friendship” between the two churches was the use of more than 100 Lutheran church buildings for Catholic services, he said.

In his sermon at the joint prayer service in Lund Cathedral, Dr Junge spoke of the True Vine from John 15: 1-5. “For centuries, generation after generation, we have been reading this text that presents Jesus as the true vine,” he said. “However, rather than reading it as an encouragement to affirm our unity, we focused on the branches that, because they did not bear fruits, were removed from the vine.

“This is how we have seen one another: as branches separated from the true vine, Christ.

“But there were women and men who, in times when this joint commemoration was still unimaginable, already gathered together to pray for unity or to form ecumenical communities. . . I feel deep gratitude for those bold prophets. As they lived and witnessed together they began to see one another no longer as separated branches; but as branches united to Christ.”

In his sermon, Pope Francis said that the two churches “wish to manifest our shared desire to remain one with Christ, so that we may have life.” It was, he said, “a moment to thank God for the efforts of our many brothers and sisters from different ecclesial communities who refused to be resigned to division, but instead kept alive the hope of reconciliation among all who believe in the one Lord.

“As Catholics and Lutherans, we have undertaken a common journey of reconciliation. Now, in the context of the commemoration of the Reformation of 1517, we have a new opportunity to accept a common path, one that has taken shape over the past fifty years in the ecumenical dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church.”

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Pope Francis’ sermon at the joint commemoration of the Reformation in Lund Cathedral, Sweden, is broadcast live on television.
Photo: Gavin Drake

The Anglican Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, is present in Lund for the service, as is the Anglican Communion’s director of faith, unity and order, the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut – a veteran of many ecumenical dialogues. He described the Pope’s presence at the event as “extraordinary.”

“His presence is a result of many factors: the openness of the Catholic Church to the ecumenical movement since the Second Vatican Council, and the achievements of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic theological dialogue, including its historic 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” Dr Gibaut said.

“His presence also reflects the growing relationships between Lutheran and Roman Catholic clergy and people from around the world. This is the short-term view. From the long-term view of 50, 100, 200, or 500 years this is nothing short of miraculous, and a deeply healing miracle at that.

“Wherever and whenever the unity of the Church advances, it is a common joy shared by all. Anglicans rejoice with both our Lutheran and Roman Catholic ecumenical partners today.

“This ecumenical delight was expressed theologically at ACC-16 [the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in April] when the Council passed a resolution which ‘welcomes and affirms the substance of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.’”

More than 500 people were in Lund Cathedral for the service. The Pope, together with Lutheran and Catholic leaders, are now travelling to the nearby Malmö Arena where 10,000 people are will take part in a further joint commemoration.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 31 October 2016

Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI beat Pope Francis’ cricket team

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Posted on: September 14, 2016

Photo Credit: Gavin Drake

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The third annual cricket match between the Vatican’s St Peter’s Cricket Team and the Church of England’s Archbishop’s XI ended with victory for the Anglicans. Yesterday’s convincing win in the blistering heat of Kent County Cricket Club’s Spitfire Ground makes it 2-1 to the Church of England since the first match in 2014.

The Archbishop’s XI batted first and ended their 20 overs on 157 for four. In their reply, the Vatican side had reached 63 for four after 13 overs when Father Tony Currer, from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, was forced to retire with injury.

It was all over a short time later when the St Peter’s Cricket Team finished on 94 for seven – giving the Archbishop’s XI victory by 3 runs! “Justin Welby will be pleased!” a Tweet from the Anglican Centre in Rome said.

The two sides will meet again tomorrow at Edgbaston in Birmingham, where they will be joined by a Muslim side from Yorkshire – the Mount Cricket Club.

They will play a three-way T20 series, beginning at 10.30 am when the Archbishop’s XI once again take on St Peters. This will be followed by St Peter’s taking on the Mount; before the Mount takes on the Archbishop’s XI. The day is expected to end at around 7.30pm. Admission is free and a collection will be taken for anti-trafficking charities.

Today, representatives from the three sides will visit a C of E school in Birmingham where the majority of pupils are Muslims. It is intended to be a demonstration that friendships can transcend faith differences.

The matches have been sponsored by the Church Times and Ecclesiastical Insurance with the support of Kent, Warwickshire and Yorkshire County Cricket Clubs.

