His Grace invited to join the Archbishops' Council and Lambeth Palace mission
In February, the Archbishop of Canterbury invited four members of an international ecumenical community to Lambeth Palace in a "radical and exciting step" for Christian unity. Chemin Neuf moved in to live as a praying community at Lambeth Palace. They consist of a married Anglican couple, Ione and Alan Morley-Fletcher; a Lutheran training for ministry, Oliver Matri; and a Roman Catholic consecrated sister, Ula Michlowicz.
Together they share in the daily round of prayer that underpins the (present) Archbishop's ministry, and further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work. The first of three priority areas for Archbishop Justin’s ministry over the coming years is the renewal of prayer and the religious life within the Church.
Recognising that a few eyebrows were raised on what this may possibly mean for the Reformation foundation of the Church of England, His (present) Grace has invited His (former) Grace to join the Archbishhops' Council to take a lead on how best to address the persecution of Christians worldwide, and also to advise on how to achieve renewal of the Church in Western Europe. His (former) Grace is of the view that persecution can be mitigated through diplomacy and sanction, and that renewal begins with prayer and the dedicated life of religious communities.
Remembering that His (present) Grace's inaugural sermon preached a year ago coincided with the commemoration of St Benedict of Monte Cassino and His (former) Grace, His (present) Grace notes:
The more the Church is authentically heeding Jesus’ call, leaving its securities, speaking and acting clearly and taking risks, the more the Church suffers. Thomas Cranmer faced death with Christ-given courage, leaving a legacy of worship, of holding to the truth of the gospel, on which we still draw. I look at the Anglican leaders here and remember that in many cases round the world their people are scattered to the four winds or driven underground: by persecution, by storms of all sorts, even by cultural change. Many Christians are martyred now as in the past.His (former) Grace is deeply moved to accept His (present) Grace's invitation to join the Archbishops' Council and the mission at Lambeth Palace, that in God’s grace we may take a radical and exciting new step of coming to live as a community of prayer, hospitality and learning from history and the deepest levels of theology. His (former) Grace prays that this step of obedience will bear fruit among us, and for the Church.
It has been 458 years since His Grace last set foot in Lambeth Palace, and he is rejoicing over this new endeavour. But the one who is rejoicing most is the Father himself. This is a first step of something new.
The Archbishop’s Chaplain, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, said: “It’s fantastic to have His (former) Grace among us. His presence reminds us that the Church is built on strong foundations – the XXXIX Articles and the Book of Common Prayer. It also reminds that we don’t need to do separately what we can do together – and what we do together, we do better.”