REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY - THE STORYMOBILE COMES TO
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
The Storymobile moved on to Viborg in Denmark.
The stops planned for the later part of its journey are:
Wuppertal Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)
Bremen Germany (Bremen - Oldenburg)
Wilhelmshaven Germany (Lower Saxony)
Emden Germany (Lower Saxony)
Speyer Germany (Rhineland - Palatinate)
Coburg Germany (Bavaria - Upper Franconia)
Augsburg Germany (Bavaria)
Nuremberg Germany (Northern Bavaria)
Torgau Germany (Northwestern Saxony Nordsachsen)
Kiel Germany (Schleswig - Holstein)
Detmol Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)
Lemgo Germany (North Rhine - Westphalia)
Eisenach Germany (Thuringia)
Marburg Germany (Hessen)
Herborn Germany (Hesse)
Kerkwitz Germany (Lower Lusatia)
Zwickau Germany (Saxony)
Bernburg Germany (Saxony - Anhalt)
Lutherstadt Wittenberg Germany (Saxony - Anhalt)
The roadmap details can be found at:
and distinctive connections between each city and the
Reformation movement referred to.
More details can be found at:
The link for the UK Reformation Anniversary website is:
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:
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
"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;
(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
ANGLICAN CHURCH IN NORTH AMERICA - RECOGNITION OF
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
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
REFORMATION ANNIVERSARY STATEMENT BY THE ARCHBISHOPS OF
CANTERBURY AND YORK
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:
CANTERBURY'S ECUMENICAL CHRISTMAS LETTER
Christmas 2016, Lambeth Palace,
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
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
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.
Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury
ARCHBISHOP AND MODERATOR SIGN
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
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
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
Musical interludes will be performed by the London German Choir.
All are very welcome and encouraged to participate!
Registration via Eventbrite at link below:
ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN PREACHES AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL AT
VESPERS AND CLOSING OFR 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
Most Christians in Egypt are Coptic Orthodox and they are
believed to make up between six and ten per cent of the 93 million
In the UK there are around 20,000 Copts.
An Anglican Methodist Covenant: Covenant
Are you a lay or ordained person in the Church of England or the
Methodist Church who longs for both churches to move towards fuller
unity in mission, worship and holiness?
Do you have enthusiasm, understanding and commitment to raise
the profile of the Covenant and to champion the work currently
being done to enable both churches to fulfil their commitments to
God and each other?
Initially, we are seeking up to six people from the two churches
to be Covenant Champions in each of nine regions for a term of up
to four years.
You could be one of these in you region and make a significant
difference to how both churches live the Covenant. Your commitment
would be about ten hours a month.
Expressions of interest are invited from lay and ordained
persons in good standing in either the Church of England or the
Closing date: 12 noon on Monday 7 November
There will be interviews on Friday 25 November 2016 in
London and on Fiday 2 December 2016 in Manchester
Further details and application pack, for both Anglican
and Methodist applicants, from:
Development & Personel Office, Methodist Church
House, Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR
Download information from:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Read His Holiness Patriarch Irinej's response to
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
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
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
CTE PRESIDENTS' STATEMENT FOLLOWING MURDER OF FATHER
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
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
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
- 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
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
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.
CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COURSE AT ANGLICAN CENTRE IN
The Anglican Centre in Rome is currently accepting
applications for this year's 'Christian Leaders' course. The course
will take place in Rome from 16-22 October. Archbishop David Moxon,
the Director of the Centre has commented that 'Rome offers a number
of unique and very memorable role models and examples of Christian
leadership in action today. There are also remarkable
opportunities to make first hand contact with sites associated with
the early apostles, Peter and Paul. Rome is witness to a
refreshing and courageous form of papal ministry these days.