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Anglican Communion News Service, September 14, 2016

Christians unite in World Day of Prayer for Creation

Posted on: September 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Gavin Drake/ACNS on September, 02 2016

Christians around the globe are uniting in a World Day of Prayer for Creation September 1 – a move which was started by the spiritual leader of the Orthodox churches. The day of prayer – and the Season of Creation that runs from today to the Feast of St Francis of Assisi (4 October) – was launched by the Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios in 1989. Last year Pope Francis called on Catholics to join in; and the Anglican Consultative Council – while not specifying any particular period – has repeatedly called on Anglican Provinces to set aside a liturgical season of prayer for creation and the environment.

This year, many Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican organisations have joined together in what may the first significant cross-denominational movement of prayer on this scale. Together, they are encouraging the 2.2 billion Christians worldwide to pray and act on ecological issues over the next month. And they are promoting a new ecumenical resource website: seasonofcreation.org.

More than 200 special prayer services will take place today across the globe – including Vespers led by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican this evening. Leaders of other Christian denominations will be at the service, which will mark the formal launch of this year’s Season of Creation.

The message is spreading by social media. A Twitter “thunderclap” has a potential total reach in excess of 300,000; and a video of comments made by the Archbishop of Canterbury at this year’s Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka has been watched by more than 30,000 people on his Facebook page and the ACNS website.

“We urgently need to make changes,” Father Frédéric Fornos, the international director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, said. “All the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is involved in this World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, by prayer and action to preserve our ‘common home’ for future generations.”

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said: “As Christians, we have hope. We believe God does not abandon creation and that we ourselves can become beacons of that hope by sowing the seeds of a different future.

He called on Christians worldwide to pray together for “God’s beautiful work” and also to take practical action, by calling on governments to ratify the last year’s Paris agreement on climate change.

The US and China are expected to make a joint statement on climate change during the two-day G20 summit, which gets underway in the Zhejiang city of Hangzhou in China on Sunday.

“A season such as Advent or Lent or Easter looks at significant events in the life of Christ, different parts of Christ’s story . . . and creation factors into every one of those seasons,” the secretary of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN), the Very Revd Ken Gray, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, said.

“Essentially, since the late 1960s, there has not been a profound conversation or theological reflection on God as creator or God in creation in some way, apart from persons such as St Francis. So it’s time, and we’re trying to figure out a way to help folks focus on this particular aspect of God’s graciousness.”

“The global Catholic community joyfully joins Pope Francis and other Christian churches for this important celebration,” the global coordinator of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Tomás Insua, said. “The website has proven to be a wonderful tool for Christians worldwide to come together in prayer and action to address the severe ecological crisis of our time.”

ACEN is a leading member of the ecumenical group preparing resources for the World Day of Prayer and Season of Creation. The others are the World Council of Churches, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), the Global Catholic Climate Movement, ACT Alliance and GreenFaith.

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Anglican Journal News, September 02, 2016

Faith-based groups at UN Aids conference

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Revd Jackson Milton Cele, regional chair of the Southern KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council, joins other demonstrators marching through the streets of Durban, South Africa, on 18 July demanding better funding for HIV and Aids treatment around the world.
Photo Credit: Paul Jeffrey / WCC

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The United Nations’ 21st International Aids Conference got underway yesterday (Monday) as some 18,000 delegates from 183 countries gathered in Durban, South Africa. Before it began, faith-based groups from around the world held a pre-conference meeting to discuss their approach.

UNAids say that the conference “is set to emphasise the need to build partnerships, promote community mobilization to hold leaders accountable and ensure that HIV is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“In addition, the conference will, as always, provide a showcase for experts to present new research findings, scientific developments and best practices in programme implementation.”

In the final session of the faith-based pre-conference, the participants re-committed themselves to ending HIV and Aids, and to keeping up the pressure in the face of “Aids fatigue.”

“We have the science to end HIV in five years, but we don’t have the funding,” the UNAids’s senior advisor for faith-based organizations (FBOs), Sally Smith, told the meeting. “We need FBOs and their willingness to go the extra mile. You are called to finish the task that you started.”

Smith encouraged FBOs to re-evaluate their targets and adapt to the changing face of HIV around the world. “You need to look at what you are doing. The epidemic has shifted. Have you? We need new targets — doubling the numbers on treatment; accelerating the reach of testing and ending new infections in children.”

A joint session of interfaith and Catholic pre-conferences heard the stark message that children with HIV were being failed – “targets for childcare have been missed, medication is not suitable and we still need earlier infant diagnosis with half of infants infected dying within 24 months,” the World Council of Churches said.

