Bristol: ecumenical worker to receive papal award

 An ecumenical commissioner in Bristol has been awarded a papal honour in recognition of her work. Anne Doyle, who lives in Melksham, has been appointed a Dame of the Order of St Gregory the Great by John Paul II. This honour is conferred upon people who have distinguished themselves with notable accomplishments on behalf of the Catholic Church and society. Anne will be presented with the honour at a special service at St John the Baptist Church, Trowbridge on Wednesday 28 January. The service begins at 7.00 pm. Rt Rev Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, who is to lead the service said: "Anne has been an outstanding lay representative of the Catholic Church at local, diocesan and national level in the field of ecumenical dialogue and relations. The awarding of this Papal Honour offers an opportune moment for the Church to acknowledge our indebtedness to a loyal and tireless servant." Anne worked as an infant school teacher for 30 years and first became involved in ecumenical matters when her parish St Anthony of Padua, Melksham became a member of the Family of Churches Local Ecumenical Partnership in the town. Within the Clifton Diocese Anne has been a member of the Ecumenical Commission since the 1980s. She promoted ecumenical work in her home parish of St Anthony of Padua, Melksham and always emphasises the local dimension of her work. Anne has recently been appointed as Chair of the Clifton Diocese Ecumenical Commission in succession to Monsignor William Mitchell. At County level Anne Doyle held the post of County Ecumenical Officer for Churches Together in Wiltshire and Swindon Churches Together from 1990 until August 2003. She was one of the first Catholics to be appointed to act on behalf of all the ecumenical partners as an ecumenical officer. She served as Deputy Convenor of the Forum of Churches Together in England for four years. She continues to serve on the Bishops' Conference Committee for Christian Unity and as a Catholic Representative on the Churches Group for Local Unity which she will chair for the next two years. She is a Catholic Local Unity Consultant for the Local Unity Panel for the Church of England, and Catholic Observer on the Committee for Local Ecumenical Development of the British Methodist Church. Anne said: "I left teaching because I felt strongly that I was being called to work ecumenically. I am still as committed, even more so, to the ecumenical movement. I have been privileged to meet many people and gained new friends. Working ecumenically has broadened and deepened my spirituality and confirmed my belief in Christian Unity." Rt Rev Crispian Hollis, Bishop of Portsmouth and former Administrator at Clifton Cathedral will be at St John the Baptist to share in the celebrations. Bishop Hollis is Chairman of The Bishops' Conference's Department for Mission and Unity. Rt Rev Philip Pargeter, Auxiliary Bishop in Birmingham will be attending the service on 28 January. Bishop Pargeter is Chairman of The Bishops' Conference's Committee for Christian Unity which monitors ecumenical progress in England and Wales. Representatives of other denominations will be present including Rt Rev Michael Doe, Bishop of Swindon, from the Church of England and Rev Ward Jones, Chairman of the Bristol Methodist District. Source: Clifton Diocese

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