Posts Tagged ‘Pilgrimage’

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

Anglican Centre for Camino pilgrims to include chapel, guest rooms

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

Possible site for a planned $5 million Anglican Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Photo: Contributed


The main purpose of the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain’s Anglican Centre planned for Santiago de Compostela is to give Anglicans and other pilgrims an opportunity to actually receive communion when they finish their pilgrimage, says the Rev. Spencer Reece, an Episcopal priest and national secretary to the bishop of Spain.

“A lot of people pulling into Santiago at the end of being on the Camino for months go immediately into a Catholic church where they swing the big incense and they have this wonderful experience, but if they are Anglican…they are not allowed to receive communion and they are not allowed to participate in the service—at all,” he says. “So we would like to change that.”

Helping raise funds for the centre is Trinity Church Wall Street, New York City, a member of The Episcopal Church.

The centre, Reece says, would be located in an existing building that would be renovated for the purpose. It would include worship space as well as perhaps 60 rooms for guests and a coffee bar. The funds the church is trying to raise, he says, would pay for the renovation and also provide an endowment to pay for the centre’s ongoing expenses.

Cooke, however, says he’s puzzled by the plan.

“One of the fascinating things about the Camino is, it’s actually one of the few authentically ecumenical places I’ve seen,” he says. Roman Catholic priests are generous and welcoming to Camino pilgrims regardless of their religion, he says, and several parishes along the route are served by English-speaking priests. It’s common to see people of all religious inclination, even those who say they don’t go to church, taking a few moments of silence at churches along the way, he says. There’s also already a welcome centre for Protestant and other pilgrims at Santiago de Compostela, he says, and the cathedral has offered a chapel for use by Anglican pilgrim groups.

 

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, January 19, 2017

Pack light, and be open to the road: Lessons from a medieval pilgrimage route

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

Austin Cooke, who has walked the Camino de Santiago nine times, is a self-described “Caminoholic.” Photo: Contributed


Austin Cooke, a parishioner at St. Barnabas’s Anglican Church in Ottawa, would be the first to admit he’s unusually enthusiastic about the Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James, the network of pilgrimage routes to the saint’s legendary burial spot in northeast Spain.

“I’m one of the ‘Caminoholics’—I’m one of these total nuts,” he says earnestly.

Over the past 14 years, Cooke has walked the Way nine times; from 2007 to 2015, he served as president of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims, an association for Canadians undertaking the pilgrimage. He confesses to finding it hard to stop talking about the Camino once he’s started.

Ask him to say exactly what it is about it that attracts him, however, and you might find Cooke suddenly at a loss for words.

“I hate to tell you this: I like it,” he says. “I can work out a rationale if you want, but really, I just like it.

“Try it,” he adds, in a slightly hushed tone. “You’ll know what I mean.”

While Cooke’s level of enthusiasm for the Camino seems exceptional, it also seems undeniable that the pilgrimage route, with its origins in the Middle Ages, is gaining mounting popularity, not only with Roman Catholics but with spiritual seekers of all kinds—including Anglicans.

Last summer, the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, a member of the Anglican Communion, announced plans for a $5 million Anglican Centre at the end of the route, Santiago de Compostela, where, according to legend, the remains of St. James were buried after being brought by sea from Jerusalem.

Then, in November, the church dedicated its cathedral in Madrid as another pilgrim welcome centre, despite its location off the Camino Frances, the most popular route, which stretches 780 km across northern Spain, from a starting point in southwest France.

In a statement prepared for this event, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby hailed the church’s plan for the centre in Santiago de Compostela.

“In recent decades the Camino of St. James in Spain has grown in popularity but until now, the Anglican church has not been able to welcome its pilgrims,” Welby said. “The Anglican Centre in Santiago will bring people together, welcoming all for a common good.”

Among Canadians, some of the Camino’s most ardent enthusiasts are Anglicans. The Canadian Company of Pilgrims was founded by an Anglican priest, the Rev. Ben Lochridge, and at least one book on the Camino (What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on Spain’s Camino de Santiago de Compostela) was written by a Canadian Anglican, Jane Christmas. Former bishop of Edmonton and suffragan bishop of Toronto Victoria Matthews (now bishop of Christchurch in New Zealand) has done parts of the Camino nine times.

Cooke estimates about a fifth of Canadians on the route each year are Anglicans. In 2015, 4,201 Canadians completed the Camino, according to statistics  published by the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Cooke says he’s not alone in having difficulty explaining the appeal of the Way. In former times, pilgrims wended their way to Santiago de Compostela from every corner of Western Europe, drawn by a desire to venerate the saint’s reputed remains and also to atone for their sins. But many of today’s pilgrims, Cooke says, undertake the Camino when confronted with an important life challenge or transition. Many also seem drawn to the route by some sort of mysterious impulse.

“I would say a good chunk of pilgrims have no idea why they’re doing it,” he says.

Part of the problem, he thinks, is that the experience defies easy categorization.

“Try to define what it is and you’re wrong,” he says. “Is it religious? Yes and no. Is it spiritual? Yes and no. Is it physical exercise? Is it a cultural expedition? It’s all of these things, but it isn’t.”


Sign marks the way to Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. Photo: Gena Melendrez/Shutterstock


The Camino, Cooke says, is full of contradictions. Part of its appeal is solitude and silence, the spending of hours doing nothing but putting one foot in front of the other. Another part is companionship and conversation; people on the Way often form “families” of pilgrims who walk together and look out for each other, Cooke says. Often, they’re also unusually inclined to open up about their lives.“You know when you’re on a long-distance bus, and you’re sitting beside somebody and you get their life story, and you get the sensation they’ve never told anyone else? Yeah, it’s like that—all the time,” he says.

