[ACNS] Christians around the world are praying for next week’s Primates Meeting taking place in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral. The Primates Meeting is one of the Anglican Communion’s four Instruments of Unity and provides an opportunity for the leaders of the independent but interdependent Anglican Churches to gather for “leisurely thought, prayer and deep consultation.”
A prayer from the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon accompanied the invitation from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to his fellow archbishops and presiding bishops. And a litany for the meeting was published in November with an invitation to Anglicans and other Christians to “pray daily” for the meeting.
This week, Archbishop Justin issued a video message asking people to pray for “wisdom and love” and a special Primates2016 website was launched with a page dedicated to prayer for the meeting.
The Anglican mission agency Mothers’ Union, which works to support family life in 27 Anglican provinces, invited its members to pray daily for the bishops and archdeacons attending the meeting.
The call to pray has been echoed by many Anglican primates.
Archbishop Brown Turei is one of three primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. He won’t be in Canterbury for the meeting, but says that “all three of us, as primates, speak for each other – and so Archbishops Winston and Philip carry my voice to Canterbury and I wish to hold them in prayer with the work they have to do.”
“The fact that the invitation to Canterbury was to all three of us as Primates demonstrates an appreciation of a model that reflects diversity, and so I hope that can emerge from Canterbury in the next week,” he said.
A series of collects and a form of intercession has been published for use in the province to help people pray for the Primates Meeting.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, the Most Revd Michael Curry, said: “I look forward to being present with my fellow primates as we gather for prayer and conversation and as we support each other in ministry.
“I invite Episcopalians to join me in prayer for this gathering, that God will be fully present with us and that we may follow our Lord Jesus in the ways of His love and in so doing be part of God’s blessing to the world.”
In November, in an address at the first group of sessions of the new five-year General Synod of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II commented: “I am sure that members of the Synod will pray earnestly that the gathering in January of the Primates of the Anglican Communion will be a time when, together, they may know what is God’s will.”
Many local churches are holding special prayer services for the Primates Meeting. Among them is St Luke's Parish Church in in Kingston upon Thames, South West London, where the Primates Meeting was the focus of their Hour of Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament last night (Wednesday) and again next Wednesday.
“I grew up with a love and appreciation for the witness of the world wide Communion,” the Vicar of St Luke’s, the Revd Martin Hislop, said. He was ordained as a priest in Australia, and says that his home province “has greatly benefited from its participation in the Communion and it tears at the heart to see division and disunity within the family of Anglican Churches.
“At St Luke’s as we recall the wish of Our Lord that ‘we may all be one.’ We pray that the chief shepherds of the Communion will heed Our Lord’s cry and remain faithful to the Faith delivered to the Apostles.”
Another church praying regularly for the Primates Meeting is All Saints’ Parish Church in Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa, whether the gathering is being prayed for at Sunday and midweek services.
“The concluding prayer to the Litany is being prayed 24/7 by our prayer chain,” the Very Revd Bruce Jenneker, Rector of All Saints’ said. “Our hope is that the Spirit will strengthen the bonds of trust and unity by an outpouring of gentleness, tolerance, acceptance and love.”
- To help you pray for the Primates Meeting, prayers will be published daily on the prayer page of the special Primates2016 website.