A course such as this helps a student learn and grow from this
context.' He also notes that students who participated in the
course last year have reported their appreciation for 'the context,
the action-reflection method, the personal mentoring and the
Further details are available via the centre's website, at
ANGLICAN CENTRE IN ROME 50th ANNIVERSARY
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
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:
THINK PRAY VOTE: EU REFERENDUM RESOURCES FOR
On Thursday 23 June the UK electorate will be asked to answer
the question "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the
European Union or leave the European Union?"
The Think Pray Vote: EU referendum resources for
churches document has been produced by the Methodist, Baptist,
Church of Scotland and URC Joint Public Issues Team as a tool for
churches addressing the referendum and its issues. There are
chapters on the single market, sovereignty and subsidiarity, the
free movement of people, work and benefits, peace and international
relations, care for the environment, and agriculture and food.
There are perspectives from Dr Alison Elliot OBE, Associate
Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the
University of Edinburgh and Dr Andrew Lilico, Chair of Economists
for Britain. The document concludes with suggestions for further
resources and a brief history (with timeline) for the European
Union. This is a large document which can be accessed on the
Joint Public Issues Team website
EUROPE DAY SERVICE AT METHODIST CENTRAL HALL MONDAY 9
This year's Europe Day service was held on Monday 9 May from 5
to 5:45pm in the Chapel at Methodist Central Hall. John Arnold,
formerly President of the Conference of European Churches gave an
address on the theme "Christians and Europe".
There was a collection in aid of the Chernobyl Child Help Line
with reference to the Chernobyl Children's Lifeline.
A copy of John Arnold's address is available on request from
Francis Bassett at firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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
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:
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
THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL: STUDY
COURSE FOR LENT
28 January 2016
This year's Lent Course from Church House Publishing takes its
inspiration from Pope Francis's reflections on mission and
evangelism Evangelii Gaudium.
Written by Dr Paula Gooder (Theologian in Residence at The Bible
Society) The Joy of the Gospel is a six-part
course for parishes and Lent groups. A short film has been
produced and released this week to promote the study guide and is
now available to watch online.
Widely recognised as offering wisdom and vision for all Christians
in a culture that can be hostile to the Church, Evangelii
Gaudium offers a positive and realistic approach to sharing
faith in the modern world. Paula Gooder introduces its key themes
to readers in all denominations and challenges them to consider its
application in their own contexts.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, The Most Reverend
Bernard Longley and the Bishop of Truro, The Right Reverend Tim
Thornton, Co-chairs of the English Anglican-Roman Catholic
Committee, both write in the preface of the study guide about the
impact it will have on deepening relationships between Catholics
In the film, Archbishop Bernard says:
"Paula's background, her scriptural expertise, the way in which
she's presented this material; I think is going to enable groups to
really get to the heart of what Pope Francis is setting out, and I
think we'll see some fruits from this, particularly in coming
together with a joint understanding of the churches mission and
enabling us to look for practical ways of reaching out with the
truth of the Gospel, into the societies where we live and that
we've been called to serve together."
Paula Gooder is an internationally known writer, speaker, educator
and broadcaster. She is a member of ARCIC III and is closely
involved with Anglican-Roman Catholic relations at the
The study guide is available to purchase online as a book or ebook
from Church House Publishing:
The film is available online at:
Free audio files accompanying each session are also available
CHURCH OF ENGLAND ECUMENICAL RELATIONS REPORT
Lambeth Palace and the Council for Christian Unity present their
report on the Church of England's Ecumenical Relations in 2015.
This originates in the annual gathering of the Ecumenical Lead
Bishops at Lambeth Palace each November with the Archbishop of
Canterbury. Its contents provide rich testimony to the C of E's
continuing commitment to seeking the unity of Christ's Church. That
commitment is expressed through activities aimed at sustaining and
growing relationships with a very wide range of churches and with
the Ecumenical Instruments that the C of E supports. This is
interwoven with continuing reflection on the unity that the church
of Christ is called to express.