Some of the more remarkable people he’s met along the Camino: an 82-year-old German man who had set out all the way from Hamburg, after his wife of 65 years had died; another young woman, also German, walking the route with her father, whom she had not seen since she was three months old.

Currently, Cooke adds, a group of Canadian war veterans  struggling with post-traumatic stress plan to walk the Camino together next year.

Many of those who have completed the route say the experience has transformed them, not always in strictly religious ways. Wendy Loly, current president of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims, and not a churchgoer, says she started the route as a walker and ended as a pilgrim. Part of this transformation, she says, had to do with the openness people on the route typically show to one another. But the Camino also, say Loly and Cooke, has a way of presenting wayfarers with odd coincidences or “synchronicities” that seem to point to self-discovery.

“Usually no one says, ‘What’s your last name?’ or ‘What’s your work?’ People say, ‘Why are you walking?’ And so there can be a depth to the conversations that you have with people that you meet as you walk along,” Loly says. “Some may ask you a question and disappear, and you never see them again. And you might think about that question for several days afterwards—or longer.”

Cooke and Loly have two main pieces of advice for those undertaking the Camino for the first time. One is to pack light.

Many people overplan, and as a result, carry too much with them, Cooke says—Bibles, say, or other books. But in practice, they’re usually too exhausted by the end of a day’s walking to want to do much more than tumble into bed and fall asleep.

Pilgrims may find themselves bringing lessons from the Way back to their everyday lives when they return home, he says.

“One of the things I hear a lot about is they look at the use of time differently,” he says. “People tend to spend time talking with other people rather than worrying about deadlines…and they are often looking differently at what are priorities for them.

“Many people tell me they get into maniacal decluttering on their return,” he adds, not only getting rid of possessions now deemed unnecessary, but also generally cutting out sources of complexity in their lives.

The other piece of advice, Cooke and Loly say, is to be open to what the road will show you.

“Be ready for the surprises—that’s advice I always give to anybody planning it,” says Cooke. “They always have ideas about what’s going to happen. Many people have great little journalling schedules all laid out. No, no, no, it’s all going to go by the wayside—don’t worry about it. Just keep your mind open. You’re going to have an interesting time.”

 

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, January 19, 2017

In Profile: Dean Hosam Naoum

Posted on: December 12th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Features

 

Posted on: December 12, 2016

The Very Revd Hosam Naoum, Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Dicoese of Jerusalem

The Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, the Very Revd Hosam Naoum, discusses life and ministry in the Holy Land in this interview, which first appeared in the newsletter of the Diocese of Jerusalem.

How long have you been Dean and where were you serving before?

I have been dean since 2012 and am the first indigenous dean installed to this church. Before that I was here in Jerusalem as Canon of the Arabic speaking congregation. I started my ministry in Jerusalem in 2005 and spent over a year in the US pursuing my master’s degree at Virginia Theological Seminary between 2009-2010. Before that, I was responsible for two parishes in the West Bank: St Phillips in Nablus and the Church of the Good Shepard in Rafidia, and also a third church building, St Matthew’s in Zababdeh. I started my ministry in these places in 1997 working with Canon Hanna Mansour and was ordained to the diaconate in 1998 and made a priest in 1999.

How does it compare to life in Nablus?

Jerusalem is a very large city on the one hand and second because it is the city of pilgrimage, so there is a huge cosmopolitan presence, a presence of pilgrims and visitors from around the world, so the character of Jerusalem is very special and the pace of life is very fast. I think Nablus was more organic in terms of parish ministry, where you would have a very intimate community where everybody knows each other.

There is more social and family life, whereas Jerusalem is very spread out and people tend to be more individualistic than communal. Also, Jerusalem is a mixed city with people belonging to the three major faiths: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In Nablus and Zababdeh, the population is mainly Palestinian, Christian, and Muslim.

I understand that Archbishop Tutu described you as the “son of a carpenter from Nazareth”. When was this? Why was this?

When I was in South Africa, I got to know Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Cape Town. He was the head of the board of the seminary that I was attending between 1994-1996, and I got to see him and meet him on different occasions when the board had meetings and at the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown. But when we met and I explained that I come from Galilee, he said “ah I see! So you are kid from Nazareth whose father is a carpenter.” And so after that, every time I saw him he would introduce me with that line. He is a man who has a great sense of humour and a man of great love for God and for people. Whenever I was in his presence, I would be “all ears” and listen as much as possible to his wisdom and his graciousness.

What is it like to be Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem?

The sign at the entrance to St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem

The sign at the entrance to St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem
Photo Credit: Gavin Drake

Being the Dean in Jerusalem is an interesting and important ministry for both the diocese and myself personally. I think Jerusalem has a great potential in terms of ministry that we can provide for our local community and the expatriate community. As a cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, and of the Anglican Communion when it comes to pilgrimage, we feel that we play a very important role in serving as a community of hospitality, friendship, and reconciliation. These are the virtues that we proclaim here in the name of Christ our Lord, and this space welcomes all people. We believe that it is God’s space where we meet the Holy. God has given us a privilege, but with that comes great responsibility and humbling ministry and service.

What are some of the most exciting parts of your ministry?

Being with the people of God – both locally and internationally. Being of service to them, nurturing them with the love of Christ is a wonderful opportunity. Pastoral care is at the heart of what I love most. Also, being helpful to those in the Cathedral Close including the Archbishop and the different institutions around the Close: St. George’s Guesthouse, College, and School. I believe that being a part of a wonderful team ministry is essential and truly exciting. It is a part of being with the people here and benefits all who come through the doors of the Cathedral. I also love taking pilgrims around and showing and walking with people where Jesus walked. These are the true blessings of this holy place.

What are the most challenging parts of ministering in the Holy Land?

