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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
St Alban's: Anglicans and Catholics sign historic agreement
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¬†In a packed St Albans Cathedral on Sunday night, the Bishop of St Albans the Rt Revd Christopher Herbert signed an historic agreement with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Pesaro, The Most Revd Piero Coccia, creating a friendship between three Italian dioceses, Fano, Pesaro and Urbino in The Marche, Italy and the Diocese of St Albans. The Diocese of St Albans is the Church of England in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Luton and North Barnet. The agreement cements six years of friendship which began as a spin-off from discussions between a St Albans District Councillor, Brian Peyton, and authorities in Fano about civic twinning arrangements. Coming to learn of the discussions, the late Bishop of Fano, The Rt Revd Vittorio Thomassetti, asked for a message to be conveyed to the Bishop of St Abans that he would also be interested in creating a relationship between churches in the two regions. Both bishops pursued and invested in this friendship, leading to last night's signing. Sadly, Bishop Tomassetti died less than three weeks ago but knew of the historic step that was about to be taken. Bishop Christopher related this story to a packed Cathedral, during St Albans Diocese's celebration of 100 years of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Bishop and the Archbishop then signed the agreement which commits the two churches to the development of mutual respect and understanding, to deepening their companionship in Christ and proclaiming the Gospel. Bishop Christopher added: "Our friendship is a joy and to me a real sign of the progress that continues to be made towards greater Christian unity. It operates at all levels within the Church and means that there is a true bond developing between people here and people in Fano, Pesaro and Urbino. This is not textbook unity: this is a practical step." Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP preached at the Thanksgiving Service. Also present at the service was Rt Revd Martin Lind, Bishop of LinkŲping, Sweden, with which St Albans also has ecumenical ties of friendship. The agreement comes as the Church of England appoints a representative to the EU institutions, The Revd Gary Wilton, currently a member of the theology department at York St John's University. The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Christopher Herbert, who chairs the House of Bishops Europe Panel, welcomed the appointment, saying: "It is really good to have been able to appoint Gary Wilton to this new post. The Church of England must continue to increase its role in Europe in partnership with other churches so that together we can play our part in helping to shape the Europe of the future." Source: CoE Comms
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