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 SOCIETY FOR ECUMENICAL STUDIES REFORMATION 500 EVENT AT WESTMINSTER CENTRAL HALL WEDNESDAY 18 OCTOBER

 On Wednesday 18 October the Society for Ecumenical Studies will be hosting a Reformation 500 event at Westminster Central Hall. The Most Revd Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and Roman Catholic Co Chair of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) will give a talk with the title "Commemorating the Reformation 1517 - A challenge and an opportunity for Roman Catholics".  Plenary discussion and question and answer session will follow. After a short break the Society's Annual General Meeting will take place.

Enquiries to the Society's Secretary at sfes@gmail.com

The Society for Ecumenical Studies welcomes members from many different churches and backgrounds, clergy and lay, who are committed to the unity of the Church of Christ, studying its nature and purpose, promoting understanding and co-operation and practising the prayer of Jesus to his Father on the night before he died "that they all may be one, that the world may believe."

FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION IN THE AFTERMATH OF ABUSE PUBLICATION OF KEY CHURCH OF ENGLAND REPORT

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the aftermath of Abuse was published by Church House Publishing in September. It follows from three years of discussion around the theological challenges that the Church of England faces with regard to preventing and responding to abuse. A companion volume to The Gospel, Sexual Abuse and the Church, which emerged from the same stream of work it is particularly intended to guide all those who preach, teach and exercise pastoral ministry. in the preface the Bishop of Coventry says that this document "is, to a considerable extent, new ground: which much has been written about each of these three things - forgiveness, reconciliation, and the aftermath of abuse - there is not a great deal that addresses them together in the way that is attempted in this document."

Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the aftermath of Abuse is available from the Church House Publishing website and from Church House Bookshop.

SUNDAY 13 AUGUST: PRAYER FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA

The World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches are calling their member churches to observe, on Sunday 13 August, a "Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula".

The theme of the prayer is based on Romans 14:19: "Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."

Joint prayer is being prepared by the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) from North Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) from South Korea. Additional liturgical materials are available at: www.oikoumene.org


Parishes and individuals across the world are invited to pray for the reconciliation and healing of the divided Korean peninsula

Reformation Anniversary Events at Westminster Abbey Tuesday 31 October

For details of the 31 October events see information on the Westminster Abbey website at:

www.westminster-abbey.org/reformation

At noon at Westminster Abbey there will be a service to mark the 500th Anniversary of the 95 Theses and the beginning of the Reformation.

The service will be led by the Dean of Westminster, the Reverend Dr John Hall and The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby will give the Address. A new anthem, commissioned for the occasion by Danish composer, Bent Sørensen will be performed by the Westminster Abbey Special Choir. Among those attending will be representatives of Lutheran churches in the United Kingdom.

All are welcome

To book tickets for the Service go to Eventbrite at:


https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/service-to-mark-500-years-of-the-95-theses-the-beginning-of-the-reformation-tickets-36158084805)

At St Margaret's Church  Westminster from 14:30 to 18:00 there will be a symposium titled "Liberated by God's grace" bringing together leading academics to analyse the ongoing impact of the Reformation.

The programme chaired by the Rt Revd Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington will include the followng addresses:

Covert, Overt and Collectible: Luther's Works in England and English                      Professor David Crankshaw, King's College, London

The Reformation in the British Isles from a Roman Catholic Perspective                       Professor Eamon Duffy, Magdalene College, Cambridge

"God is weak": The "theologia crucis" in the thinking of Luther and Bonhoeffer                The Rt Revd Martin Lind, Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain

Freedom from the Self: Luther and Løgstrup on Sin as "Incurvatus in Se"                  Professor Robert Stern, Sheffield University

Remembering the Reformation                                                                             Professor Alexandra Walsham, Trinity College, Cambridge

All are welcome.

To book tickets for the Symposium go to Eventbrite at:

 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/liberated-by-gods-grace-1517-2017-500-years-of-reformation-tickets-36265126971?aff=es2

DR MATTHIAS GREBE JOINS CCU STAFF AS ADVISER FOR EUROPEAN CHURCH RELATIONS

Thursday 13 July

We are delighted to announce that the Revd Dr Matthias Grebe will be taking up the post of Adviser for European Church Relations later this month.

This new, part - time post has been set up jointly by the Council for Christian Unity and the Mission and Public Affairs Division. While there will be a particular focus on supporting relations with the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), there will also be a broader responsibility to attend to the many and varied connections between the Church of England and Continental churches as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Matthias will combine this role with his continuing work as Research Fellow and Lecturer in Theology at the Rheinische Friedrich - Wilhelms University in Bonn. Based in Cambridge, he is the Associate Priest to the Vicar - Chaplain of the church of St Edward King and Martyr in the city centre.

Matthias has commented: "It is a great delight to be taking up this new role, which in many ways feels like bringing together multiple strands of my own background and experience, in Germany and the UK, the Church and Academy. I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received from both the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Division and the Council for Christian Unity, and am looking forward to taking up the challenges and opportunities of developing our relations with the churches of Continental Europe."

We look forward very much to welcoming Matthias to the staff team at Church House and to working with him in this vital area.

 

REFORMED CHURCHES AFFIRM JOINT DECLARATION ON JUSTIFICATION


On Wednesday 5 July at a ceremony in Wittenberg Germany the World Communion of Reformed Churches formally associated itself with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, originally signed in 1999 by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church. The World Methodist Council (WMC) affirmed the declaration in 2006. The Declaration seeks to overcome the theological differences about justification that led to a split in the Western church in the 16th Century.
At the same the WCRC also signed a "Wittenberg Witness" with the LWF pledging to strengthen co - operation and joint action.
The congregation at Wittenberg's Stadtkirche (Town Church) broke into spontaneous applause as Reformed, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist representatives signed a statement confirming the WCRC's association with the joint declaration.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew 1 and Pope Francis sent messages of encouragement to the ceremony.
The ceremony in Wittenberg took place during the WCRC General Council which had brought about 1,000 participants to the eastern German city of Leipzig.
The WCRC groups more than 225 Protestant churches with a combined membership of about 80 million Christians in Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in over 100 countries. Its offices are in Hannover, Germany.

New National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England

  The Revd Dr Callan Slipper has been appointed as the new National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England, following the retirement of the Revd Dr Roger Paul earlier this year. Working as part of the staff team at the Council for Christian Unity, he will have a pivotal role in developing the Church of England's relationships with other churches in this country. In particular, he will focus on deepening partnership in mission and evangelism across the full range of Christian communities, including the growing number of Pentecostal and independent churches.

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, who chairs the Council for Christian Unity, commented: 'We are very pleased that Callan is willing to take on this major responsibility. There are many opportunities in the present context for churches to grow more fully into the unity for which Christ prayed, as they enter more deeply into partnership in the gospel. Callan's breadth of ecumenical experience locally as well as internationally will be a great asset for us, as well as the depth of his theological thinking in this area.'

Dr Slipper said: 'At a personal level I feel rather daunted by what I shall have to do. But with God everything is possible. The unity Christ died for is God's dream for us all. At its heart lies the unity of Christians, so this is key to our mission and to every aspect of our spiritual health. Seeing the dreadful things happening in the world, unity seems clearly the true challenge of our times.'

Dr Slipper is an Anglican priest and a member of a community within the Focolare, which was founded by Chiara Lubich in 1943 in Trent, Northern Italy, with a focus on Jesus' prayer on the eve of his death: 'May they all be one' (Jn 17:21). It has spread across the world to Christians of about 350 churches and is in dialogue with members of other faiths, all dimensions of contemporary culture and in particular with people of no specifically religious belief.

Recently Dr Slipper has combined theological work for the Focolare International Research Centre with the role of Ecumenical Facilitator for Churches Together in Hertfordshire.  He has worked for many years in the field of Christian unity and is a member of a number of national and international ecumenical bodies, including the Anglican Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum, the Methodist Anglican Panel for Unity and Mission and the Focolare International Ecumenical Ethical Commission.

 

FINSBURY PARK ATTACK MONDAY 19 JUNE 2017

CHURCH LEADERS SEND SINCERE CONDOLENCES

We were shocked to learn of the brutal attack on worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of this morning.

We unreservedly condemn all acts of violence which seek to undermine our society and foster hatred and intolerance.

Jesus came among us as the Prince of Peace, and in his name and for his sake, we stand in solidarity with our Muslim friends. 

We remember in our prayers those who have been injured.   We pray for the leaders of our communities and nation, and for those who work in our emergency services.

We pray too for those who perpetrate such acts that God may touch their hearts and minds with his love, forgiveness and compassion.

From the Six Presidents of Churches Together in England:

Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, the President for the Orthodox Churches

The Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, The President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches

Bishop Dr Eric Brown, The Pentecostal President 

(www.cte.org.uk/presidents

Churches Together in England is a visible sign of the Churches' commitment to mission and unity together. It currently has 44 national member churches

COUNTY ECUMENICAL OFFICER SOUGHT FOR ESSEX AND EAST LONDON

Churches Together in Essex and East London is seeking to appoint a new County Ecumenical Officer to work with churches and church leaders across the area.

They are looking for someone who is inspired by the vision of Christians of different traditions working together, a great networker and solution finder and interested in engaging with the mission and growth of God's Kingdom across Essex and East London.

Closing date for applications is Friday 14 July. Interviews will take place on Friday 21 July in Chelmsford.