The political situation is the most challenging part of my ministry and the ministry of this place. Jerusalem is a conflictual place, a place of many complexities. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is vivid in our daily lives with all the security incidents that happen around the Cathedral Close – Damascus Gate is less than five minutes away.

With all that is happening we sometimes feel the pressure that is in the air and things are not as you hope they would be, especially in this city, the city that’s supposed to be the city of hope, peace and light. The other two challenges are the extremism we face within different faiths and trying to serve in a multi-faith and multicultural context.

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The Dean of Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum, visits the diocesan Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza with Archbishop Suheil Dawani.
Photo: Diocese of Jerusalem

What’s family-life like here in Jerusalem?

Family-life in the midst of every day’s busyness can be quite challenging with my work, my wife’s work, and the kids being in school. There’s a lot to manage and it’s hard because we don’t often all have one day off. It’s difficult but it is rewarding because we know that what we do is to the glory of God. We feel that we belong to this place and to this community and the children love it here.

How would you describe your faith?

My faith is knowing God and seeking his face in the people around me. I believe that we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and leads us to acknowledge Christ in all people, seeking to love God in mercy and in compassion. If I want to summarise my faith, I say that I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, that Christ is all things for me and for my family. I seek to serve Christ through serving others around me. I believe that my relationship with God is reciprocal in the sense that I receive from God and in turn offer people God’s love. I hope that I don’t keep all of that love that God gives me for myself because I am entitled to share that gift of love and life with all people.

What sorts of exciting projects and ministries are you currently involved in or envision for the future?

I’m working on several projects. I am involved in more than one aspect of ministry here in the Cathedral Close so I can’t be too ambitious with working on huge projects. Within the cathedral itself, the first major project that we explored was how can we refurbish the cathedral with what it is missing. We replaced the hymnals, installed a new air-conditioning and heating system, and are working on installing and replacing the stained glass windows. We are about to finish replacing the current tile versions of the Stations of the Cross with a set of 14 icons being written by theological students in Florida, USA. We intentionally keep this place beautiful and worthy of God’s presence.

The other aspect of the Cathedral’s ministry is that of the choir and worship. We are always reviewing the resources in the cathedral and looking at how we can enhance our worship and music program. With the boys’ choir we are planning with the UK Friends of St George’s Cathedral to train a choir conductor in England and then come to Jerusalem to serve either full- or part-time in the cathedral. This will be a huge gift for this place because with so many services on weekdays and on Sunday, we try to make this a place where people can enjoy the musical aspects of liturgy and worship to the glory of God.

I was also involved with St George’s School for the last three years and worked on many development projects including curriculum design, capacity-building for teachers, maintenance, and infrastructure work like a new playground for the kindergarten and facilities in the elementary and secondary school.

If you could list one moral that you cherish, what would you choose? Why?

I would choose justice and compassion as one moral. It’s a combination that I consider a sacred fit, because we are called to be people who seek a just order in our society and in our communities. Therefore, I think justice is part of God’s will for us as human beings. As the Prophet Micah said, “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6.8) At the same time, Jesus taught us that we should be people who have mercy and compassion. I consider these to be two halves of a whole as be embark on truly being prophetic in our ministry.

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Dean Hosam Naoum preaching in St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.
Photo: Diocese of Jerusalem

How can Christians and Anglicans support the Christian community in Jerusalem?

To make a long story short, I once had the “three P’s” and then someone added another “P”. The first P is prayer. We would love for our sisters and brothers in Christ to pray for us as much as we pray for them, because we believe that prayer can transform our lives together as a family of Christ.

The second P is peacebuilding. As people of God we are entrusted to be peacemakers and peacebuilders in the world. As God’s children we to support this place by supporting peace rather than being biased towards this group or the other. If people are biased on one side, they add enmity on the other side. Instead, we ask people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and encourage their officials to support the peace process here in the Land of the Holy One.

The third P is pilgrimage. I am reminded of the Jesus and the disciples encounter, when Andrew tells his brother Simon, “we have found the Messiah.” (John 1.41) For us, pilgrimage here is an invitation to come and see where Jesus walked, died, and rose from the dead. And also to come and see and meet with the living stones, the worshiping Christian community here. I believe every pilgrimage should include experiencing the ancient and living stones.

The last P that was suggested that I add to my list is pounds, not necessarily financially, but also through volunteers and people who can support one of the diocesan institutions.

Closing question: What’s your advice for an upcoming or aspiring pilgrim?

One of the most ancient records of a pilgrim’s diary is that of Egeria from Spain. She wrote about the transcendental experience of being here in Jerusalem in all the different processions, services, and prayers. I suggest that before people come here they read and develop a foundational understanding of this place so they can acquaint themselves. My second tip is that pilgrims should come here with open hearts, open minds, and listening ears. I hope that they can put the prejudices and stereotypes aside and come here ready to experience the multiple narratives of this place. And let God work through these stories so that they can see that gift of God in this place. A place of many contradictions.

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Christmas lights decorate the outside of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.
Photo: Gavin Drake

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 12 December 2016

A Celtic pilgrimage

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

By Canon Lorne Mitchell on December, 05 2016

The author at Iona Abbey. Photo: Contributed


At the beginning of May, I took a deep breath, stepped out the door and began a Celtic pilgrimage. Ringing in my ears were the words of Bilbo Baggins: “It’s a dangerous business going out of your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to…”

Well, I had done quite a bit of reading, thinking and planning before I started this pilgrimage. But I can tell you that nothing prepared me for the mental, emotional and spiritual places I was swept off to… The currents and eddies of the flow conspired to touch me in ways that were personal, prophetic and pastoral.

