(Vatican Radio) A prayer service took place on Thursday morning at London’s Lambeth
Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to officially welcome four
members of the Catholic ecumenical community Chemin Neuf.
An Anglican married couple, a Catholic sister and a Lutheran man training for ministry will form part of the resident Lambeth community to “share in the daily round of prayer” and to “further the ecumenical and international dimensions” of the Anglican leader’s ministry. The move was described by England’s Cardinal-elect Vincent Nichols as “a clear and bold sign of the importance of prayer in the search for visible Christian unity.”
To find out more Philippa Hitchen spoke first to Anglican Chemin Neuf member Alan Morley-Fletcher and then to the French founder of the community, Fr Laurent Fabre:
"It was an amazing surprise for us and we didn't hesitate to say yes ...we already knew Justin Welby well because of the work he'd already done in Africa on reconciliation and our community is very present in Africa, so we said yes with great joy....
Our day is based around prayer......in between that we would be around...trying to meet people...discussing with them, sometimes ministering to people who are here or who are visiting....
Since 1534 there's been this division between the Anglican and Catholic Churches...this is something very significant we're witnessing now....and it gives joy to a lot of people....for example to the Pope.....and in England also to Archbishop Vincent Nichols who is about to become a cardinal.....it's a little beginning but it gives us a lot of hope....
There are important points in common between Pope Francis and Justin Welby....for both it was a surprise election, both are very popular, very much loved....both want to go further in terms of unity of Christians.....and as both are men of prayer, we can expect good suprises....and we need to pray for both of them so that they can take the right decisions at the right time"