The deputy executive director of UNAids, Dr Luiz Loures, explained that all the UN’s targets on HIV and Aids were aimed at 2020; but had been brought forward two years for children. “Children cannot wait,” he said. “HIV is coming back and it’s more selective. It increasingly follows areas of conflict, with rape used as a weapon of war.”

Faith-based organizations tested more than four million children last year – an achievement that was praised by Dr Deborah Birx, the US government’s Aids Ambassador. “When much is done, even more is expected,” she said. “We are now at a different place and the risks are more complex.

“Girls are at risk because one-third to one-half are not in school in many countries and their first sex is forced or coerced. We need to work within communities of faith to teach that children should be able to grow up without being raped.”

  • Additional reporting by the World Council of Churches. Click here to see their extensive coverage of faith-based issues and activities at Aids 2016.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the Anglican Communion News Service on Tuesday 19 July 2016

Anglican call for action at World Council of Churches

Posted on: June 22nd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Dr Agnes Abuom from the Anglican Church of Kenya is Moderator of the World Council of Churches
Photo Credit: WCC

[ACNS, by Adrian Butcher] The Anglican moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has called on the Church to move away from nostalgia and consider how to become catalysts of a moral force in a world beset by injustice, inequality and rising xenophobia.

Dr Agnes Abuom, from Nairobi in Kenya, told the WCC’s Central Committee in Norway that it was time to move from rhetoric to action and walk together with people who are denied justice.

“The witness of many in the forefront of struggles demand that we move away from the culture of conferences and statements and begin to get engaged in actions that nurture hope and alternatives,” she said.

“There is room in the gospel for disagreement but there is no room for disengagement,” Dr Abuom added. “Pilgrimage is about hope breaking into our present, motivating us to move forward, overcoming hurdles. . . We need to move from the nostalgia of the past, set aside our burdensome preoccupations and instruments that have outlived their purpose and venture into new and relevant areas of engagement.”

Dr Abuom praised the Church for engaging in the migration crisis in Europe. She said it was ironic that powerful nations and former colonial powers seem to be more affected by what she called the “fear of the other.”

“There doesn’t seem to be a place that is free of xenophobia and the consequential violence against minorities, migrants and refugees, many of whom are victims of war and poverty,” she said. “The images of rejection and mistreatment of millions fleeing from war and violence in recent times are still fresh in our minds. I commend the churches of Europe for their sensitive and generous response and their great witness, even if it meant facing the ire of their governments and the majority.”

Dr Abuom said the church had great responsibility and needed to be actively engaged in renouncing values and attitudes that glorified power. She said it had to denounce systems and cultures that diminished and denied life. The Church needed to be holding to account international financial institutions, military powers, industry and political systems – rather than opting to be their endorsing agents.

She said pilgrimage offered the Church immense possibilities to reimagine itself as a movement of God’s people in mission – open and agile and receptive to the promptings of the Spirit.

One hundred and fifty members of the WCC are attending the weeklong conference in Trondheim under the theme of Pilgrimage. Issues under discussion include justice and peace, the Middle East, religion and violence, and children’s rights.

  • Click here to read the full text of Dr Abuom’s address (pdf)

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Wednesday 22 June 2016

The Anglican Communion’s spymaster general

Posted on: June 15th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Anglican Communion’s spymaster general? Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, reads a lesson during a special service of choral evensong at Westminster Abbey, marking the centre’s 50th anniversary.
Photo Credit: The Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders were joined by senior figures from other Christian denominations last night at a special choral evensong in Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders were present at the service, which was sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir. In his sermon, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the work of the Centre, and its director, Archbishop David Moxon, joking that the centre was seen by some as the Anglican Communion’s spy station in Rome.

“Those are the first time I heard those words this evening,” Archbishop David told ACNS afterwards, “but I think in terms of intelligent reporting, in terms of a careful look at each other, in terms of good communication and awareness of each other, it is a humorous and anecdotal description which I enjoy.”

The service, he said, summed up “50 years of faith, hope and love”, and he added: “The Anglican Centre is a bit like a fiddler on the roof: it needs funding every year, it can’t guarantee its existence, but it tries to play a tune of faith, hope, love; to try to suggest that what unites us is greater than what divides us. That’s the point.

“And we stand on that roof, playing that tune, saying to people ‘look up! The Holy Spirit is trying to build bridges all the time.’ We are part of that process, part of that energy,” he said, adding that God gives the courage and hope needed to build bridges between the denominations.