Personal, in that I’ve reconnected with my Gaelic ancestors; prophetic, in that I feel the need to keep a sharper eye out for when something is not life-giving; pastoral, in that my prayer relationship with God is now in and through creation—not reaching somewhere above and beyond creation.

When I was planning this pilgrimage, I knew that there were certain places I wanted to see, and certain things I wanted to do. But I also knew that it was important not to have a full and rigid itinerary. It was important to allow mental and temporal space for chance encounters—space to follow the unexpected opportunities that presented themselves.

For example, I knew that I needed to stay overnight in Edinburgh, but I had no idea that the bed and breakfast I was staying in would be owned by a Muslim family from Morocco. It was wonderful to hear how they came to Scotland a generation ago, and now their older son is heading off to university.

Another example. I knew that I wanted to go to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, but I had no idea that I would have a chance to visit with one of the authors from the Northumbrian Community. He writes Celtic prayers and his wife does wonderful Celtic artwork.

Also, at my Lindisfarne bed and breakfast, the first morning there I discovered that the person in the room next to me was the suffragan bishop of Los Angeles, Diane Jardine Bruce. It just so happened she was on sabbatical, too. Being a fan of St. Cuthbert, she had just done the long walk from Melrose Abbey to Lindisfarne. The next day we went for a walk and talked about why the Celtic tradition is now so important for the church. She and Terry Dance and Linda Nicholls all went to Bishop’s School together in the U.S., and she was delighted to hear that Linda was our new bishop!

Here is another example of a chance encounter. In order to get to the Isle of Iona, first you take a train from Glasgow to Oban, then a ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull, then take a bus along a narrow, twisty road to the other end of the island, and then finally you take a little ferry across to the Isle of Iona. Well, on the train from Glasgow to Oban a woman named Clare came and sat in front of me and we started talking about the logistics of all these connections. It was her first time to Iona as well. It turned out that she worked for the British organization Christian Aid and was leading a workshop on current strategies for social justice—“Being Change Makers.” She was interested in what I was reading, and we have been emailing and sharing ideas with each other ever since I got back.

These are all examples of why it is important on a pilgrimage to leave space for chance encounters—and let the currents of the river of life touch you in unexpected ways.

Now, once I reached the Isle of Iona, there was one thing that truly caught me by surprise. Yes, the abbey was lovely and historic—and the community inspiring. But as I walked up and down this three-mile island, I had a strange feeling, as though everything on the island was speaking to me—the rocks, the plants, the animals, the sky and sea. Because of this, I spent a great deal of time walking the island and being open to what it was saying to me. It was truly an amazing experience.

Towards the end of my sabbatical, I starting writing down some things that I felt were important. Here are a few of the characteristics I focus on as a Celtic Christian.

                                                                            Being a Celtic Christian

  • All created things in the universe are sacred; there is something of God in all things.
  • Therefore, all created things deserve to be shown respect:  rock, earth, sky, stars, sun, moon, clouds, plants, animals, people.
  • All created things are in a personal relationship with each other and their Creator.
  • If you slow down, stop and be still, your relationship with creatures and all created things becomes more clear.
  • When you slow down, look and show respect for the created things around you (rather than charging around and showing no respect), then created things, in turn, take more notice of you, and can speak to you,
  • A pilgrimage is very different from a trip or vacation; a pilgrimage is not about checking off the list the beaches, gardens, castles and cathedrals seen. It’s about leaving on a walk and letting yourself be deeply touched by the people you meet; by the places in which you dwell; and by the created world all around that can speak to you.
  • I am created by God, in the image of God, and therefore when God looks and sees the deepest part of my being, behold, God sees that “it is very good.”
  • At the same time, I must take very seriously the reality of sin and evil that can over time grow within and without of me, like weeds and thorny bushes. I must be vigilant first about this reality in myself, and then about this reality in the world around me.
  • There is no duality of matter and spirit. One is not bad and the other good. The worlds of matter and spirit are deeply intertwined. The challenge of sin and evil is a challenge both for matter and spirit.
  • The realms of heaven and earth are not as far apart as many think. There are many places and moments where they touch and interact with each other. Not just in prayer, but in moments of everyday life. We simply need to practise paying attention.
  • Christ has come to reveal the essential love relationship between the Creator and created and to end all feelings of being alone, alienated and unloved.

When I arrived home in Canada, I started reflecting on my journey and started to write things down. For some reason, the words that came seemed to take the form of poems. And so I would like to finish this reflection by offering you one of those poems.

 

Iona

As you walk, tread gently,

Breathe deeply, and quiet the body like a sunset

Let the cares of the mind flow out like a river

Let the birds of the air speak to you

Let the ancient rock of the island speak to you

Let the sheep of the field speak to you

Let the clouds and rain speak to you

Let the distant mountains speak to you

Let the sea and sky speak to you

Let the wind and waves speak to you

 

Let each pilgrim you meet on the way speak to you

 

For the Kingdom of God is near

Let the God of all life speak to you

 

About the Author

Canon Lorne Mitchell

Canon Lorne Mitchell is a priest in the diocese of Huron.

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Anglican Journal News, December 06, 2016

The road to closer pilgrimage

Posted on: October 14th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

The road to closer pilgrimage

Posted By Paula Gooder

13 October 2016

Last week’s historic and symbolic events in Canterbury and Rome underlined the deepening relationship between the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church. The events included a symposium at the Gregorian University in Rome. Among the speakers were Professor Paul Murray from Durham University (PDM) and Dr Paula Gooder, a theologian with the Bible Society (PG). Here is the text of what they said:

Receptive Ecumenism and ARCIC III

Introduction: the context for ARCIC III

(PDM) Your Grace, Eminences, my Lords and, I feel I should add, ladies – sisters and brothers all in the one Lord – it is an honour and a joy to share today in this celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Anglican Centre in Rome. Dr Paula Gooder and I have the privilege of having been asked to share with you something of the work of ARCIC III and the ways in which the thinking and practice of Receptive Ecumenism has been shaping the distinctive approach of this phase of the Commission’s work. We particularly thank Archbishop David Moxon, as Director of the Anglican Centre and Anglican co-Chair of ARCIC III, Archbishop Bernard Longley as Catholic co-Chair, and Bishop Don Bolen and Bishop David Hamid, as co-chairs of IARCCUM, for collectively extending this invitation.

