Unity and Faith during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024
Ecumenical friendships are at the heart of our life across the diocese. This week the Anglican Chaplaincies in Mallorca, Bergen, Bucharest, South Tenerife and Genoa, among others, collectively observed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 – 25 Jan 2024)
This special week provides an opportunity to focus our prayers on Christian unity, as well as speak about and experience Christian unity personally, in our village, town or county as well as engage with what happens at a national level.
This year the theme ‘You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbour as yourself’ (Lk 10:27), and all are encouraged to 'Go and do likewise'.
Both Bishop Robert and Bishop David attended 'Growing Together', a summit to strengthen bonds of friendship and commitment between Catholics and Anglican bishops. The summit was co-chaired by Bishop David, alongside Archbishop Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina, Canada.
After being commissioned by both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop David said: “The IARCCUM Summit is truly a historic gathering of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops coming together for ecumenical dialogue, prayer and commitment. For the bishops attending this week, having their ministry commissioned by both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury is a significant moment. It calls and challenges them to go home and work with colleague bishops, as well as with clergy and parishes to join more profoundly in common mission in our fragmented world, sharing the love of Christ in their communities and taking steps to deepen our fellowship as we journey towards the visible unity which is Christ’s will.”
Picture above: Church of the Resurrection, Bucharest
In Bucharest, the Church of the Resurrection hosted daily services with different denominations. A poignant moment during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was when representatives from various churches drafted a letter in support of Armenians suffering in the conflict in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.
Picture above: Bergen Anglican Church
Meanwhile, in Bergen, the Bergen domkirke menighet and Domprost Gudmund Waaler hosted a special ecumenical service of Holy Communion at the Bergen Cathedral. The event highlighted the faithful partnership in ministry throughout the year, fostering a sense of camaraderie.
In Palma, the Anglican Church of Mallorca hosted an evening ecumenical service. Prayers and hymns were shared as different denominations gathered to share in the spirit of unity and faith.
Similarly, The Anglican Church Ostend-Bruges took part in three services across their congregations. In Knokke the service was attended by the Metropolitan Athenagoras of the Orthodox Church. In Bruges, Bishop Lode Aerts of Bisdom Brugge was present and the service was hosted by the Protestant church (VPKB) Bruges with whom the chaplaincy share the church building. The congregation in Ostend was hosted by the Protestant in Ostend.
Elsewhere, in Genoa, the Church and Friends of the Holy Ghost marked the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with a feast for the Conversion of St. Paul. A lunchtime Eucharist brought churchgoers together to celebrate their shared faith.
Pictured above: Ecumenical Prayer in the Cathedral of Monreal
Giovanni La Rosa, Chaplain of the Anglican Congregation Sant’ Alberto of Randazzo, met with the Archbishop of Palermo, Corrado Lorefice, Archbishop of Monreale, Gualtiero Isacchi, and Bishop Pennisi, Former Archbishop of Monreale. All joined in an Ecumenical Prayer in the Cathedral of Monreal, and prayed for the "investitura" of the day.
Giovanni shared a poignant message reminding everyone that peace is conviviality. He spoke of breaking bread together, of sitting at the same table among different people, and the importance of serving one another.
Pictured above: Church of San Francisco, South Tenerife
The Anglican Church of St. Francis, South Tenerife also took part in an Ecumenical service, with presiding Bishop D.Bernado Alvarez Afonso, and joined by the Augustans of the parish of Pena de France, priests of the Diocese, the German Catholic Community and the Protestant Lutherans.
Pictured above: Almudena Cathedral
As the week concluded, St.George's Anglican Church, Madrid prayed for the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ at the Almudena Cathedral.
And so, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity had woven a tapestry of shared moments, prayers, and reflections, reminding everyone of the importance of love, understanding, and unity in our shared journey of faith.