It was a privilege and a joy to be able to speak on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion at the opening of the Methodist ecumenical office in Rome on April the 6th. This office will reach out to all interested ecumenical partners and seek to strengthen existing dialogues globally. The office will be in the capable hands of the Revd Dr Tim Macquiban who has already achieved so much here, and become a good friend to many of us from the different denominations represented in the eternal city.
I shared my view and hope that we are being invited to see ourselves like yachts who being called to sail much more in formation, looking to the winds of the spirit, and the energy of the currents of God’s goodness and love. We may not be on the verge of organic union, as if we were welding our hulls together at sea, but a greater unity of purpose and direction is becoming a clearer sign to the world and a means of grace. We are much more in formation over the witness of “Laudato Si”, over an attempt to work together against modern slavery and human trafficking, over the need to link up in the face of oppression, persecution and natural disasters. Aid and development make much more sense when we shoulder these huge challenges together. May this be our common charting and voyaging now.
I unveiled a painting in the new office rooms above the Methodist Centre in Rome, by the Greek Cypriot artist Lefteris Olympius, who had provided an exhibition in the Anglican Centre in Rome during January to mark the beginning of our ACR 50th anniversary celebrations. The Methodists had purchased the painting as a way of supporting our exhibition and placing the art work in their own rooms: A sign of our partnership in Christ and our need of each other as interdependent missions. The painting depicts St Martin of Tours cutting his cloak in half to give to a poor man. Surely this is an icon that speaks to us both now.
There were a number of senior Vatican people present, including Cardinal Peter Turkson of the Justice and Peace dicastery, and Cardinal Pell of the Secretariat for the economy, and Monsignor Robert Murphy of the Secretariat of State. The president of the World Methodist Council, Bishop Paolo Lochmann made a speech and was supported by a number of senior Methodist representatives, including Gillian Kingston the World Council vice president.
The mood was upbeat and loving, a good sign of the increasing degrees of communion that we are enjoying in this ecumenical spring of papal surprises, dramatic challenges, and transforming opportunities.
The Anglican Centre in Rome is a UK
Charity with a world-wide mission.
Interim Director: The Very Revd Dr John Shepherd
Deputy Director: Revd Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony
The Anglican Centre in Rome,
Palazzo Doria Pamphilj,
Piazza del Collegio Romano 2,
00186 Roma, Italy.
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