As with natural seasons, talk of our being in an ecumenical winter seems to come around with periodic regularity. It was during one such period in 1987, when addressing the great Swanwick gathering under the auspices of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, that His Eminence Cardinal Basil Hume memorably reframed perceptions and gave new orientation and realism to the ecumenical journey in our isles by stating that “we are no longer strangers but pilgrims together on the way to the Kingdom”. This was taken up as the strap-line and guiding theme for the ecumenical project in Britain and Ireland for quite some years afterwards. At once it both helpfully articulated the distance already travelled and realistically recognised there is a further journey yet to be walked. Most importantly, it recognised that we are all on this journey together, each travelling to a new place; that this is a pilgrim way on which we are each being led from grace unto grace; a pilgrim way on which we each receive from and are sustained by the other; a pilgrim way on which the path of continuing growth and conversion for each of our traditions, no matter how challenging at times, is always into a greater flourishing and living in the communion of the Trinity.

No longer strangers but pilgrims together on the way is a fitting strap-line also both for all that today’s happy celebration connotes and for the work of ARCIC III. Taken together, the establishment of the Anglican Centre, the numerous formal visits of Archbishops of Canterbury to Rome and of Popes and Cardinals to Canterbury, the painstaking and imaginative work of ARCIC I and II, and the establishment of IARCCUM, have each played decisive roles in effectively moving us from being near-strangers to being pilgrims together on a shared if differentiated journey; all underpinned and actualised, of course, by the crucial work of forging fresh relations and mutual appreciation on the ground in parishes and dioceses. It is in my lifetime and memory that Catholics were discouraged even from praying with Anglicans, let alone from understanding themselves as fellow-travellers.

Looking back over 50 years it is clear that there are different moments in the ecumenical journey and different moods therein. But we must not be fooled into thinking that these moments and moods are always discrete and neatly sequential. Like the English weather and seasons, they tend to overlap and blur into each other within a given space and time. A better image at 50 years is of Anglican – Catholic ecumenism as like a rope, a cord, composed of many interwoven strands pulling together with a strength that no one of the strands can alone provide. Or to alter the image again, it is like a piece of music composed of multiple notes and musical chords and performed in a range of keys in varying circumstances, moments, and moods. As we turn to reflect on the work of ARCIC III specifically and the role that receptive ecumenical ways of proceeding have been playing here, it is helpful to name some of these strands, some of these notes and chords, which have been so important and which continue to play their part in ARCIC III.

Most fundamental has been the ecumenism of prayer and friendship as the work of the Spirit; the sine qua non of all ecumenism, whether IARCCUM’s ecumenism of life and witness, or ARCIC’s ecumenism of theological dialogue. Powered by this, ARCIC has variously reflected an understanding of the ecumenical task as one of:

  • problem-solving, seeking to unpick the knots of past disagreement;
  • openness to fresh understanding, both of the other and of the common tradition;
  • recognition of legitimate and necessary difference in communion;
  • sharing one’s gifts;
  • hope-filled imaginings;
  • loving desire for that which appears good and attractive in the other;
  • recognition of our own need for help;
  • patient faith and realism, as servants rather than architects.

So how are these various strands, these various chords, being played upon and put to work in ARCIC III? What is the particular moment through which we are now living in Anglican – Catholic relations? What is the nature of our times? And which strands, which chords, within the ARCIC oeuvre now need to be brought to the fore?

We will recall there was a gap between ARCIC II and ARCIC III, and that IARCCUM also went through a period of suspension whilst new areas of difference relating to human sexuality and tensions around women’s ordination served to recalibrate formal Anglican-Catholic engagement. It had become clear that it was no longer realistic to hope that the abiding goal of sacramental and structural communion would be achieved within a generation. This raised the question as to what this means for theological ecumenism. Has the entire ARCIC endeavour now simply reached a dead-end, a cul-de-sac? Are the limits of the possible now defined by the ecumenism of tea and crumpets, of prayer and politeness, and, possibly, some shared social action?
In this context, it was with the boldness of faith that following the September 2010 Lambeth Palace meeting, Archbishop Rowan and Pope Benedict identified the two key issues which would be taken up in a further ARCIC dialogue as: a) the relationship between the Church local and universal, and b) the discernment of right ethical teaching. Far from ducking the hard issues, this is to take us right into the issues which both between and within our traditions bring current tensions into clearest focus.

The challenge, then, for the members of ARCIC III, sharply aware of standing on the shoulders of ARCIC forebears, of being like grasshoppers amongst giants, was to ask which strands of the ARCIC cord, which chords of the ARCIC oeuvre were now to be drawn out and put to work. How were we to pursue a genuine theological dialogue that took current realities seriously and which could nevertheless help each of our traditions to journey further together along the pilgrim way of growth and conversion towards greater mutual recognition and deeper communion. At the first meeting in Bosé in 2011, the ARCIC III members were introduced to some of the thinking of Receptive Ecumenism, which has been long-incubated in the ecumenical movement and within ARCIC in a particular way. It was felt that this represented an approach which might prove to be well-suited to current challenges; that the time had come to draw this aspect of ARCIC’s resource kit out more explicitly and to explore its potential fruitfulness in a more focussed and extended manner than had previously been done in the context of a bilateral dialogue.

