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Saturday, 2 June 2018

An inspiring Anglican-RC initiative in Malawi, carrying forward the vision of IARCCUM

The article below is not directly connected to the work of the Diocese in Europe, but is a project to which I am indirectly linked through my co-chairmanship of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, IARCCUM, which has endorsed this ground-breaking work. But furthermore  this programme could not have happened without the active leadership of Anglicans in Rome, Fawn and Ken White, and long-time friends of our Diocese, namely Archbishop Sir David Moxon (former Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome), and Fr Keith Peckers SJ, (Director of the Caravita Community in Rome). 

The project is an outstanding witness to fruitful Anglican-Roman Catholic cooperation, jointly serving the poor. I hope will be an encouragement to other projects and programmes, whether great or small, which demonstrate Anglican and RC commitment to working and witnessing together throughout the world. 


Joint Anglican-Roman Catholic Delegation Visits Malawi
to Celebrate Ecumenical Scholarship Programme

4 of the "St Timothy" Scholars
A joint Anglican-Roman Catholic delegation visited southern Malawi last week to celebrate the success of an ecumenical scholarship programme started last year by the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi.

The delegation of eight included Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Anglican Co-Chairman of ARCIC, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission; Father Keith Pecklers SJ, Director of the Caravita Community in Rome, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute; and Mathilde Nkwirikiye, the internationally recognised human rights lawyer, whose husband Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

The St. Timothy Scholarship Programme was launched in September 2017 as a direct response to the Common Declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis and His Grace Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, issued at San Gregorio al Celio in Rome on 5 October 2016, wherein they and 19 pairs of Anglican and Catholic Bishops commissioned by them pledged to work together in collaborative mission and witness to the “ends of the earth” to give voice to their common faith in Jesus Christ. The programme has been warmly endorsed by IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.

Mathilde Nkwirikiye (R) with the grandmother of one of the scholarship winners

The programme, which is funded by offshore donors and managed jointly by the two Dioceses, provides scholarships to enable children from the poorest families to attend residential secondary schools run by the Dioceses on an all expenses paid basis. The scholarships, valued at c. €600, cover tuition fees, room and board, school uniforms, school shoes, athletic wear, stationery, toiletries, bedding, school bag, scientific instruments and a travel allowance funding the student’s cost of travelling from home to school and return by public transport at the beginning and end of each school term.

For the academic year commencing September 2017, a total of 558 applications were received for the 40 scholarships offered. The scholarship winners, 20 girls and 20 boys, are each attending one of four residential secondary schools run by the two Dioceses.

On the initiative of delegation members Kenneth and Fawn White, a new charity called the “Walking Together Foundation” has been formed to raise funds on a tax-deductible basis for the Malawi scholarship programme and for future ecumenical projects that may be initiated by other bishop pairs anywhere in the world.

The delegation was welcomed by Bishop Brighton Vitta Malasa of the Anglican Diocese of Upper Shire and Bishop Montfort Stima of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangochi, whose ecumenical partnership gave rise to the scholarship programme. The delegation visited the schools, presented medals to the scholarship winners and visited some of the scholarship winners’ homes. At the end of the four day visit, an ecumenical prayer service was held at the chapel of the Chilema Ecumenical Centre at which stoles were presented to the Bishops in recognition of their strong commitment to ecumenism and the success the scholarship programme has achieved since its introduction last year.

L to R: Fr Keith Pecklers, Bp Montfort Stima, Archbishop Sir David Moxon, Bp Brighton Malasa

 Photos courtesy of Cristiano Barbarossa 

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