For application form and supporting information contact Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator, Synod Office, The United Reformed Church, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4ND

moderator@urceastern.org.uk

CTE PUBLISHES ITS REVIEW OF 2016  

Churches Together in England has published its Review of 2016 detailing exciting developments in its strategic priorities of relationships, action for mission and theological reflection. It continues its nurture of local ecumenical relationships on the ground and provides via its website nearly 3,000 pages of news, information and resources which received in 2016 an average of 8,047 page requests each day.

 

To download the full report with the accounts go to

 

http://www.cte.org.uk/Publisher/File.aspx?id=191853

 

 

 

 LONDON TERRORIST ATTACK: PASTORAL MESSAGE FROM CTE PRESIDENTS

 

A pastoral message from the Presidents to all engaged in the work of Churches Together, locally, at Intermediate level and nationally

 

As the feast of Pentecost dawned, we learnt of another appalling terrorist attack in London, the third attack within weeks. It is therefore important that we say clearly alongside our fellow faith leaders that such horrific acts are abhorrent to God and to all people of faith. Life is precious, the gift of God, and it is to be prized.

 

 Our thought and prayers will continue to be with those who have been bereaved and those who are recovering from injuries suffered in those attacks.

 

 Churches Together across the land have been praying in these past weeks for the coming of God's kingdom. In the face of increased terrorist activity those prayers are particularly poignant. The kingdom of God is love, justice and joy, and the gifts of the Spirit given for building it. Even in such acts of darkness, we have caught glimpses of the kingdom in the kindness of strangers to each other, the extraordinary bravery of the emergency services and the dedication and skill of medical teams. We thank God for them.

 

 Part of our vocation as Christians is to stand together with our friends and neighbours of all faiths and none to seek the flourishing of all, and refuse to let violence and hatred deflect us from living compassionately and kindly together. Another part of our vocation is to share in Christ's ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation, to pray for those who hate that they may grow close to the God of mercy and love and be transformed.

 

In this season of Pentecost we invite all who are part of Churches Together to pray for the gifts of the Spirit so that they may be activists for the love of God, building healing, reconciling and forgiving communities where God's kingdom can grow and all be valued as children of God.

 

Archbishop Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury

 

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

 

Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, the Free Church Moderator

 

 

 

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN ON THE LONDON ATTACKS

 

Sunday 4th June 2017

Archbishop Justin Welby condemned the terrorist attacks and said the people of London are responding with "courage, resilience and determination".

"After the horrifying events in London last night, churches around Britain today have been praying for the wounded and bereaved as they face such profound pain and struggle.

This morning in Folkestone, in one of the final services of Thy Kingdom Come, the sense of people praying, grieving and standing with the people of London was tangible.

The terrorists want to divide us. They want to make us hate one another. They want to change our way of life. But just like we saw in Manchester, Londoners are responding with generosity and open hearts. With courage, resilience and determination.

Today is Pentecost, and we pray "Come Holy Spirit" - the Spirit of peace, healing and hope. What we celebrated this morning in church was the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ, but as well as that, the deep resources we have in our faith, our history, our culture, to face up to these things with courage."

 

ARCIC MEETING IN ERFURT, GERMANY 14 - 20 MAY 2017

 

The Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) held the seventh meeting of its current phase (ARCIC III) in Erfurt, Germany from Sunday 14 to Saturday 20 May 2017. The Commission met at the St Ursula Educational and Catechetical Centre of the Dicoese of Erfurt, Germany. The Commission completed an agreed statement, the first of its current phase entitled Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church - Local, Regional, Universal. This Statement emplys the method of Receptive Ecumenism to examine the structures by which Catholics and Anglicans order and maintain communion at the local, regional and universal level. It examines common theological principles that Anglicans and Catholics share, and the differentiated structures, based on these principles, by which they make decisions. The published text is expected to be available in 2018.

 

GLOBAL THEOLOGICAL ECUMENICAL INSTITUTE 5 TO 13 MARCH 2018 IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA

Wednesday 18 May 2017

The Ecumenical Theological Education (ETE) team at the World Council of Churches has announced the Global Theological Ecumenical Institute taking place from Monday 5 to Sunday 18 March 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania.

GETI is following up its initial event at the 10th WCC Assembly 2013 in Busan, South Korea in which young theologians from around the world gave fresh attention to new forms of experiential theological formation and engagement with the ecumenical movement.

GETI 2018 is designed for about 120 advanced students in theology and related academic fields wishing to gain insights into the ecumenical movement's current debates on understanding and practising mission in various regions of the world. The hosts will be the Faculty of the Tumaini University Makumira based a short distance away from the conference venue.

There will be engagement with the World Mission Conference's theme Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship with exploration of how the Gospel is translated into different cultures and contexts. THe reflection thereon will be part of a blended study process, commencing by an e - learning phase a couple of months prior to the event.

The venue of the World Mission Conference and GETI 2018, Arusha in Tanzania, lends itself for a first-hand experience in one of the most vibrant contexts of world Christianity. In this unique study environment GETI 2018 will offer opportunities for learning contemporary trends in ecumenism, for sharing experiences in a diverse student community and for celebrating

For more information and application form contact ETE@wcc-coe.org

 

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY WELCOMES HH POPE TAWADROS II TO LAMBETH PALACE

Friday 12 May 2017

Archbishop Justin and Pope Tawadros met at Lambeth Palace before attending Evensong together at Westminster Abbey.


The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the Coptic Orthodox Pope, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, to Lambeth Palace today. 

His Holiness, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, paid the courtesy visit to Archbishop Justin Welby during his first pastoral visit to the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK.

Pope Tawadros, who met HM The Queen at Windsor Castle on Tuesday, was accompanied to Lambeth Palace by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom.

The Archbishop and the Pope spent time discussing the situation of the Coptic Church in Egypt, and the challenges and opportunities facing both Coptic and Anglican Christians in the country.

The two leaders then attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey together, the first time the Archbishop of Canterbury and Coptic Pope have done so. During the service they prayed together at the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor.

(Photograph: Andrew Dunsmore/Westminster Abbey)

Welcoming Pope Tawadros to Lambeth Palace this afternoon, the Archbishop said: "Your Holiness, thank you for being here. Thank you that today, we meet together in the presence of the Spirit of Christ, the risen Christ."

He added: "We have spoken especially about the need to maintain a society in which both Christians and Muslims are able to flourish.  We also spoke of the need for unity among the churches, and for good relationships between the churches in Egypt.  And we spoke of the threats that come from extremism, and how that is a threat not only to Christians but also to Muslims, and it is a threat that must be met in the short term by strong action, but also in the longer term by good education." 

Speaking ahead of the Evensong service at Westminster Abbey - where the Archbishop and Pope prayed with and for each other, and for the church - the Archbishop said: "In this prayer, we will express our unity as brothers in Jesus Christ, while recognizing that we have differences; but these are differences that we continue to address through our mutual dialogue."

Archbishop Justin has met with Pope Tawadros in Cairo twice since taking office in 2013.

The first time was shortly after his installation in June 2013, during his first visit to the Middle East as Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

Archbishop Justin Welby's welcome to HH Pope Tawadros II:


Your Holiness, before any formal welcome, I note that this year, by the grace of God, Easter has fallen together and therefore I begin by saying Christ is Risen! It is wonderful, and it has been a difference this year - that for the first time in some years, together we have celebrated the resurrection.

In my recent visit to the Holy Land,amidst the enormous suffering of the peoples of that region - not merely of Palestine and Israel - I was struck time and again when Christians told me their sorrows and then said 'Christ is Risen', and everyone felt that sense of hope that we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But it is my pleasure, formally today, to welcome you to Lambeth Palace - on this, I believe, your first visit here. It is an ancient palace. It goes back to the very end of the 12th century, to the 1190s, and bits of it are newer and bits of it are older.

I welcome also your brother bishops and clergy from Egypt and from this country. It is not only a pleasure but a great privilege to receive you, and this place is a better place because you are here.

As you know, we have already had an opportunity to talk together privately, and to share matters of concern.  We have spoken especially about the need to maintain a society in which both Christians and Muslims are able to flourish. We also spoke of the need for unity among the churches, and for good relationships between the churches in Egypt.

We spoke of the threats that come from extremism, and how that is a threat not only to Christians but also to Muslims - and it is a threat that must be met in the short term by strong action, but also in the longer term by good education.

We live in a world where faith is increasingly important, contrary to the impression taken by some people in this country, and also a world where people of faith can live very dangerous lives.

The experience of the Coptic people in Egypt is not only an example to the body of Christ around the world, but also a profound inspiration. The courage of your people - their constant faith, their steadfastness, their long endurance - brings to life those words we read so often in the epistles of Saint Paul, and we are truly grateful and give thanks to God for you and for your people.

As recently as Palm Sunday you were yourself the victim of a terrorist attack while at worship in Alexandria. During Holy Week I was struck by the outpouring of messages of support for you and for your brothers and sisters, from all over the world.  Not only from Christians, but from many other people of good will. I began my Easter sermon this year by speaking of the Christians in Egypt.

Your Holiness, I have been profoundly grateful, during my time as Archbishop, for the fellowship I have enjoyed with His Grace Bishop Angaelos, who has been a great support, and more than a support: an advocate, and a visionary leader in the ecumenical life of the churches of this country. He has been a co-president with me of Churches Together in England, and a good friend to me, to my family and indeed to the whole Church of England.

In a while, we will go to Westminster Abbey for evensong, where we will have an opportunity to pray together for the church and for the world, for each other and for our brothers and sisters throughout the world. In this prayer, we will express our unity as brothers in Jesus Christ, while recognising that we have differences; but these are differences that we continue to address through our mutual dialogue.

I am very pleased to be able to offer you a gift as a souvenir or a reminder of your visit. This pectoral cross, part of the insignia of the bishop in the Western Church, is in the shape known as a Canterbury cross, modelled on a cross from Canterbury Cathedral that dates from the 9th century.

Your Holiness, thank you for being here. Thank you for coming with your colleagues. Thank you that today we meet together in the presence of the Spirit of Christ, the risen Christ.

 

 

VIOLENCE TOUCHES HEART OF LONDON: CEC GRIEVES LOSS OF LIFE

The Conference of European Churches issued this statement on Thursday 23 March:

Yesterday, while many in Europe were commemorating the first anniversary of the Brussels terrorist attacks, another outburst of violence took place very near the Houses of Parliament in central London . The attack, carried out by a sole perpetrator, has left a reported four people dead and many dozens injured.

The Conference of European Churches grieves this loss of life and disruption of peace in the heart of one of Europe's busiest and most vibrant cities where people of different origins and faiths live and work together. We join in prayers for the victims, those who knew and loved them, and for those who selflessly risked their own lives to protect and help others.

"In this solemn season of Lent, we lament the sins of our societies," said CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen. "As we turn our attention toward London, and call for peace, we acknowledge that such violence is an all too common occurrence throughout the world. We must all contribute to societies where inclusion and harmony pervade." So far in March alone, terrorist and other acts of violence have claimed hundreds of lives in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, India, and elsewhere.

In responding to these events from his home in England, CEC President Rt Revd Christopher Hill said , "I heard of the terrible attack on my car radio not long after it had happened. I did not need pictures of it as I have walked over Westminster Bridge and into Parliament itself so many times.  My heart grieves for those who have been killed or maimed, whether tourists or Londoners and Police Constable Keith Palmer stabbed by the assailant.  While it is too early yet to know the motives for this apparently fanatical attack, all the people of Europe are at one with the UK in their shared suffering, not least France, Belgium, and Germany where they too have known the cost in terms of human lives in such attacks."

This statement appeared on

http://www.ceceurope.org/violence-touches-heart-of-london-cec-grieves-loss-of-life

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY HOSTS DELEGATION FROM THE ORTHODOX CHURCH OF GREECE

 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, hosted a delegation from the Orthodox Church of Greece at Lambeth Palace this month.

Archbishop Justin welcomed the delegation, which comprised representatives of His Beatitude Hieronymos II, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, and members of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece, to Lambeth on Monday 20 March.

The two-day visit, which concluded on the morning of Wednesday 22 March was a celebration and affirmation of the relationship between the Church of England and the Church of Greece down the centuries and into the present. It also provided a springboard for more intimate and deeper working relationships in the future.

The programme aimed to help members of both churches learn more about each other's situations and share good practice in areas of common concern - including poverty, homelessness, youth employment, austerity, migration and refugees, and European uncertainty. It included opportunities for the Greek delegation to see the work of local churches and church schools.

At St Gabriel's College, Camberwell and at St Peter's CE School in Walworth, delegates were able to experience the work of Church of England supporting families and communities facing immediate problems of poverty, social exclusion and housing needs.

The two delegations were able to share the experiences of churches in London and Athens working in partnership with charity and community organisations to serve the most needy in society. St Gabriel's College is one of the first 'Refugees Welcome' schools. 

During their visit, some of the delegation also met with resident members of the Community of St Anselm, the monastic-inspired community for young Christians of different denominations from around the world based at Lambeth Palace, which was founded by Archbishop Justin in September 2015. The residents told the delegation about their shared life of prayer, study and service among the most vulnerable in society, and learned about the Greek delegation's long experience of social engagement steeped in monastic traditions.

The Archbishop of Athens' delegation was HE Metropolitan Athenagoras; HE Metropolitan Gabriel; Mr Constantine Dimtsas; Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis and the Revd Deacon Alexios Kourtesis.

The Archbishop of Canterbury's delegation comprised Bishop Nigel Stock; Bishop Christopher Chessun; Bishop Jonathan Goodall; the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw and the Revd Dr Will Adam.

Welcoming the delegation, Archbishop Justin noted the pressures that the economic uncertainty of the last decade has placed on the people served by their respective churches. He also spoke of how much of the pressure of receiving many thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing war in the Middle East has fallen on Greece.

The Archbishop said: "Your Eminences, dear friends, we are here in these challenging times as brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ. The blessed Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Philippians 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me.'  As we face challenges together in Christ we hear the words of his apostle echoing across the continents and down the centuries. We can do all things in Christ, who strengthens us in his service.

"Your visit to us is a joy. We pray that God would bless us and, in his reconciling love for us, draw us ever closer in fellowship as we seek to do his will."

On the Monday, Archbishop Justin joined the delegation for a service of Choral Evensong at Southwark Cathedral. During the service a greeting from the Archbishop of Athens was delivered by Metropolitan Athenagoras.

Responding to the message, Archbishop Justin spoke of the shared understanding among Anglican and Orthodox churches that "human beings are created according to the image of divine Trinitarian love" and of "our call to relate to others in accordance with their full worth".

Quoting from the 2015 'Buffalo Statement' by the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, Archbishop Justin said this understanding "entails from time to time the call 'to take prophetic and practical action in relation to the critical issues facing our societies.'"

He added: "This is a difficult task. And I pray that we might continue to pray for one another, to talk to one another and to support one another in our ministry to help those most in need."

On Tuesday at Lambeth Palace, Archbishop Justin introduced a seminar called 'Serving the common good in a time of austerity and uncertainty', highlighting some of the social and economic challenges that the Church of England is involved in tackling. The Greek delegation gave a presentation on their country's own social and economic challenges and how the Church there is responding.

The seminar was attended by representatives of Christian agencies and social care policy bodies and provided an opportunity for people and organisations operating in similar fields to meet together. The Greek delegation asked for prayer for Greece as it faces a continued economic crisis and for practical support for the work of the church in helping those at the margins of Greek society and the thousands of refugees still arriving daily.

Details from:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5849/archbishop-of-canterbury-hosts-orthodox-church-of-greece-delegation-at-lambeth-palace

 

REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY - THE STORYMOBILE COMES TO ENGLAND

Reformation Roadmap visits England Tuesday 21 February to Saturday 25 February

The Reformation Roadmap 'storymobile' visited England in February 2017  with three cities in its itinerary: Liverpool on Tuesday 21 February, Cambridge on Thursday 23 February and London (Trafalgar Square) on Saturday 25 February.

A full day of events at Cambridge on 23 February included a symposium at St Edward's Church on the theme 'Reformation then and now', with a presentation from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams of Oystermouth.

The Storymobile tells the story of Reformation across Europe and down the centuries. Using a variety of today's communications methods, just as Luther exploited the social media of his time (print and pamphlets), it will gather in stories from the communities it visits about how they understand and interpret the Reformation. Stories will be collected during the visit or in advance via www.facebook.com/counciloflutheranchurches. The resulting stories, images and videos will be displayed in Berlin this summer.

The Storymobile moved on to Viborg in Denmark.

The stops planned for the later part of its journey are:

March

 Bergen Norway

Västerås Sweden

Turku Finland

Riga Latvia

Wuppertal Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)

Bremen Germany (Bremen - Oldenburg)

Wilhelmshaven Germany (Lower Saxony)

Emden Germany (Lower Saxony)

Deventer Netherlands

 

April

 

Dordrecht Netherlands

Strasbourg France

Speyer Germany (Rhineland - Palatinate)

Coburg Germany (Bavaria - Upper Franconia)

Augsburg Germany (Bavaria)

Nuremberg Germany (Northern Bavaria)

Torgau Germany (Northwestern Saxony Nordsachsen)

Berlin Germany

Kiel Germany (Schleswig - Holstein)

Detmol Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)

Lemgo Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)

 

May

 

Eisenach Germany (Thuringia)

Marburg Germany (Hessen)

Herborn Germany (Hesse)

Kerkwitz Germany (Lower Lusatia)

Wroclaw Poland

Zwickau Germany (Saxony)

Bernburg Germany (Saxony - Anhalt)

Lutherstadt Wittenberg Germany (Saxony - Anhalt)

 

The roadmap details can be found at:

 

https://r2017.org/en/european-roadmap/

 and distinctive connections between each city and the Reformation movement referred to.

More details can be found at:

 https://r2017.org/en

The link for the UK Reformation Anniversary website is:

 http://www.reformation500.uk/anniversary.htm

 

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland are centrally involved in the Reformation Anniversary programme in the Four Nations. For the details they are providing see:

 https://ctbi.org.uk/church-commemorates-500th-anniversary-of-reformation

REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY - GENERAL SYNOD MOTION

On Monday 13 February General Synod passed a motion in the following form, on a motion moved by the Bishop of Coventry and including an amendment moved by the Revd Angus MacLeay of Rochester.