To read about the developments in C of E Ecumenical Relations in
2015 reported by those leading the contacts and dialogues click here
RECEPTIVE ECUMENISM CONFERENCE SATURDAY 6
The primary ecumenical responsibility is to ask
not "What do the other traditions first need to
learn from us?" but "What do we need to learn from
This is the question asked by Dr Marcus Pound and Professor Paul
Murray as they lead the "Receptive Ecumenism and the Local Church"
conference at St Brandon Church, Brancepath Village, Co Durham on
Saturday 6 February starting 10am and finishing at 3:15pm
North East Churches Acting Together (NECAT) and Durham University's
Centre for Catholic Studies are jointly sponsoring the
Enquiries to email@example.com
PRAYER FOR COMMITMENT FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
God our Father, it is your purpose to bring to bring your whole
creation into full unity in Christ. We commit ourselves to you.
Help us to live for others even as your love includes all: to seek
out from others the truth they have grasped; to trust each other as
fellow - workers in the one community you have given us; to obey
your call to make visible the unity of your Church. Come, Holy
Spirit, help us. Amen.
SALT OF THE EARTH: WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed
from the 18th to the 25th January - the
octave of St Peter and St Paul. However, some areas observe it at
Pentecost or some other time.
Salt of the Earth, the prayer material for 2016, was
prepared for worldwide use by the Christians of Latvia, and adapted
by the Britain and Ireland writers group, based around the verses 1
Peter 2: 9 - 10. Peter's first letter is an encouragement to the
newly baptised to live holy lives and to answer the calling shared
by all the baptised to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord.
Latvia today is a crossroads where Roman Catholic, Protestant
and Orthodox regions meet. Because of this unique location, it is
home to Christians of many different traditions. Gathered by the
Archbishop of Riga members of a variety of church communities and
projects in Latvia were asked to reflect on the chosen theme and
the experience of their work.
The main service is inspired by the verses from Peter's letter
and Jesus' metaphors of salt and light which are important cultural
themes for Latvia. Each of the days has been prepared by one of the
diverse Church communities. The 8 Days are linked principally by
the experience of being a Christian in Latvia.
The Salt of the Earth resources can be downloaded
THE CHURCH TOWARDS A COMMON VISION: CCU STUDY
As part of the follow up to the General Synod debate in July
2015 on the WCC convergence text, The Church: Towards a Common
Vision, the CCU has produced a study resource suitable for
running a 'stand-alone' session, complementing other material that
has been published such as the Study Guide from CTBI.
To view or download the CCU study resource
click on the link here
Information about the WCC document can be found at the WCC
As noted above CTBI have also published a study guide on and
this can be found at:
THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL: SIX
WEEK STUDY COURSE ON EVANGELII GAUDIUM
Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium
has inspired Christians from a wide range of churches around the
world with its deep insights into mission and evangelism. In
The Joy of the Gospel, a six week study course designed
for parishes and Lent groups, Paula Gooder introduces the key
themes of Evangelii Gaudium to readers in all churches and
challenges them to consider its application in their own contexts.
Topics include the Church's Missionary Transformation, the
Proclamation of the Gospel and the Social Dimension of
Paula Gooder is an internationally known writer, speaker,
educator and broadcaster. She is a member of the Anglican Roman
Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III).
The Joy of the Gospel study course is published by
Church House Publishing and available from bookshops price £7:99.
The ISBN number is 978 0 7151 4731 3.
FATHER RANIERO CANTALAMESSA PREACHES AT INAUGURATION OF
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:
PARIS ATTACKS: STATEMENT BY CARDINAL ARCHBISHOP VINGT -
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
"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
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:
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:
VISIT OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
The Commission will meet again in Lebanon from 24-29 October
2016, where it is expected that dialogue on the Holy Spirit will
For more details about the October meeting see:
The text of the Agreed Statement can be read at:
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
To see the full interview with Archbishop Justin, follow this
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
"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
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
The Baptists Together website is at http://www.baptist.org.uk