From Lambeth Palace
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has announced that from January 2014, four members of the international ecumenical community, Chemin Neuf, are to reside at Lambeth Palace to share in the daily round of prayer and worship which underpins his ministry, and to further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work.
Archbishop Justin said: "The church is constantly called to realise its God-given unity. The Holy Spirit blows through our lives and our structures and impels us into new ways of learning to love each other as Christ loves us. I am deeply moved that in God’s grace Chemin Neuf have agreed to this radical and exciting new step of coming to live as a community of prayer, hospitality and learning at Lambeth Palace. We pray that this step of obedience will bear fruit among us, and for the church."
Fr Laurent Fabre, founder and Superior General of the Chemin Neuf community, said: “On the long and difficult path towards unity of Christians, there have often been surprises. It is with great joy that we are responding to the amazing invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to live and pray daily in Lambeth Palace, in the heart of the Anglican Communion. It shows courage and wisdom. Courage in inviting a Catholic Community with an ecumenical vocation to this place. And wisdom for being quite simply like the disciples ‘together in the same place’ and for praying with Jesus ‘Father, may they be one so that the world may believe’ (John 17, v21)”
The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols said, “I welcome the announcement by Archbishop Justin that members of the Community of Chemin Neuf will be taking up a resident role in Lambeth Palace. I salute this initiative which brings the riches of a number of Christian traditions of prayer to the life of the Palace. This is a clear and bold sign of the importance of prayer in the search for visible Christian unity. Such unity is a gift we are most likely to receive on our knees in prayer.”
Chemin Neuf is a Catholic foundation with an ecumenical vocation, consisting of men and women, married and single, some who have taken lifetime vows and others committed for a shorter term. Its members, who come from different Christian denominations, are united by their faith in Jesus Christ and the desire to serve the Church, the Gospel and the world.
The community living at Lambeth Palace will consist of a married Anglican couple, Ione and Alan Morley-Fletcher ; a Lutheran training for ministry, Oliver Matri ; and a Roman Catholic consecrated sister, Ula Michlowicz.
Chemin Neuf will follow in the footsteps of a line of sisters from the Anglican Religious communities of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, the Community of the Holy Name and the Sisters of the Love of God, who have served at Lambeth Palace over the past 24 years.
There are three services each day in the Crypt Chapel at Lambeth Palace in order that the Archbishop’s ministry, as well as the church and the wider world, is held constantly in prayer.
Chemin Neuf – which means ‘New Way’ – was founded in Lyon, France, in 1973 and is now present in 28 countries around the world. www.chemin-neuf.org