"That this Synod, in the context of the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the European Reformation and the Church of England's understanding of the doctrine of justification as expressed in our historic formularies:

(a)    Give thanks to God for the rich spiritual blessings that the Reformation brought to the Church of England

(b)   welcome signs of convergence between the churches on the doctrine of salvation, noting Resolution 16.l7 of the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016 regarding the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification and its relation to the Helsinki Report and ARCIC II's Salvation and the Church; and

(c)    commend initiatives in this anniversary year to foster mutual understanding and reconciliation between churches, for the sake of our deeper renewal in the grace of God and our ability to share the gospel of salvation with all the world."

ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA - RECOGNITION OF ORDERS

On 3 February 2017 the Church of England's Council for Christian Unity published a statement on the recognition of the orders of the Anglican Church in North America. To read the statement click here.

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY

REFORMATION THEME IN CHURCHES IN GERMANY

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 (ACK).

As 2017 marks the 500th Anniversary year 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", says Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) director of Faith and Order, "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 practice 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 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 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 organizing the Week, coordinated by the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which have jointly prepared and published the resources since 1968.

Revd Dr 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."

Information from World Council of Churches website at

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/unity-prayers-to-recall-reformation-celebrate-reconciliation

 

REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY AND YORK

 On Tuesday 17 January the Archbishops of Canterbury and York made a statement about the Reformation Anniversary. The Statement can be read on their websites at:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5826/reformation-anniversary-statement-from-the-archbishops-of-canterbury-and-york

http://www.archbishopofyork.org/articles.php/3579/statement-from-the-archbishops-of-canterbury-and-york

 

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY'S ECUMENICAL CHRISTMAS LETTER

Christmas 2016, Lambeth Palace, London

Greetings in the name of Jesus, the Word made flesh who by the action of God and the obedience of His blessed Mother, the God bearer, came to dwell among us, Emmanuel.

In November, I visited Pakistan to express solidarity with Christian communities across the country, which have suffered much over recent years. We remember the slaughter of innocent worshippers on Easter Sunday 2016 in Lahore, and before that the attack on worshippers in Peshawar at Christmas 2013 and many other incidents. Such attacks are not only designed to inflict appalling suffering but also to sow fear in the heart of Christian, and other minority communities. During the visit I spoke with some of the survivors of these attacks, and I was deeply moved and humbled by their extraordinary courage in continuing to be faithful witnesses of Jesus. They spoke of knowing now more than ever that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

In many parts of our troubled, uncertain world, Christian minority communities along with other minorities are being similarly targeted. In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely. These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account. Yet although so vulnerable and often forgotten and marginalised, our brothers and sisters are being courageous in the Lord. Indeed, 'God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong' (1 Corinthians 1.27).

In other places conflict and corruption have become so normal that the world forgets the suffering of the poor.

I ask your prayers for those of us who live in safety that we may not be bystanders afar off, beating our breasts as we retire to the security of our homes, but that we may draw nearer to the cross of Jesus, stand there alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and be ready to take our part in practical action for change. I pray that Christ will strengthen all his people in our inner being with power through the Holy Spirit to be faithful, to have courage and to live in hope.

More than ever we need Christ like communities proclaiming the good news of the gospel in word and action. In many countries there is no persecution but there is apathy and complacency which leads us, in the striking words of Pope Francis, to be practical atheists.

The measure of a Christ-like community is the extent to which it holds the vulnerable and marginalised of the world at the centre of its life. Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, helped the Primates of the Anglican Communion to see this at our meeting in January this year. He has said elsewhere: 'To live with Jesus is to live with the poor, to live with the poor is to live with Jesus' (Community and Growth 1989).

More than ever, we have a strong sense of the unity of Christians. God hears the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ that we 'may be one, so that the world may believe that you have sent me' (John 17. 21) and even now is fulfilling his prayer. While we are deeply conscious today of the ecumenism of blood, we also live in the ecumenism of hope and we are called to an ecumenism of action. To live with the vulnerable and marginalised, with Jesus Christ at the centre of our communities and at the heart of our ecumenical relations, to act together out of love and in love, love that is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is also to live as those who sow hope. Jesus said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life' (John 8.12). John the Evangelist, in words that will be heard in many of our churches during the forthcoming Christmas season, also strengthens us with this message: 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it' (John 1.5).

In our common celebration of the light of Jesus coming into the world, may we then encourage and build up one other, and so may the Church in every place, united in suffering and in hope, shine with his light and act with his strength, today.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury

ARCHBISHOP AND MODERATOR SIGN COLUMBA DECLARATION

 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Russell Barr, signed the Columba Declaration on Monday 28 November.

The Declaration marks the Church of England and the Church of Scotland's mutual acknowledgment of each other as 'belonging to the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and truly participating in the apostolic ministry and mission of the whole people of God.'

Among the mutual commitments the Churches make in the Declaration, all building on the foundational one: 'We commit ourselves to grow together in communion and to strengthen our partnership in mission.'

The signing took place during a ceremony at Crown Court Church in central London.

CAMBRIDGE SEMINAR ON REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY

On the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, the Church of England and the Council of Lutheran Churches invite interested people to a seminar moderated by Rt Rev Nick Baines (Bishop of Leeds), with a keynote address by The Right Revd and Rt Hon Lord Williams of Oystermouth (former Archbishop of Canterbury) on Reformation - Then and Now.

The date will be Thursday 23 February 2017 and the location the Church of St Edward King and Martyr, Peas Hill, Cambridge CB2 3PP (near the Market Place).

Responses will be given by two younger Anglican and Lutheran theologians, before the discussion is opened to all participants.

Musical interludes will be performed by the London German Choir. All are very welcome and encouraged to participate!

Registration via Eventbrite at link below:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/reformation-then-and-now-tickets-28522580807

 

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN PREACHES AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL AT VESPERS AND CLOSING OF THE DOOR OF MERCY

Cardinal Vincent Nichols was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, for the closing of the Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral on Sunday, 13 November. Archbishop Welby preached for the first time in Westminster Cathedral at the service of Vespers. Also present were bishops from England and Wales, members of the Chapter of Canons, and ecumenical guests.

In his homily, Archbishop Welby reflected on how the Year of Mercy has "caught the imagination, not only in the Catholic Church, but in all churches and far beyond.. "Mercy" he continued, "is the gift that goes on giving.. that dissolves the hardness of hearts."

Archbishop Welby explained that a Door of Mercy 'calls us back to receive mercy by grace and to be people of mercy'. Drawing a parallel with the door in the wardrobe of the Narnia series of books, he explained that Doors of Mercy open to us a different world, the Kingdom of God.

Cardinal Nichols expressed his joy of welcoming Archbishop Welby to this celebration before they jointly gave the final blessing.

The Door of Mercy at Westminster Cathedral was opened by Cardinal Nichols on 13 December 2015 and has remained open throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy, receiving pilgrims from around the country. The Jubilee Year will conclude on Sunday 20 November when Pope Francis will close the Holy Door at St Peter's Basilica.

ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN WELCOMES PATRIARCH KIRILL TO LAMBETH PALACE

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to Lambeth Palace on Tuesday 18 October for a private visit. Archbishop Justin was accompanied by a delegation that included the Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London.

Patriarch Kirill arrived in the United Kingdom on Saturday at the invitation of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh in Great Britain, which is celebrating 300 years of the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in this country.

Before arriving at Lambeth Palace,  Patriarch Kirill had an audience with Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, at which the Archbishop and the Bishop of London were present.

The visit represents the first time that Archbishop Justin and Patriarch Kirill have met, but it is the second time a Patriarch of Moscow and an Archbishop of Canterbury have met at Lambeth Palace in recent times. The first meeting was that of Archbishop Michael Ramsey with His Holiness Alexey I in 1964.

The relationship between the two churches has been continuous for more than three centuries, through some very difficult times as well periods when the two countries have stood side by side. This relationship has been cemented through many personal contacts and through the spiritual and cultural interchange which has enriched both churches.

After welcoming Patriarch Kirill and his delegation to Lambeth Palace, Archbishop Justin had a personal conversation with Patriarch Kirill. Uppermost in the conversation was their shared compassion for Christian, and other, minorities in many parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, where they have been systematically targeted and persecuted and their communities decimated.

Conversation also touched upon the concerns and challenges that their two churches face in the present time in their different contexts; including the challenge of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ in a secular culture; the witness of the Church in serving the poor and marginalised in our societies and addressing the needs of migrants and refugees.

They also spoke of the importance of the Church as the keeper of tradition - that is, the wisdom of the past, living in the present.

It was acknowledged that tensions currently exist between the Governments of their two countries. Archbishop Justin and Patriarch Kirill agreed that the first loyalty of the Christian Church is to the Lord Jesus Christ, and they affirmed that reconciliation was the key ministry of the Church in situations of conflict.

In faith, hope and love, founded on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Churches have been a bridge of friendship between the two countries for more than three centuries. The meeting today, and indeed the whole visit of Patriarch Kirill, is a historic event in the development of that relationship, which they pray will be nurtured and sustained through continued spiritual, cultural and personal interchange between their churches.

The two delegations met together over lunch for informal conversation. The Patriarch presented to the Archbishop an icon of the protective veil of the Blessed Mother of God. Patriarch Kirill was presented with a specially bound album of the Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library.

The visit to Lambeth Palace was the final engagement of Patriarch Kirill's visit to the UK.

On Sunday 16th October, Patriarch Kirill reconsecrated the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition in Ennismore Gardens, which was attended by Archbishop Justin and the Bishop of London.

