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Friday, 11 May 2018

Anglican Centre in Rome, promoting Christian Unity in a divided world

Director of the Anglican Centre Arcbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is introduced to the Pope by Archbishop Welby
The Diocese in Europe is privileged to have in our midst the Anglican Centre in Rome (ACR). I say "in our midst" because even though located in the heart of Rome the ACR is a centre and a resource which belongs to the entire Anglican Communion. It was established over 50 years ago, following the historic encounter between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. Its Director, the Most Revd Bernard Ntahoturi, is the Archbishop of Canterbury's personal representative to the Holy See. It is a living symbol of our whole Communion's commitment to the full visible unity of the Church and is at the forefront of our global relations with the Roman Catholic Church in particular. As the Anglican Co-Chairman of IARCCUM (the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission) I have the honour of serving on the Board of Governors of the ACR. Archbishop Bernard is assisted by the Deputy Director, the Revd Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony.

Deputy Director Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony
Because of the ACR's location (and our own vitally important relations with the Roman Catholic Church across our diocese) we feel particularly close to its work, and in my view, should be at the forefront of the global network of supporters. Both Archbishop Bernard and Fr Justin have Permission to Officiate in this diocese, further consolidating our links. Furthermore, our diocese has a link person for the Centre, Lay Canon Ann Turner. Ann reminds us that this Sunday, 13th May, is a day when world-wide Anglicans are encouraged to pray for the work of the Anglican Centre in Rome.  I hope that its ministry will be included in the intercessions around our diocese this weekend.

Visitors to the ACR
We recently finished a board meeting at the Anglican Communion Office in London where we reviewed the extensive remit of the ACR, diplomatic, educational, support for pilgrims and promotion of common Anglican-Roman Catholic witness for justice and peace, just to name some important strands of its programme.  The Centre costs about £300,000 per year to run, and relies on support from across the Provinces of the Anglican Communion, including individual donations. (Donations can be received online here, by the way!) Canon Turner can provide more information to members of our diocese, including how individuals can join the "Friends of the Anglican Centre in Rome". 

At the Board of Governors, Bishop Catherine Waynick, Archbishop Bernard, and former Director Archbishop David Moxon
A prayer for the Anglican Centre in Rome
Almighty and everliving God, you have called us in the body of your son Jesus Christ to continue his work of reconciliation. In gratitude we celebrate the presence of the Anglican Centre in Rome and give thanks for its reconciling witness to Christian unity. As we remember the gift of hope that so inspired its creation, we pray that this same hope may strengthen us in our witness to justice and peace in the world, and encourage us in our commitment to one body, one faith, and one Lord, even Jesus Christ, your risenand glorified Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.  

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