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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

St John's Ghent hosts the Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council


Bishop Dick Schoon, Co-Chairman, Fr Lars Simpson Co-Secretary

One of our parishes in the Diocese in Europe recently hosted a meeting of the Anglican Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC). The Council met in Ghent from 7-11 June and St John's Church in that city gave us a warm welcome and provided logistical support through their priest, the Revd Stephen Murray, and the pastoral intern, Mr James Roberts.

The Revd Stephen Murray offers local Ghent "treats" to AOCICC members
James Roberts, intern at St John's

The splendid St Elizabeth's Church, which is used by the Anglican parish of St John was the venue for the closing Eucharist of the Council meeting, at which Bishop Dick Schoon, the Bishop of Haarlem presided.

Bishop Liederleitner

Since we last met as a Council one of our members, Dr Heinz Lederleitner, has become a bishop. Bishop Lederleitner is the new Old Catholic Bishop of Austria. We took the opportunity to mark his election and consecration with a suitable gift.

The AOCICC is the official body which serves the communion between the Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, established by the Bonn Agreement in 1931. The full communiqué from AOCICC is below.


Ghent, 11 June 2016

The Anglican-Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) met in the Carmelite Monastery in Ghent, Belgium, from 7-11 June 2016. The meeting was hosted by the Anglican Communion. This was the fourth meeting of the Council under its current mandate.

The work of this meeting included:

  • reflecting on the nature and meaning of our communion;
  • updating each other about developments within each Communion;
  • briefing each other about developments in the bilateral and multilateral ecumenical relationships in which both Communions are engaged;
  • considering how to develop concrete proposals for the common mission of the Anglican and Old Catholic Churches on the European continent.

A significant feature of the 2016 meeting of the Council was its meeting with Archbishop Joris Vercammen (Union of Utrecht of Old Catholic Churches), Bishop Robert Innes (Church of England, Diocese in Europe), and Bishop Pierre Whalon (The Episcopal Church, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe). We engaged in an open and wide-ranging discussion, which was mutually enriching and informative. The Council was encouraged by the bishops’ affirmation of its mandate. This strengthens the Council’s resolve to serve usefully the bishops and the two communions as upholder and guarantor of the Bonn Agreement.

For this reason the Council took time to hear from Archbishop Vercammen and Bishop Whalon about their concept of a ‘Missionary Alliance’ between the Convocation and the Union of Utrecht in France. The Council would like to take further time to consider the many dimensions to this proposal. The meeting with the bishops began to explore creatively how the two communions could celebrate the centenary of the Bonn Agreement in 2031. All agreed that the encounter, held in an atmosphere of trust and mutual support, had been valuable in taking the mandate forward. It was agreed that the bishops would meet again with the Council at its meeting in 2018.

The Council warmly encourages Anglican and Old Catholic churches to send participants to the AOCICC Young Adults’ Pilgrimage from 25-28 May 2017 to Echternach, Luxembourg, the site of the shrine of St Willibrord. The pilgrimage is open to Anglicans and Old Catholics between the ages of 18 and 30 years. The pilgrimage will be led by the two Co-Chairs, Bishop Michael Burrows and Bishop Dick Schoon.

The Council prayed the Daily Office together according to the Anglican and Old Catholic traditions. The Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe presided and preached at the Eucharist on the Feast of St. Columba in the chapel of the Carmelite Monastery and the Bishop of Haarlem on the Eve of St. Barnabas in the Anglican Church of St. John. The council appreciated the help and assistance provided by the local Anglican priest, the Revd Stephen Murray, and the parish intern Mr James Roberts.

The Council will meet again in Germany, 4-8 July 2017, hosted by the Union of Utrecht.

For further information, please contact the Revd Lars Simpson ( or Canon John Gibaut at the Anglican Communion Office (

Websites: and

Members of the Council:


The Right Revd Michael Burrows, Co-chair

The Revd Jennifer Adams-Massmann

The Right Revd David Hamid

Mrs Jennifer Knudsen

The Revd Tony Litwinski

The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Co-secretary

The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office

Old Catholics

The Right Revd Dr Dirk Jan Schoon, Co-chair

The Revd Prof Dr Angela Berlis (unable to attend)

The Right Revd Dr Heinz Lederleitner

The Revd Prof Dr David Holeton (unable to attend)

The Revd Lars Simpson, Co-Secretary


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