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Tuesday, 29 June 2021

All Saints Rome: "an eclectic mix"


All Saints Church Council

All Saints Rome describes itself as "an open-minded and welcoming Anglican community in the heart of Rome".  An Anglican congregation has been worshipping in the Eternal City since 1816. Once largely English, today it is the home for "an eclectic mix of expatriated employees of international companies, people working locally in Rome, diplomatic personnel from embassies, visiting scholars and international students". Each Sunday, outside the extraordinary time of pandemic, the regulars are joined by a healthy community of tourists and pilgrims. 

Now that some of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are being relaxed, like so many congregations, priest and people are working together to map the way forward, with physical worship restored, and online / hybrid services continuing. In All Saints, the numbers at Sunday liturgies are now back to a healthy size and the Council and the Chaplain, Fr Rob Warren, are looking at how to strengthen the stewardship and finances in the parish after a very difficult year, as well as focussing on some essential work to maintain the beautiful building, and attend to the pastoral needs of a diverse and growing congregation.  

All Saints Church Mouse reminds the faithful of the financial needs of the parish!

Situated in Rome, not surprisingly there is a significant ecumenical role for All Saints as well. Fr Rob knows that many non-Anglicans, and many Roman Catholics in particular, may encounter Anglicanism for the first time when they attend a service in the chaplaincy. In so many ways All Saints is a "shop window" for Anglicanism and the Church of England, in the very centre of Rome.

Archbishop Ernest (centre) with Fr McCulloch to his left, and the Pakistani priest to his right

On Sunday 13 June, the sacraments of baptism and confirmation were celebrated, and one of the ecumenical friends of the parish, Fr Robert McCulloch, a Roman Catholic Columban priest, brought a young Pakistani priest with him, who is studying ecumenism in Rome, but who had never witnessed an Anglican liturgy. It perhaps was not a typical Sunday mass, given the baptisms and confirmations, but also because my good friend, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome was present to assist me in the celebration! 

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