 

BISHOP ANGAELOS SPEAKS AT COPTIC NEW YEAR SERVICE

Bishop Angaelos used the annual Coptic New Year service in Westminster Abbey to remind Christians of their "responsibility to proclaim the good news, to set captives free and to be light and sight to those who may live in darkness and blindness".

The general bishop of the Coptic Church in the UK said it had been a "challenging" year in the ceremony last week. Messages from the Prime Minister Theresa May and the Archbishop of Canterbury were also delivered to the congregation that included MPs, peers and government officials.

Bishop Angaelos was joined by peers, MPs and officials at the service in Westminster Abbey last week.

"Today as we start this year, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon us'; we are anointed, mandated and sent into this world as hope, light and promise," said Angaelos. "It is God in us who enables us to do this, and so today we really do stand together in this sacred place, with the saints, in unity of heart. Let nothing take that away from us, and let nothing defeat that spirit that allows us to defeat all that seeks to silence us."

Justin Welby paid tribute to the Copts in a message delivered by the Rt Revd Nigel Stock, the Bishop at Lambeth:  "Thank you for your friendship in the gatherings of Church leaders of this country and your willingness to be so constructive in relationships between Churches".

"I hope and pray that we can increase the love and understanding between our churches that we may draw nearer to our Lord's desire that 'all may be one'."

Lord Bourne, the minister responsible for faith, spoke at the service and thanked Angaelos for his "tireless work" for Christians in Egypt and elsewhere who suffer for their faith. "Our communities here do not live in isolation from events abroad and sadly prejudices and fears do not stop at borders," he said.

"As the Integration and Faith Minister, I am committed to improving our communities, to ensuring that bridges are built between communities and that this is a country for everyone. I make that oath to you tonight and ask you to join me in committing to fight to ensure that marginalised voices are heard and that people can follow their faith or belief free from fear, no matter where they live."

Most Christians in Egypt are Coptic Orthodox and they are believed to make up between six and ten per cent of the 93 million population.

In the UK there are around 20,000 Copts.


 

______________________________________________________________________
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY WELCOMES PATRIARCH OF SERBIA TO LAMBETH PALACE - DAY TWO
The official visit of His Holiness Irinej, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci, Patriarch of Serbia at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury continued on Friday 14 October at Lambeth Palace.

The visit has been an occasion of significant conversation and warm fellowship between them and their delegations, which signals a renewal of the longstanding and close relationship between the Church of England and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The two delegations reflected together among other things, on the spiritual life of our churches; our work with young people, the poor and refugees; the problems of modern society; the renewal of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the household as the place of spiritual nurture and devotion, following the collapse of communism.

His Grace and His Holiness discussed tangible ways of expressing the renewal of relationships in better communications and exchange of people in the areas in which both churches are called by God to serve their people. Progress will be determined but measured.

His Holiness continued to  St Paul's Cathedral later in the day to preach at a service of Evensong, in celebration of the centenary of the sermon of St Nicolai Velimirovic in St Paul's in the darkest days of the First World War.

From there His Holiness  continued his visit with engagements with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Britain.

 

 


ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY WELCOMES PATRIARCH OF SERBIA TO LAMBETH PALACE - DAY ONE

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed His Holiness Irinej, Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci, Patriarch of Serbia, and a delegation from the Serbian Orthodox Church to Lambeth Palace on Thursday 13 October.

Archbishop Justin Welby invited His Holiness Irinej to make an official visit to the UK as an expression of the historic warm and strong relationship between the Church of England and the Serbian Orthodox Church, which reflects the enduring friendship of the two countries.

The visit is also an opportunity to celebrate the centenary of the visit of St Nicolai Velimirovich, when he became the first Orthodox Christian to preach from pulpit of St Paul's Cathedral.

This anniversary will be marked at Evensong at St Paul's on Friday 14 October , at which His Holiness Irinej will preach, at the invitation of the Dean of St Paul's.

 

 

Read the Archbishop's official welcome to His Holiness Patriarch Irinej:

Your Holiness, I have great pleasure and it's a great privilege to welcome you and your delegation to Lambeth Palace today.

I find it very moving to have learned more of the long history of friendship between the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Church of England. I am particularly conscious that this is the 100th anniversary of the extraordinary moment when St Nicolai Velimirovich, as a young priest monk, visited England and made a big impact on so many people. Perhaps I can quote a particularly powerful passage from that deeply inspiring sermon. He said:

"I am coming from Serbia, from European 'midnight'. There is no ray of light, not a single trace. All the light went from the ground to the sky and the sky is the only place where the light is coming from. Nevertheless, we that are weak in everything are strong in faith and hope that dawn will soon arrive."

Tomorrow evening, Your Holiness will preach at St Paul's, an occasion that will be full of emotion and memory. On this occasion, far from this being a new thing, we have memories of the extraordinary hospitality and your welcome to the Anglican community in Serbia for a hundred years. I think, particularly, of your wonderful welcome to my Apokrisarios and the annual welcome on Christmas Eve to the Anglican community in your own Patriarchal chapel.

Once again, today, Serbia finds itself on the frontier of Europe, facing the countless tens of thousands driven by darkness from their own homes. And, tragically, as in the past, Europe has not, in a united way, risen to this challenge, and Serbia has had to bear a great burden - and the Orthodox Church has demonstrated, again, its faithfulness.

But there is more light than a hundred years ago. The reconciling light of Christ has shone across Europe for much of the last decades. Under your leadership the Serbian Orthodox Church has played a great role in building the nation.

In your Patriarchal ministry you have been a tireless advocate for peace and stability, and the deep strength of the Serbian Orthodox Church in prayer and religious community - a strength recognised by His Royal Highness Prince Charles.

Your commitment to reconciliation and the work of your church in catechesis, and in the training of Christians to know their faith and to be inhabited by the Spirit of Christ: all these are an inspiration and challenge to us.

We are most grateful for your visit. I am sure we will learn much from you and deepen our friendship in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Read His Holiness Patriarch Irinej's response to Archbishop Justin:

Your Grace, I am grateful for these wonderful words which you have put across to me. Most of all thank you for convening this meeting in regard to a wonderful occasion, that you have found it fit and right to invite us to visit you, to discuss many problems which touch upon what is important to both our churches and nations - and to thus speak to each other as children of God and as brothers in Jesus Christ.

Thank you for offering the opportunity to mark one very important moment in the life of the monk priest Nicolai Velimirovic, in regard to the famous sermon that he gave at St Paul's Cathedral. And, as you know, in this sermon he makes mention of the so-called Tower of Skulls, a magnificent temple built on human bones, which is located in the city of Niš. The city in which Emperor Constantine was born. The city in which I presided as bishop for 30 years.

It is from Niš that I was transferred to Belgrade, to my quite deep regret. For although I was not born in Niš, nor in the vicinity of Niš, I grew to love this city and its people, who for a long time now have been living in quite a lot of hardship, but they have kept the faith. It's a people who have displayed tremendous love towards the church, and therefore it is a people where I have found myself to be with my own.

I am very glad and it makes me very happy, I am honoured that I am sitting together with my brothers Arch Hierarchs, in this great place where you, Your Grace, are the host. And not only the keeper of this important institution but also the host to all of us, our people as well as our church.

It has a positive view towards a very great state with its mighty history and culture. And it was Nicolai Velimirovic who revealed this magnificent history and culture to us as the church of the Serbian nation. He loved this country and this nation. He loved the culture of this nation. He loved many of its people and some of them were very significant: not only persons of importance to local history, but to the global world culture.

And, speaking as one of his successors, it is he who has drawn our attention towards England. From then onwards - and I believe that we have people who have become aware of England of course at an earlier date as well - our nation has nurtured a very friendly relationship, reaching out to the English nation, as was especially manifest during the First World War, during which Nicolai spoke a lot in London, in England, and got many doctors, nurses and other people from this city and nation interested in us, who helped us a great deal during the Great War.

It is with special respect that we remember particularly the doctors and the nurses of your nation who rushed to a deeply wounded nation to help. In doing so they made tremendous sacrifices, and some of them laid down their lives in Serbia for Serbia. Some of them were shot by the forces of the then so-called Austria-Hungary, another significant number died through typhoid. It was the plague of the times, indeed among the people and the army many died. And I would like to reiterate that many of those who died of typhoid were precisely the people involved in medical treatment. This has bonded our nation forever to England.

Later on, accordingly, our history remained in the same line that was opened and traversed by the English nation. We are also aware of the role that Britain played in the Second World War, receiving our government in exile - residing in London for a time - as well as the established royal House. And all of that has grown deep roots into the body of our relations.

It is true, shall we say, that in the recent period we were overcast by certain shadows. This is the period of the 1990s, when, to our big surprise, England joined the other countries of Europe in the bombing campaign over Serbia from which we suffered a lot of hardship and pain in many fields. Nonetheless, I do hope that this is just a cloud which will soon enough be expelled by some other wind from the field of our relationships.

I do hope that this visit of ours transpires in such a spirit and retains such a direction. That is why we are here and that is why we shall speak. And we shall, thus, try to realise that which is the thought and that which is the deed of the church of Christ, namely to build peace amongst nations, and, following closely your own programme, we shall work for peace amongst the churches, and, of course, amongst different religions as well.

