It was a parish visitation with a difference! When Bishop Bernard Longley came to St Joseph's, Bunhill Row, in the City of London at the weekend, besides the usual full programme of meeting parishioners, presiding and preaching at the Eucharist and visiting the sick and housebound, Bishop Bernard visited the neighbouring Methodist, Anglican and Lutheran parishes which work closely with St Joseph's. The visitation began at Wesley's chapel on Saturday afternoon, (which in the Methodist tradition was the eve of Covenant Sunday, when clergy renew their vows). After being welcomed by the Superintendent Minister Lord Griffiths, Bishop Longley and Fr Bruno Healy, priest in charge at St Joseph's, went with the Methodist clergy of Wesley's chapel to the prayer room in John Wesley's house. This was the room where John Wesley spent the first hour of every day in prayer - it is often referred to as the "powerhouse of Methodism". Here the Methodist and Catholic clergy prayed together the Covenant Prayer. I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will: put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen. On Sunday the clergy went to St Gile's rectory in the Barbican where they shared a meal hosted by the Rev Katharine Rumens, the rector. That evening, Bishop Longley concluded the visitation at St Joseph's by preaching at Bach Vespers - the Epiphany Cantata No 65 "Sei werden aus Saba alle kommen" - sung by the Sweelink Ensemble directed by Maryin Knizia - at St Anne's Lutheran church in Gresham Street. * This Friday, as part of Christian Unity Week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will launch an exhibition on Anglicanism at Westminster Cathedral and will be preaching at Vespers. See Listings for more details.
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