Receptive Ecumenism and ARCIC III

(PG) Receptive Ecumenism is, in some respects, what William James would have referred to as ‘a new name for some old ways of thinking’. It draws out certain strands that already exist in the ecumenical cord and gives them fresh prominence, viewing them as particularly well-suited to the ecumenical context in which we now find ourselves: specifically the dispositions of self-critical hospitality, humble learning, and on-going conversion that have always been quietly essential to all good ecumenical work. At the heart of Receptive Ecumenism is the conviction that considerable further progress is possible on the way towards structural and sacramental communion and full mutual recognition but only if a fundamental, counter-instinctual move is made. The belief is that we each need to move away from wishing that other traditions could be more like our own and to ask instead what our own tradition is able to learn, with integrity, from the others in ways that can help to address specific challenges and felt difficulties in our own tradition. As John F. Kennedy might have put it: ‘Ask not what your own tradition can teach the others. Ask rather what your tradition can learn from these others.’

For Receptive Ecumenism it is as traditions and communities and not just as individuals that we are called to grow further into communion with Christ in the Spirit. It takes inspiration both from Saint Pope John Paul II’s invitation to theologians and church leaders of other traditions in Ut Unum Sint to help with the task of re-imagining the performance of papacy and from Pope Francis’s words in Evangelii Gaudium §246, where we find: ‘If we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us.’

Much ecumenical engagement is a matter of getting the best china tea-service out: of showing ourselves somewhat formally in the best possible light to our distant relatives who are coming to visit rather than allowing the more “warts-and-all” self-understanding we keep locked behind the closed doors of the intimate family space to come into view. In contrast, rather than the ecumenism of the best china tea service, Receptive Ecumenism represents an ecumenism of the wounded hands: of being prepared to show our wounds to each other knowing that we cannot heal or save ourselves; and asking the other to minister to us from the particular gifts and grace given to them.

The conviction is that if each of our traditions were to give priority to this question then considerable further movement on the ecumenical journey would indeed be possible and in various ways. First, each of our traditions would be enriched in its own right by being able to avail itself of fresh resource to help address felt difficulties and challenges. Second, collectively our traditions would thereby also come to a deeper mutual recognition and sense of communion by being able to see something of the other in ourselves, something of ourselves in the other, and each of us as growing more deeply together into differentiated communion in Christ and the Spirit. As such, Receptive Ecumenism can be seen to represent a way of ecumenical ecclesial conversion and growth which although it is remarkably simple in vision, is also remarkably far-reaching in potential. We have been exploring it as the way that the Spirit might today be calling our communions to walk, first for the sake of our own respective greater flourishing and, second, as the means of our giving a clearer, more convincing witness to our communion in the Trinitarian life of God.

It is, of course, the case that a great deal of receptive learning has already taken place between our traditions in the ecumenical movement and it has taken place at many different levels: from hymnody to devotional practices, from missiological strategy to even, in some instances, theological understanding. Receptive Ecumenism seeks to build upon and to extend this receptive ecclesial learning, in whatever form it comes, by focussing on it in an intentional way.

Its particular aim is to pursue the potential for fruitful learning in relation to our respective ways of being and living as church, as ecclesial communities and communions; or, in other words, in relation to the respective structural and organisational realities of Anglican and Catholic life.  Receptive Ecumenism seems doubly well-suited to the first half of ARCIC III’s mandate concerning the relationship between the church local and universal: not only does it seek to take seriously the changed ecumenical climate and context in which we are now working; it also has a particular concern to explore what our differing traditions can learn from each other in relation to our respective ways of organising, structuring, and living our ecclesial lives.

ARCIC III has been influenced by Receptive ecumenism not just in the way we have sought to listen to each other but also in the emerging shape and character of what is intended to be this Commission’s first agreed statement. Following an Introduction, an extended scriptural orientation, and a chapter seeking, as far as is possible, to articulate our commonly-held communion ecclesiology, the following three chapters detail in turn our respective ecclesial structures and their interrelationship at the local, regional, and universal levels of Anglican and Catholic life. Within each of these three chapters there are three key concerns at work: 1) to describe our respective structures and related processes as they currently exist; 2) to acknowledge related areas of felt tension and difficulty within each of our traditions; and 3) to identify specific ways in which these respective tensions and difficulties might be addressed through learning from aspects of related understanding and practice in the other tradition.
As we wish to reflect the fact that our two traditions are walking along the pilgrim way together, parts of each of these three chapters are set out in parallel columns. The Anglican and Catholic examens on the path of conversion and growth are conducted in the company of the other and are explicitly open to learning from the other. The experience has been and continues to be challenging but, we hope, it is equally enriching and life-giving. We turn now to a brief consideration of some of the areas of ecclesial learning that we have begun to identify in the company of the other.

Possible Catholic learning from Anglican practice of the Church, local, regional, and universal

(PDM) The exploration of Catholic structures alongside and in conversation with our Anglican brothers and sisters highlights, amongst other things, two specific areas of Catholic practice which are comparatively undeveloped: concerning the role of lay people in ecclesial governance and decision-making; and concerning the role of regional bodies in helping to shape the thinking of the universal church.

It is Catholic teaching that all the faithful, lay and ordained, participate in different ways in the tria munera of Christ, to which belong the tasks of sanctifying, teaching, and governing. Behind teaching lies the process of discerning; behind governing lies the wider area of decision-making; and Catholic laity also play an increasingly large part in ministry to the faithful within the church, as well as to the world. Despite this, lay people are restricted to non-deliberative consultative roles in ecclesial decision-making and discernment processes. This has a potentially negative impact on the quality of the thinking and practice of the church given that it limits the extent to which lay experience and understanding can effectively contribute to its shaping. In addition, it also means that clerical exercise of governance is largely devoid of checks and balances by those governed in a manner that can give rise to problems.

