In January 2014 four members of the French Catholic community Chemin Neuf came to live at Lambeth Palace, in a historic step forward for Christian unity. The community will support the daily life of prayer at Lambeth Palace, and ensure that everything we do here is rooted in our relationship with God. In this video, members of the community talk about coming to live at Lambeth Palace and what they will be praying for each day:
As one of the ‘Chemin Neuf’ Group at Lambeth Palace describes their vocation to pray together as an ecumenical group of Christians at the heart of the Anglican Communion; what they are called to join in is a ‘River of Life’ a live demonstration of the Unity that Christ prayed would be possible for all Christians.
Archbishop Justin Welby, in this act of welcoming an ecumenical community into the life of Lambeth Palace, is stating clearly his own commitment to unity in the Church – not only within the Anglican Communion, but in the much wider context of ecumenical relationships.
In the midst of Anglican uncertainties about the threat of schismatic breakaway, on issues of gender and sexuality, this gathering of people from different parts of the world-wide Christian Church may yet be the model towards which our own Anglican Provincial Churches might turn for inspiration and example.
There is more in Christian life and witness to unite us than the adiaphoral problems on which divisions are presently predicated. May this group of ecumenical pray-ers help the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all who relate to the See of Canterbury, to look beyond our present difficulties, in order to seek the Unity of the Body of Christ that we have been given to share.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand