A group of Anglican clergy working in the Lusitanian Church of Portugal and the Episcopal Church of Spain have held a Lenten retreat in the Spanish city of Salamanca.
The gathering was led by the Revd Deborah Chapman of the Diocese of London who also works in Barcelona as an assistant to the English chaplain. Revd Deborah described it as “a time of grace and a gift of God for all involved on the way to Easter.” The themes were: fellowship and prayer in the Christian ministry and mutual trust, respect, love and faith in God.
Experiences of the pastoral work of each Church in its ecclesial and cultural context were shared, and common areas of future missionary work were identified. In addition, the meeting served for leaders of both churches to get to know each other better. The retreat was organised around the Eucharist and morning and evening prayers, following the liturgies of both churches, using the language of each country. Revd Chapman: “There were five 45 minute reflections offered during the retreat. The first three were built around friendship, taking David and Jonathan's friendship as a model, and using I Samuel 13-20. The last two were about becoming beautiful people, i.e. the people that God has created us to be through prayer.”
This is the third year that there has been a joint Lenten retreat of the clergy of the Spanish IERE (Iglesia Episcopal Reformada de Espanya) and the Portuguese Lusitanian church. The bishops of the two churches, Don Carlos Lopez Lozano and Don Jorge Pina Cabral, view the meeting an opportunity to develop strong fellowship and closer relations between the Anglican churches in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) as well as a chance to collaborate with regard to future development.
Revd Deborah: “My prayer for the clergy who attended is that they came away from the retreat strengthened for their ministries by sharing with kindred spirits - people longing to be the person God has created them to be as they live in Him.”