English ARC was established in 1970 as an official dialogue group between the Church of England and the Catholic Church for monitoring and promoting the relationship between the two churches. The group also works together on specific joint projects such as study guides, mapping relationships between the two churches across the country and joint schools. It will also engage with the developing work of the third Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). English ARC is chaired by the Right Reverend Robert Byrne, auxiliary Bishop in the Diocese of Birmingham, and the Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth.
The Committee’s new membership met for the inaugural meeting of the new 5-year term, learning about the role and history of English ARC, its international context alongside bodies such as ARCIC and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), and discussing areas of future work.
The meeting was later joined by 35 former members of English ARC to celebrate this 100th meeting with tea, cake and prosecco. All were warmly welcomed by the Co-Chairs and there were presentations from four former members who spoke of the warmth of friendship, the challenges and the desire to walk forward together that they had experienced whilst serving on the Committee. The celebrations drew to a close joining the Lambeth Palace community in Evening Prayer led by Archbishop Justin Welby. It was a wonderful occasion where members past and present shared stories, greeted old friends, made new ones, and all looked forward to the continued work of English ARC and the strengthening of relationship between the two churches.