A task force that was formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2016 to maintain conversation and to restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deep differences across the fractured Communion has announced plans for a Season of Repentance and Prayer next year.
The group, which includes Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and has just concluded a meeting in London. The program envisioned will include a specific prayer to be used by congregations across the Communion and then supplemented with materials focusing on individual provinces over several months beginning on Pentecost in 2019. The materials would be created and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office.
Bishop Ian Ernest of the Indian Ocean, who has been chairing this week’s meeting, said the season would be the Communion’s gift to a world in pain.
“We are aware of difficulties and hurts,” he said. “The world knows brokenness. The Anglican Communion has had its struggles and its brokenness too. So this is our response: our belief that prayer will help us to grow and to love in spite of differences. Our belief is that our differences don’t need to lead to hate but prayer can lead us to heal where relationships have been impaired. We know that we are called to be instruments of love and forgiveness, of righteousness and truth.”
Bishop Ian said the group was now working on concrete actions which reflected its mandate to help the Communion to “walk together” in spite of differences. He said he hoped the season of prayer would also help build momentum towards the Lambeth Conference in 2020.
The group said its prayer for the Communion had been and would continue to be an echo of Christ’s prayer that “they may all be one . . . that the world may believe”, and the group’s unity, life and witness would “strive to be within Christ’s will”.
Members of the group are:
- Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate Church of Ireland
- Michael Curry. Presiding Bishop and Primate of the (US-based) Episcopal Church
- Ian Ernest, Bishop of Mauritus Province of the Indian Ocean
- Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate Anglican Church of Australia
- Moon Hing. Bishop of West Malaysia and Primate Province of South East Asia
- Elizabeth Paver, Former vice-chair of the Anglican Consultative Council Church of England
- Rosemary Mbogo, Provincial Secretary Anglican Church of Kenya
- Linda Nicholls, Bishop of Huron Anglican Church of Canada
- Paul Sarker, Bishop of Dhaka and Primate Church of Bangladesh
- Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
image from ACNS