We should and we must understand we are the children of the church, and most of all and firstly we are children of God - as well as all the other people who exist on this planet. Therefore we have a duty towards our own selves but also to others to point and indicate what is the meaning of the gospel of Christ.

In today's times, which are saturated with confusion and unrest, and also by crimes committed in the world, we need to introduce a new spirit into the relationships between states and peoples, and to persevere in continuance to Christ's reason for entering into this world. It is precisely there where the churches have the greatest and most important role to play.

This is why we must seek ways which allow us to approach each other more closely, to put aside that which possibly divides us and makes us become distant. But at the same time to build from within that which is common to us - and indeed there is much in common between you and us, both of us and the Roman Catholics, and, of course, the Protestant world.

It is on that foundation that we need to build our common relationships. I trust this is the will of God, and that this is what God expects from us. This is why we need to be servants of the mission, of evangelisation in our times and in our world.

 


 

MEISSEN AGREEMENT: MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY ON THE OCCASION OF THE COMMEMORATION OF 25 YEAR SINCE THE SIGNING

THURSDAY 25 AUGUST 2016

 

With joy I write these few words in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as we celebrate 25 years of the signing of the Meissen Agreement in 1991.

Since the call of Archbishop Robert Runcie in 1983 for reconciliation between the German churches and the Church of England, substantial progress has been made to strengthen relationships between our two churches. Let me briefly recall: Archbishop Runcie's visit in the year that commemorated the five hundredth birthday of Martin Luther was to the separated churches of East and West Germany. On the day set aside to mourn the destruction caused in Dresden by the Allied Forces, Archbishop Runcie also called to memory the destruction by the German Luftwaffe to the city of Coventry. All the more was he moved by the friendship, hospitality as well as the yearning for peace in the hearts and minds of the German people. On his return to England he initiated official discussions between our churches on a journey towards reconciliation and mutual recognition. The intense and hope filled exchange that followed finally led to the signing of the Meissen Agreement between the Church of England and the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland in 1991. One of the goals of Meissen is the full visible unity between our churches. This goal has allowed the development of significant relationships between our two churches at every level and remains a model for other ecumenical agreements. The remembrance of that initiative which led to the signing of the Agreement is an important reminder that the churches are at times called to set the agenda and take the lead in matters of unity and reconciliation.

 

Over the years parishes and dioceses have created vibrant partnerships, and exchanges between them have proved fruitful. Our churches and individuals have learned to look at their faith and the life of their parish through different eyes. What is currently being experienced between our churches is a programme which could be called 'Mission Interchange'. Our churches have therefore come a long way, and I am grateful to God for his continuing mercies on this journey.

 

It is recognised that the Meissen Commission has produced some significant theological work in the past. It has focussed on the missionary dimension of ecclesiology with the goal of finding common approaches for Christian witness in Europe's process of transformation. It's most recent theological conference on the theme Reformation Then and Now - Anglican and Protestant Perspectives is to be published soon, and I am indeed grateful for this valuable resource as a Meissen launch into the Reformation commemoration year 2017. It is a valuable resource, reflecting on how our memory of the past can positively influence and creatively shape the future.

 

As I have mentioned before, the agenda of this ecumenical relationship would fall short of meeting the challenges of our day if its concerns remain limited to the status of our churches in relation to each other. And I know that in the work of the Meissen Commission, and especially its theological reflections this has not been the case. Today, in the face of severe crises in our world, causing dire suffering to untold human lives, we need to seek, more than ever, a common voice and an agreed strategy of action. First and foremost we are confronted with the plight of huge numbers of refugees fleeing regions of conflict, repression and dire economic privation. The contribution of the German Church and society in this connection has and continues to be one of great compassion, service and witness. It does not leave us unmoved and has been an inspiration to many of us in the work for peace and reconciliation between peoples and nations.

 

As we celebrate 25 years of Meissen and plan the 500th anniversary of the Reformation I pray that we continue in our efforts to build a confident church in a pluralistic and troubled Europe across all barriers. I thank all those who have contributed to the development and success of the relationship between our two churches. In particular I thank the two Co-Secretaries, the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel and OKR Revd Christoph Ernst for their tireless work.

 

I wish the Meissen Commission and its Co-Chairs, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds and Landesbischof Ralf Meister every success as they continue to lead the Commission.

 

May the presence and the love of Christ be with you all, and may His Spirit guide you.

 

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby

Archbishop of Canterbury

 

This statement appears on the Archbishop of Canterbury's website at

 

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5764/archbishop-sends-message-on-25th-anniversary-of-meissen-agreement

 

 

CTE PRESIDENTS' STATEMENT FOLLOWING MURDER OF FATHER JACQUES HAMEL

Archbishop Justin and the other five Presidents of Churches Together in England released a statement on Wednesday 27 July following the killing on Tuesday 26 of Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen, France.

After news of the attack broke  Archbishop Justin tweeted:  "Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth and love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. We pray for France, for the victims and for their communities."

"Le mal attaque les plus faibles, nie toute vérité et amour, est vaincu par Jésus. Prions pour la France, ses victimes et ses communautés."

Read the CTE Presidents statement below:

We are deeply saddened to learn of the brutal murder of our brother, 84-year old priest, Fr Jacques Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Rouen, France. That a man of peace who had dedicated his life to serving people could be killed during Mass is testimony to the evil that drives the actions of those who commit such a crime. We offer our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and parishioners. We pray for the wellbeing of those who were taken hostage, their families and the entire community served by Fr Jacques; indeed we pray for the peace of France, Europe, the Middle East and the world for which Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave his own life.

We call upon all people of goodwill to pray and work for justice and peace. In particular, we implore everyone to help people everywhere to pursue the path of peace and human flourishing - which is the will of Creator God.

The Presidents of Churches Together in England
27 July 2016

  • Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
  • Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator
  • HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, The President for the Orthodox Churches
  • The Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, The President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends (ie the Quakers) and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
  • Bishop Dr Eric Brown, The Pentecostal President

EU REFERENDUM: MESSAGE TO EUROPEAN ECUMENICAL PARTNERS

Following the result of the recent EU Referendum Bishop Donald Allister, Chair of the Council for Christian Unity sent this message to leaders of mainland European churches with which the C of E has formal ecumenical agreements:

"As you will doubtless have heard, the result of the UK referendum has been a vote to leave the European Union. While this will have far-reaching implications for the future political relations of our country, may I reassure you that it does not in any way affect the relationships that the Church of England has nurtured over many years with the churches of Continental Europe, relationships that in many cases predate the formation of the European Union or indeed Britain's membership of the European Economic Community. The Diocese in Europe remains an integral part of the life of the Church of England, and we value very much the relationships of formal commitment that we enjoy as a national church with a considerable number of churches on the Continent as well as the rich tapestry of links and exchanges at diocesan and parish level."

HOLY AND GREAT COUNCIL: TRIBUTE FROM CEC

The Conference of European Churches has commended its Orthodox Member Churches for the successful proceedings of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, held on 20 to 25 June in Crete. The Council was an expression of Church unity, and thus of great ecumenical significance.

The Holy and Great Council was the culmination of a century-long process, closely linked with the development of the modern ecumenical movement. The Orthodox church leaders who in the beginning of the 20th century initiated the discussions leading to the Great Council were also among the pioneers of dialogue and cooperation among all Christian churches.

"The Great Council is a remarkable achievement and a sign of God's providence, considering the dramatic times of turmoil and persecution that the Orthodox Church has survived during the past 100 years," reflected CEC General Secretary Fr Heikki Huttunen. "Even now, political conflict and persecution of Christians were acutely present in the background of the Council.

The Holy and Great Council constituted an authentic witness to faith in Christ, announcing the Gospel of faith, hope and love, looking forward to that "day without evening, without succession and without end." It articulated clearly the Orthodox understanding of the Church, herself a Council, established by Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, and it reminded that the Church lives not for herself. She offers herself for the whole of humanity in order to raise up and renew the world into new heavens and a new earth."

Words in italics are quoted from official documents of the Holy and Great Council.

 

ANGLICAN CENTRE IN ROME 50th ANNIVERSARY SERVICE

 

On Tuesday 14 June the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey hosted a Choral Evensong with Thanksgiving for the 50th Anniversary of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The Most Revd Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and Roman Catholic Co-Chair of the ARCIC III dialogue read the first lesson from 1 Samuel and the Most Revd Dr David Moxon, Director of the ACR read the second lesson from Ephesians. Joining the Ven Andrew Tremlett in leading intercessions were ACR associates the Revd Marcus Walker, Bridget Moss, Sodiq Abioye, the Revd Roxanne Hunte and the Rt Revd Dr Stephen Platten.

Taking as his text Ephesians 4 1-3 ("making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace") Archbishop Justin described the ACR in his homily as: "a needle to provoke mission, a translator to interpret tongues of difference, a channel of friendship to help share hope and strength, a family to celebrate our call as God's children."

He spoke about the ARCIC dialogue, the IARCCUM practical projects in his closing remarks described the ACR as "the living presence that enables love - that in some sense cannot be fully consummated at present - to be expressed through those from here who go there, and with those in Rome who meet its director and know that we love them, which we do, as individuals and together.

Like the ring given by Pope Paul VI to Archbishop Michael Ramsey, the ACR is worth much but stands for infinitely more. It is essential to our relationship, to knowing the pain of division, to being humble and patient in bearing with one another in love.