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Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church leaders at a service of choral evensong at Westminster Abbey marking the 50th anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. .
Photo: The Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey

“Sometimes people get a little cynical about ecumenism. Sometimes they wonder what the point is,” he said. “But living and working in Rome you can see the point. And now, especially, with this Pontificate – with Pope Francis and with Archbishop Justin – there is all kinds of evidence that it is worth it.

“The Pope and Archbishop Justin are saying Let’s behave as if we are one where we can, even though we haven’t agreed on everything. And in some cases the differences seem quite significant, but let’s behave as if we are one for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for justice and peace.”

He said that collaborative work on issues of justice, people trafficking, refugees and city missions were “all ways in which the world needs our solidarity, our co-operation [and] our partnership.”

This was, he said, a new kind of ecumenism which was driven by mission. “Rather than just trying to close the dogmatic gaps – which are important to close – these two [Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin] are saying let’s generate a sense of communion now, where we can, on the ground.

“The more you walk together the better you talk together. A lot of people think you can only walk together once you have talked together enough. I think it is often the other way around.”

Last night’s service was one of a number being held this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the centre. In October, a €500-per-head (approximately £395 GBP) two-day gala meeting will be held at the centre. The proceeds will be used to create an endowment fund to secure the continued presence of the Anglican Communion’s permanent representation to the Holy See.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Wednesday 15 June 2016

Becket’s bones return to Canterbury Cathedral

Posted on: May 26th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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This relic of St Thomas Becket is touring south-east England this week from its home in Esztergom, Hungary, and will be at Canterbury Cathedral next weekend.
Photo Credit: Hungarian Government

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The bones of Thomas Becket, the 12th Century Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered at the behest of King Henry II, are to return to the cathedral where he was killed and buried at the conclusion of a pilgrimage tour through south east England from their home in Hungary. The arrival of the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday will be the culmination of Becket Week – an ecumenical series of events organised by the Hungarian government.

Becket hadn’t been ordained by the time he was appointed to the see of Canterbury. He was ordained a priest on 2 June 1162 and consecrated as a bishop the following day to enable him to take on the role as Archbishop of Canterbury. But the King’s man became the Church’s man and as the new Archbishop continued to assert the Church’s independent authority; the King became increasingly frustrated; leading to Becket’s temporary exile in France; before Pope Alexander III secured his right to return.

But months later, four knights interpreted the King’s purported exclamation – “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” – as a request for Becket to be killed; and they set off to Canterbury where they attacked him with swords in the cathedral itself. He died on the spot. His remains were venerated and the number of visitors to the cathedral led to his remains being reburied in an elaborate shrine. At the time of the reburial, small sections of bone were removed and taken to different churches as relics – and it is believed by many that this is how a section of his elbow came to be venerated at Esztergom, at a church which already bore his name.

Saint Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII as part of the dissolution of the monasteries and his remaining bones crushed.

That relic from Esztergom has today joined relics from St Magnus the Martyr and St Thomas of Canterbury churches in London, St Thomas Church in Canterbury, and Stonyhurst Jesuit estate in Lancashire, at Westminster Cathedral – the leading Roman Catholic Church in London – for what has been termed Becket Week.

The relics arrived at the cathedral at 4 pm this afternoon. A special service of vespers is getting underway at 5 pm ahead of a solemn mass celebrated by Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom, Budapest, in the presence of the Hungarian President János Áder, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

The relics will remain at Westminster Cathedral until tomorrow evening when they will be taken to Westminster Abbey – the Queen’s church in London – ahead of a solemn evensong sung jointly by the Cathedral and Abbey Choirs. President Áder will once again be present.

The bones will then be on display for most of the week at St Margaret’s Church – the parish church of the Houses of Parliament, adjacent to Westminster Abbey and a range of services and special events will take place. On Friday they will be taken to Rochester in Kent, ahead of a service attended by Bishop László Kiss-Rigó of Szeged-Csanád; the Mayor of Esztergom, , Etelka Romanek; and the Hungarian foreign minister István Mikola.

On Saturday, pilgrims will assemble at St Michael’s Church in Harbledown, just outside Canterbury, ahead of a walk to Canterbury Cathedral where a special “welcome service” will be held in the presence of religious and civil leaders.

And on Sunday afternoon, Becket Week will conclude with a Catholic Mass in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral and an open air concern in the cathedral precincts.

The site of Becket’s martyrdom continues to draw pilgrims and is where, in 1982, Pope John Paul II and Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie knelt and prayed together during the first visit of a Pope to the United Kingdom.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 23 May 2016