Christ Church, the historic Anglican congregation in Lille, quite apart from its own considerable parish programme, offers hospitality to a growing community of Old Catholics in the Nord region of France. France is not one of the traditional homelands of Old Catholicism (unlike the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic) and the isolated communities, such as the one which meets in Lille, come under the oversight of the Archbishop of Utrecht Joris Vercammen. The Old Catholics in France value very highly their communion with Anglicans.
The Revd Canon Debbie Flach gives her support to Père René Varenne and his faithful, who gather in Christ Church Lille once a month for a Eucharist (in French). The average congregation is about 120 people.
During my recent visit to Christ Church, I was invited to preside at the Old Catholic Mass and to speak about the relation of full communion which exists between the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Churches of the Anglican Communion, a relation which has been brought about by the Bonn Agreement of 1931.
More information on Old Catholics can be found here.
|Père René Varenne and Canon Debbie Flach after the Old Catholic Mass at Christ Church|