Above all it carries the disruption of love, that brings in place of the comfortable complacency of long accustomed distance the ecstasies and agonies of passion and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In its neighbours like Caravita, it finds a reciprocity of affection, which provokes and disrupts disunity."

The Abbey Choir conducted by James O' Donnell sang music by Palestrina, Howells and Jonathan Harvey. The Dean, the Very Revd John Hall, concluded the service with a blessing.

The full text of Archbishop Justin's sermon can be read at:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5737/archbishop-preaches-at-anglican-centre-in-rome-50th-anniversary-service

 

 

 

ANGLICAN CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL: MARGARET SWINSON ELECTED VICE - CHAIR

On Monday 18 April the Anglican Consultative Council at its ACC - 16 meeting in Lusaka elected Margaret Swinson, the Church of England's lay member, by acclamation to be its next vice chair.

Swinson, who was unopposed, will succeed Elizabeth Paver, who is also a Church of England lay member.

Canon Swinson joined the ACC at its 2012 meeting in Auckland and has been a member of the Church of England's General Synod since 1985, including eleven years'  service on the Panel of Chairs. She has also been Vice - Chair of the Council for Christian Unity and a member of the English Anglican - Roman Catholic Committee. Her other areas of involvement have included Church Urban Fund (as Trustee), Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (as Moderator) and Liverpool Cathedral (as Lay  Canon).

Swinson will join Hong Kong Archbishop and Primate Paul Kwong, the newly elected ACC chair, to form the council leadership at the close of the current ACC 16 meeting. Kwong's and Swinson's terms will last until the close of ACC19. The Council normally meets every three to four years.

More details about ACC elections can be read at:

http://episcopaldigitalnetwork.com/ens/2016/04/18/margaret-swinson-elected-as-anglican-consultative-council-vice-chair/

 

BOMB ATTACKS IN BRUSSELS: STATEMENTS BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND THE CONFERENCE OF EUROPEAN CHURCHES

Wednesday 23 March

Responding to events in Brussels on the morning of Tuesday 22nd March, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd Justin Welby said:

In the great Holy Week of Christian prayer and mercy, the Brussels attacks shock all those who seek peace and justice throught the terrible cruelty and utter separation from all that is of God. Once again we see the contrast between the vain efforts to terrify through indiscriminate murder, and the call of God to be those who show mercy, who seek peace and pursue it. Let us at every service this week pray for those caught up in the traumatic events at the airport and in the City of Brussels".

This statement was posted on Archbishop Justin's website:

http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) made this statement on Tuesday 22 March:

"This morning in Brussels rush hour commutes and early morning flights were violently disrupted by multiple attacks, Current reports describe at least 26 deaths as a result of two explosions at Brussels Airport, and further explosions at a metro station in the core of the European Union district.

The Conference of European Churches grieves this loss of life and disruption of peace. We condemn the violent attacks and urge for peaceful responses in the hours and days that follow. We pray for those who have lost their lives, their families and communities, and for the people who risk their own safety for the sake of helping others.

"In this season of Lent and Holy Week, we lament such outbursts of violence," said CEC General Secretary Fr Heiki Huttunen. "As we heal together as inhabitants of Brussels and Europe - and brothers and sisters in humanity - we need to find our way anew, and must all contribute to building societies where everyone feels secure and partakes of the common good."

The Conference of European Churches asks that our Member Churches and all people of goodwill think of Brussels, Belgium, and Europe, and pray for peace."

The statement will be posted on CEC's website at www.ceceurope.org

 

FATHER RANIERO CANTALAMESSA PREACHES AT INAUGURATION OF GENERAL SYNOD

 

On Tuesday 24 November Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household, gave the address a Eucharist in Westminster Abbey in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh marking the inauguration of the 10th General Synod of the Church of England.

 

Father Raniero preached on verses from the opening of the Book of the Prophet Haggai on the theme "Rebuild my house".

His address concluded:

"After the people of Israel, in obedience to the prophet's invitation, had returned with renewed fervour to the task of rebuilding the temple, God sent His prophet again, this time with a message full of hope and consolation:

"But take courage now, Zerubbabel - it is the Lord who speaks -, courage, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, high priest; courage, all you people of the country - it is the Lord who speaks. To work! I am with you, the Lord of hosts declares; and my Spirit is present among you. Do not be afraid!" (Hg 2, 4-5).

Zerubbabel was the political leader at the time, and Joshua the religious leader. I believe that the Lord wanted me to be among you today, above all to tell you that He is addressing this same message to you, at the inauguration of your Synod and also in view of the meeting planned for next January between the leaders of the entire Anglican communion: "Take courage, Your Majesty, Sovereign of this nation, courage, Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury, courage Sentamu, Archbishop of York, courage, you bishops, clergy and laity of the Church of England! To work, because I

am with you. Says the Lord!""

 

The full text of the address can be read at:

 

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2015/11/rebuild-my-house-sermon-to-the-general-synod-of-the-church-of-england-by-father-raniero-cantalamessa.aspx

 

PARIS ATTACKS: STATEMENT BY CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP VINGT - TROIS

Churches in France and across the world have been holding vigils and times of prayer in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks in Paris on the evening of Friday 13.

Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris issued this statement on Saturday 14 November (translated into English by Vatican Radio)

"Our city of Paris, our country, was hit last night with particular savagery and intensity. After the attacks of last January, after the attack in Beirut this week and many others in these past months, including in Nigeria and other African countries, our country knows anew the pain of grief and must face the barbarism spread by fanatical groups.

This morning I pray, and invite Catholics of Paris to pray, for those who were killed yesterday and for their families, for the injured and their loved ones and for those who are hard at work assisting them, for the police forces who face formidable challenges, and for our leaders and country, so that together we will remain in unity and peace of heart.

I ask the parishes of Paris to comply strictly with the measures issued by public authorities. I ask them to make today and tomorrow days of mourning and prayer. Sunday evening at 18.30 I will preside at Mass at Notre-Dame de Paris for the victims and their families and for our country; the bell of the cathedral will toll at 18.15. Catholic Television (KTO) will broadcast this Mass, allowing all who wish to join us.

Faced with the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a firm heart, without hatred. May the moderation, temperance and control that has been shown so far, be confirmed in the weeks and months to come; let no one indulge in panic or hatred. We ask that grace be the artisan of peace. We need never despair of peace if we build on justice."

+ Cardinal Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris

For more information see:

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/message-of-archbishop-of-paris

ANGLICAN CONGREGATIONS IN PARIS HOLD SPECIAL ACTS OF WORSHIP ON SUNDAY 15 NOVEMBER

Anglican congregations in the French capital held special acts of worship on Sunday 15 November.

Rev Andrew Bigg, Assistant Priest at St Georges in Rue Auguste-Vacquerie said on Saturday 14 that they would keep the Sunday service as a requiem "and our main prayer is for the family and friends of those who were killed, as well as for good communication and cooperation between the governments of those European countries deemed to be under any threat at this time." Andrew adds; "We are uncertain yet how many people will wish to venture out tomorrow morning but the choir will be singing a requiem setting at short notice and I will modify other parts of the service to reflect this traumatic time."

St Michael's church website states; We mourn that our city is again afflicted by violence, fear and grief. We pray for the thousands who are directly affected - the hundreds of bereaved and those who are gravely injured and traumatized and for the medical teams caring for them today.

The Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe gave eleven interviews on U.K. local radio stations on Sunday 15. His interview on BBC Radio Guernsey can be heard on the Diocese in Europe website at:

http://europe.anglican.org/news/news/post/983-updates-from-our-paris-churches-and-bishopas-interview

 

VISIT OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

At the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew paid a formal visit to Lambeth Palace from November 2-4, 2015. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is based in Istanbul, Turkey, is Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, and occupies the First Throne of the Orthodox Christian Church worldwide. The occasion was in response to Archbishop Justin's visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate last year.

The two leaders presided over ecumenical services filled with symbolic significance, participated in formal functions organized by the Nikaean Club and the Greek Community, and shared private conversations. A service was held at Lambeth Chapel, where the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed His All-Holiness and congratulated him on the twenty-fourth anniversary of his enthronement.

The two leaders prayed for those affected by conflict, persecution, climate change and the refugee crisis. In light of this, they agreed to undertake the joint organization of an international conference in Istanbul next year on overcoming modern slavery and human trafficking.

A choral evensong took place in Westminster Abbey, where the two leaders visited the Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor and blessed the congregation. During the service, the co-chairmen of the International Commission for the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue presented the Archbishop and the Ecumenical Patriarch with a copy of the latest Agreed Statement, entitled In The Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology.

The text celebrates what Anglicans and Orthodox affirm together about the human person, created in 'the Image and Likeness of God' and will form the theological foundation for forthcoming discussions on the practical consequences of these theological presuppositions for addressing the key themes, including the protection of the environment, medical interventions, and questions around family life and ethics.

The programme also included two formal addresses by the Ecumenical Patriarch on the ethical concerns imposed by the ecological plight of the planet and on the current state of relations between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion.

The visit concluded with the recognition that the Common Statement of the two leaders at their first meeting at the Phanar in January 2014 continued to provide the necessary basis and vision for witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ today, and with an invitation extended by His All-Holiness for a joint pilgrimage with the Archbishop of Canterbury to Nicaea and Cappadocia in 2016.