By contrast, Anglican lay people routinely share in the munera of ecclesial governance in a more determinative way.

  • The question is consequently raised as to whether the Catholic Church might look to the roles accorded to the lay faithful in Anglican parochial, diocesan, and regional conciliar structures as models that could be transposed into the Catholic context in such a way as would still preserve the respective executive roles of parish priests and bishops.
  • Similarly the Catholic Church might have something to learn from some of the routine Anglican processes of deliberative consultation around the selection and appointment of clergy, particularly bishops.

It is Catholic teaching that the primary locus of authority in the church is the College of Bishops in communion with the Bishop of Rome as the Chair of the College. So the teaching emanating from Rome is meant to be articulated with the perceptions and concerns of the diverse particular and local churches throughout the world. In reality, however, the strongly centred nature of Catholic polity in the organs of the universal church limits the extent to which Catholic teaching and practice is effectively articulated with the diversities of cultural context. Compounding this situation is the fact that the Catholic Church struggles to articulate a theological basis for the nature and extent of the teaching authority of national and regional episcopal conferences as part of the ordinary teaching magisterium of the church.

  • Whilst recognising the significant asymmetry that exists between the traditions in relation to the respective status of the regional church and the consequent inability simply to transfer across in any direct way, it is nevertheless the case that Catholics could profit from looking closely at what there is to be learned from the characteristic theology and associated principles of the provincial church in Anglican tradition.
  • With this, and recognising the need to preserve the executive function of the Bishop of Rome as Head of the College of Bishops, Anglican models could be drawn upon in order to develop the Synod of Bishops from being a purely consultative body, to being a deliberative body which could function as an effective organ of collegiality.

Possible Anglican learning from Catholic practice of the Church, local, regional, and universal

(PG) If there is a key theme that runs through all the many detailed ways in which Anglicans have much to learn from our Catholic brothers and sisters, it is simply this – mechanisms for unity. Anglicans are good at diversity – you could even say that it is our speciality. Across the world wherever Anglicanism has become embedded, it is easy to see the ways in which Anglican worship and practice has adapted to the local context.

I reveal nothing new when I say that Anglicans are far better at articulating what makes us different from each other than we are at identifying what brings us together. One of the repeating strands that runs through the question of what Anglicans can learn from Catholic practice at local, regional and worldwide levels is a commitment to the unity and communion of the wider church.
It is impossible in so short a time to do justice to the many and varied ways in which Anglican life together could be enriched through our learning from Catholic practice, I offer here just a few particular examples which are themed to a greater or lesser extent around the strand of the unity and communion of the wider church:

  • One of these is the way of learning represented by the synodical system. Anglican synods, particularly but not exclusively those in the Church of England, were often founded on a combative parliamentary model and where debate on an issue proceeds using a ‘for’ and ‘against’ debating style. There is much to be learnt here from the Catholic synodical method with its greater emphasis on gathering for formation, learning, consultation, and discernment.
  • In a similar way, the emerging patterns of Catholic episcopal conferences offer possible models of corporate episcopal leadership at a national level which could allow greater flexibility to immediate needs and aspirations in some contexts.
  • One of the constantly challenging issues for Anglicans is how to maintain appropriate Provincial autonomy while, at the same time, hearing the voice of the wider Anglican communion. The Catholic practice of an Apostolic Nuncio may have much to offer in this context, representing the outside voice of the wider church into the particular context of a Province.
  • Connected to the previous point, is the wider issue of finding appropriate mechanisms to provide mutual accountability across the communion. One possible suggestion might be to learn from the recent Synods of Catholic Bishops which allow for times of intensive consultation and commitment.

There are, of course, many more points for potential learning and enrichment but these give just a taste of the work we are currently undertaking to identify what we can best learn from each other.

Key questions to ponder in relation to our respective contexts and spheres of influence
(PDM)

  • Does the description provided here of the context for ARCIC III and the challenges associated with it resonate with your own experience?
  • What do you think about the possible contribution of Receptive Ecumenism in this context? It emphasises a dual need for: a) honesty about the difficulties in one’s own tradition’s ecclesial practice and structures, and b) associated receptive learning, where relevant, from the other tradition. Does this sound like a useful and realistic resource?
  • What specific difficulties in your own tradition’s ecclesial practice, ethos, and structures arise within your own context and spheres of influence?
  • In such regards, what specific aspects of the other tradition’s ecclesial practice, ethos, and structures might it be worth exploring as potential opportunities for fruitful receptive learning?

Closing/opening scriptural reflection

(PG) As we give thanks for all those over the past 50 years who walked the way of ecumenism before us, it is, perhaps, reassuring to remind ourselves that our struggle to live, work and pray together is no more challenging for us than it was for the earliest Christians. In attempting to identify a passage that might inspire reflections on our theme, it is worth noting that I was spoilt for choice. There are many, many verses that speak of the need, the calling and the complexity of walking together on the way of Christ.

Today no less than 50 years ago; today no less than 2000 years ago we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, struggling, yet persevering, to obey Christ’s call to live together in the bonds of peace.