MEISSEN COMMISSION PODCAST BY BISHOP NICK BAINES

The C of E podcast for the week beginning Sunday 11 October includes Bishop Nick Baines speaking about the recent Meissen Commission meeitng in Liverpool. To listen in the podcast link is:

bit.ly/1hs32JU

ANGLICAN AND ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES: AGREED STATEMENT ON CHRISTOLOGY

Historic agreements have been signed between Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches helping to heal the oldest continuing division within Christianity.

An Agreed Statement on Christology, published in North Wales at the beginning of October by the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC), heals the centuries-old split between the Anglican Churches within the family of Chalcedonian Churches and the non-Chalcedonian Churches over the incarnation of Christ.

In addition, the Commission has made substantial progress on issues concerning the Holy Spirit, which have continued to keep the Churches apart over the centuries.

Leading clergy and theologians from both Christian traditions from around the world have been meeting at Gladstone's Library in Hawarden to engage in theological dialogue, while at the same time forging deeper bonds of faith and mutual support.

His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy from the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in Egypt and Co-Chair of the Commission said: "With this agreement we are able to heal the cause of the division between the two families of the churches worldwide which started at Chalcedon.

"There are other things which emerged during the long history since Chalcedon in the fifth century, so we have on our agenda many other topics including the position of the Holy Spirit, which we were able to sign a preliminary agreement on this subject also.

"The publication of our Agreed Statement on Christology is a great outcome of sharing dialogue together. It is a very beautiful piece of theology which is very encouraging and easily understandable to the people and pleasing to the theologians."

The Commission spent a week in North Wales talking and visiting church communities across the Diocese of St Asaph. Speaking during Evensong at St Asaph Cathedral, the Anglican Co-Chair of the Commission, The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, who hosted the visit, said: "It's a privilege to welcome you to this building which has seen worship every day for at least 800 years, although this is a tradition which can be easily matched and bettered by the Churches of the East.

"Ecumenical dialogue can be long, but beneath the process is the love shared between Christians, and it is that love and affection which draws us together and back to dialogue and mutual understanding."

The Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission was established in 2001 to strengthen the relationships between the different Churches and to discuss important theological issues, such as Christology, which divided the Church at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD.

As well as dialogue, the Commission worshipped and prayed, sharing the urgent concerns of members from the Middle East, especially in the critical situations in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and other regions. Metropolitan Polycarp Augin Aydın from the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Netherlands explained why this agreement is important now: "Because of immigration we now find ourselves side by side as neighbours. In the past we used to talk about Eastern and Western Christianity but this is no longer the case. There are Eastern Christians who live in the Western Countries and vice versa. Therefore we have to dialogue with each other and to really learn from one another and to really share our treasures with one another."

For the two Church families this agreement is ground-breaking and could be a model for future ecumenical dialogue. The Very Revd Archimandrite Shahe Ananyan from the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church said: "Every signed ecumenical official document has its difficulties and has its advantages also. This document I think is a model for other Christological dialogues between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches which need to re-start. I think this document could be served as a model for subsequently developed dialogues."

The Commission will meet again in Lebanon from 24-29 October 2016, where it is expected that dialogue on the Holy Spirit will continue.

For more details about the October meeting see:

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2015/10

The text of the Agreed Statement can be read at:

http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/103502/anglican-oriental-orthodox-agreed-statement-on-christology-cairo-2014.pdf

UNITY INDISPENSIBLE TO MISSION: ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN SPEAKS AT CTE FORUM

Archbishop Justin spoke about our unity in Christ on Video to the three hundred people gathered at the Churches Together Forum 2015. Asked if he thought 'Christian Unity is important for mission', he said:

'No. It is not important - it is indispensable.'

To see the full interview with Archbishop Justin, follow this link:

https://vimeo.com/141711240

The Forum was held from 28th to 30th September at the Hayes, Swanwick. Full reports will follow.

 

 

Sharing the Faith at the Boundaries of Unity Anglican - Baptist ConversationsReport Launched at General Synod fringe meeting

"With most ecumenical reports you have to guess at the conversations that lay behind them. This one is different. Here you actually get the conversations, the cut and thrust of debate".

This is the way that Sharing The Faith at the Boundaries of Unity, the new book reporting further conversations between the Baptist Union and the Church of England was introduced at a special launch fringe meeting during the July 2015 General Synod held in York.

While there has been no intentin of working towards any formal union between the two confessions, those participating have believed they have come to a common vision that needs to be shared and tested out among their churches. They have felt that they are indeed "pushing at the boundaries" of what seem posible in their relations; they belive that careful and prayerful attention to this report and its predecessor from 2005  Pushing at the Boundaries of Unity can take Baptists and Anglicans a long way on the path of shared discipleship, worship and mission.

These further conversations continue the motif of "boundaries". Just as the first report broke the mould in its questioning approach, this one breaks it again in presenting conversations. Named people offer their contribution, invite a response, respond to it in turn, and then allow the conversation of the whole group to shape and influence what they had first said. Readers are invited to add their voice to the ongoing conversation. They can do this, for example, by using the popular study guide available for small church groups.

The report begins by asking how we know what the faith is. What part do the Bible, tradition, creeds, historic formulas nad many forms of church teaching paly in telling us what it means to have faith today in the God revealed in Christ through the power of the Spirit? How can we know what the truth of the Gospel is in a late modern world? Do we as Baptists and Anglicans have different ways of knowing what the faith is? Can we learn from each other in our different emphases? These big theological questions are handled in the first part of the report.

Practical questions flow from the theological ones. Three basic questions are considered in the second half of the report:

How do we receive and grow in the faith?

How do we celebrate the faith in worship?

How do we share the faith beyond the walls of the church?

The launch of Sharing the Faith at the Boundaries of Unity brought General Synod members together with ecumenical representatives from Roman Catholic, Methodist, United Reformed, Church of Scotland, Orthodox, Moravian and Black - led churches. Its launch was greeted with much interest and all the copies of the book and study guide were sold out. It seemed that conversation partners were indeed willing to stand at the boundaries of unity, to push them hard and to share the faith.

Sharing the Faith at the Boundaries of Unity can be downloaded free from the Baptists Together website , along with a popular study guide for us in church groups. A printed copy, expanded with extra essays of reflection, can be ordered for £10.00 plus postage from the website of Regent's Park College, Oxford (click on "Centre for Baptist History and Heritage" and "Publications".)

The first report Pushing at the Boundaries of Unity is still available, and can be downloaded for free from the Baptists Together website, along with its own popular study guide for use in church groups.

The Baptists Together website is at http://www.baptist.org.uk

 

 

 

 

GLOBAL THEOLOGICAL ECUMENICAL INSTITUTE 5 TO 13 MARCH 2018 IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA

10 May 2017

The Ecumenical Theological Education (ETE) team at the World Council of Churches has announced the Global Theological Ecumenical Institute taking place from Monday 5 to Sunday 18 March 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania.

 

The Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) 2018 is a global ecumenical short-term study and exposure programme in accompaniment of the World Mission Conference in March 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania.

 

GETI 2018 is the second ecumenical formation programme the World Council of Churches offers alongside one of its major ecumenical events, after the initial GETI at the 10th Assembly 2013 in Busan, South Korea. The participation of young theologians from a variety of countries and church traditions sparked a fresh attention for new forms of experiential theological formation and engagement with the ecumenical movement. GETI 2018 seeks to perpetuate this positive experience.

 

As ecumenical theological education event, GETI 2018 is designed for approximately 120 advanced students in theology and related academic fields with an interest in gaining insights into the ecumenical movement's current debates on understanding and practicing mission in various regions of the world. The student community will be hosted by the Faculty of Theology of the Tumaini University Makumira, a short distance away from the conference venue, outside Arusha.

 

GETI 2018 is engaging with the World Mission Conference's theme Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship. The student participants will explore together on how the Gospel is translated into their different cultures and contexts, and on ways in which they feel called and moved by the Spirit to transform the world. The reflection thereon will be part of a blended study process, which will commence by an e-learning phase a couple of months prior to the event, allowing the student body to familiarise with each other, the purpose and subjects of the programme. This process will be pursued on-site in guided student groups, as well as through the engagement with the local context and the World Mission Conference.

The venue of the World Mission Conference and GETI 2018, Arusha in Tanzania, lends itself for a first-hand experience in one of the most vibrant contexts of world Christianity. In this unique study environment GETI 2018 will offer opportunities for learning contemporary trends in ecumenism, for sharing experiences in a diverse student community and for celebrating

For more information and application form contact ETE@wcc-coe.org

 

  • Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury

  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

  • Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator

  • His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, the President for the Orthodox Churches

  • The Revd Canon Billy Kennedy, The President nominated by the New Churches, the Religious Society of Friends (ie the Quakers) and the Lutheran and German-speaking Churches

  • Bishop Dr Eric Brown, The Pentecostal President

 

(www.cte.org.uk/presidents

SUNDAY 13 AUGUST: PRAYER FOR THE KOREAN PENINSULA
The World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches are calling their member churches to observe, on Sunday 13 August, a "Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula".
The theme of the prayer is based on Romans 14:19: "Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."
Joint prayer is being prepared by the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) from North Korea and the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) from South Korea. Additional liturgical materials are available at: www.oikoumene.org
Parishes and individuals across the world are invited to pray for the reconciliation and healing of the divided Korean peninsula.