In the end I chose an old favourite, the passage from Ephesians 4.1-3, which encapsulates Paul’s entreaty to the Ephesian community to live together in the newly reconciled reality that Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection. I chose it for two reasons:

  • The first reason is simply the characteristics laid out in these verses – humility, gentleness, patience and bearing with one another in love. These virtues, these ways of living, capture the spirit of our ecumenical journey thus far and hold before us a vision of how to continue. Wherever we go together and whatever we achieve may our prayer be that we do it with humility, gentleness, patience and loving mutual endurance.
  • My second reason for choosing it is the verb Paul uses to describe the Ephesians life together. What the NRSV, rightly, translates as ‘lead a life’ comes from the Greek verb peripateo – to walk around and hence to behave or live. It seems right to end as we began with the remembrance of Cardinal Hume’s words ‘that ‘we are no longer strangers but pilgrims together on the way to the Kingdom’. May our pilgrimage onwards from here continue to be as Paul envisioned it ‘a walking around together’ in the bonds of peace.

I hope, then, that you will grant me just a little translational latitude as I read out Ephesians 4.1-3 to end our reflections:
I beg you therefore to walk onwards together in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the Anglican Communion News Service on Thursday 13 October 2016

New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome

Posted on: October 8th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
General, Reviews

Posted on: October 7, 2016

Commnuniqué from Iarccum Summit
“New steps on an ancient pilgrimage: Together from Canterbury to Rome”

30 September – 7 October 2016


IARCCUM 2016 has been an extraordinary, historic summit, rich in symbolism and significance for the Anglican Communion and Catholic Church.

It brought together 36 bishops from around the world for a week in Canterbury and Rome to celebrate the deepening relationship between the two traditions over the past 50 years – and to find practical ways to work together to demonstrate that unity to the world and address its social and pastoral issues.

The highlight was the mandating of the bishops by Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, at a service they jointly led at the chapel of San Gregorio al Celio. The service also saw the Pope and Archbishop exchange gifts as a sign of friendship – echoing the moment in 1966 when Pope Paul VI presented his papal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey – a moment that ushered in a new era of dialogue.

The days in Rome also saw the formal presentation of a document detailing 20 years of work on reconciling the two traditions by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. And the bishops attended a symposium on current relations between the churches and the possibilities of future co-operation and dialogue.

The time in Canterbury was also rich in symbolism. The Suffragan Bishop in Europe, David Hamid, gave the homily at a Catholic Vigil Mass in the undercroft of the Cathedral. The following day, the Archbishop-elect of Regina, Donald Bolen, preached the sermon at the Sung Eucharist.

Bishop David – who co-chairs IARCCUM with Archbishop Don – said the summit had been an historic time in the history of our official dialogue, and deeply valuable.

“This has been an immensely rich occasion, full of significance for our two traditions. It has been a source of deep joy to all the bishops gathered from all over the world, who have shared their experiences, their challenges and their wisdom. It was a profound time of collegiality and communion, and they are inspired now to go out into the world and work together for unity and common mission.”

Archbishop Don said it had been an incredible time and he was excited about the future.

“The bishops engaged in everything in a way that was beautiful to see. Strong friendships have formed. In our discussions, we did not shy away from the difficulties we sometimes face. But the possibilities for our two traditions working together in a needy world are abundant and promising.”

One of the bishops, Archbishop Paul Nabil El Sayah from Beirut said the summit had been a joyful occasion that would yield practical results.

“The atmosphere has been very positive,” he said. “You can feel there is deep, sincere fellowship and a willingness to bring new things forward. I am completely sold on practical ecumenism. I see lots of potential. This is not about looking inwards but about coming to the outside world together. The more we come together, the more our message has credibility.”

Bishop Alwin Samuel, from Sialkot in Pakistan, has been working alongside Archbishop Sebastian Shaw from Lahore during the summit. Bishop Alwin said he was looking forward to collaborating more with the Catholics at home.

“We have been looking at how we can take concrete steps towards unity. One example is where we have existing projects of our own. We looked at how we could begin to work together on them. For example, in areas such as health, especially women’s health, where one church might provide the resources and the other would deliver them.”

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the  ACNS  on Friday 7 October 2016

New Anglican Centre proposed for Santiago de Compostela

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

Many pilgrims conclude their pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. But now, the Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal is proposing to build an Anglican Centre in Santiago to enable Protestant pilgrims to share the Eucharist in the city.
Photo Credit: NeilsB / Wikimedia

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (IERE) – the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain – is proposing to build an Anglican Centre at Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain; considered by many to be the third holiest pilgrimage site after Jerusalem and Rome. Santiago de Compostela has been a major international destination for pilgrims since at least the ninth century and is said to be the burial site of Jesus’ disciple Saint James.

The new Anglican Centre at the end of the Camino de Santiago – or Way of St James – will cost in the region of $5 million USD (approximately £3.8 million GBP) and the IERE has established a US-based charitable organisation – the American Friends of the Anglican Centre for Santiago de Compostela – with the help of supporters based at Trinity Church, Wall Street, as a means of fund-raising for the new centre. They have already received a grant from the US-based Episcopal Church’s United Thank Offering (UTO) scheme.

“We convened [an] initial meeting [in New York] to explore the viability of building an Anglican Centre in Santiago,” the Revd Spencer Reece, national secretary for the Bishop of Spain, Carlos Lopez-Lozáno, said. “The message seemed clear. We need one! Why? Currently there are more Protestants on the Camino than Catholics.

“However, Spain, being one of the most Catholic countries on earth, there has never been a place for Protestant pilgrims to receive Eucharist when they finish the Camino.

“Furthermore, there are Anglican centres in Jerusalem and Rome, but none in third most holy site on earth: Santiago.”

He added: “This is a big project naturally and one that seeks the help of all corners of the Anglican Communion as well as pilgrims outside the church who want to see a place of healing built in Santiago overseen by our church.”

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the Anglican Communion News Service on Thursday 28 July 2016

Anglican call for action at World Council of Churches

Posted on: June 22nd, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
Discussion

 

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

Becket’s bones return to Canterbury Cathedral

Posted on: May 26th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
News

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