Archbishop appoints Prior to oversee radical new community at Lambeth Palace
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has appointed the Revd Anders Litzell as Prior of the Community of St Anselm, a radical new Christian community at Lambeth Palace.
Mr Litzell, 34, is an Anglican priest from Sweden, who has experience of the Pentecostal and Lutheran traditions as well as three provinces of the Anglican Communion. He will pioneer the Community, which launches in September 2015, and direct its worship and work. He will work as Prior under the auspices of the Archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community. Mr Litzell will take up the role on 5th January 2015.
The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining as non-residential members. The Archbishop hopes that the Community will be definitive in shaping future leaders to serve the common good in a variety of fields, as they immerse themselves in a challenging year of rigorous formation through prayer, study, practical service and community life.
Mr Litzell was ordained in the Church of England in 2012. He is currently serving at St George’s, Holborn, in the Diocese of London – where his ministry focuses on students and adults in their 20s and 30s. At the same time he is pursuing a doctorate which focuses on the relevance of St Benedict for contemporary leadership. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, UK, including a sojourn at St Agnes, Diocese of Natal in South Africa.
Mr Litzell grew up in the Swedish Pentecostal Church. During his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, Illinois he discovered ‘high church’ Anglicanism through St Barnabas Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn – where his journey to ordination began. Back in Sweden he served in the Lutheran church, Sollentuna Parish in Stockholm, while directing the Alpha Sweden office, before moving to London to work with Alpha International.
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “My vision for the Community of St Anselm is that it be both ancient and postmodern: that young adults be steeped in the rich monastic traditions of the likes of Benedict, Francis and Ignatius, while discovering their striking relevance for the transformation of self and society today. I am delighted at the appointment of Anders Litzell who will help to work this out at Lambeth Palace.”
The Archbishop’s Chaplain, the Revd Dr Jo Wells, who has pioneered the setting up of the Community, said: “Anders brings an experience and hunger for spiritual formation which is both wide and deep – crossing a variety of continents and traditions. He brings much energy and imagination to the work, a work in which he will participate even as he leads.”
The Revd Anders Litzell said: “I am hugely excited about taking on this role and, through God’s grace, turning Archbishop Justin’s vision for the community into reality. We pray that the Community will be identified by prayer, by learning, by love of each other and of the poor – all with one intention above all others: to become more like Jesus.”
For more information, visit: stanselm.org.uk
Unlike the Youth Community of Saint Stephen in New Zealand, which has no residential base; this exciting new quasi-Religious Community being formed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, ++Justin Welby, now officially named as the Community of Saint Anselm, will be centred around a core group of 16 members living at Lambeth Palace, in the heart of London, closely associated with a larger group who will be living and working in the outside world.
The Archbishop has appointed the Revd. Anders Litzell, a Swedish Anglican priest, to be the first Prior in residence. Having just listened to the voice of this remarkable young priest (married to a South African), outlining his hopes for the future of the Community, one can detect a spirit of both active evangelism and Benedictine solidarity at work in Fr. Anders’ leadership trajectory.
It would be good if one or two New Zealanders could be encouraged to offer themselves for this experience of a life-time – to live in close proximity to the centre of Anglican life – and to learn to live in community with other like-minded young people who dedicate themselves to becoming more Christ-like for the sake of the world around them.
May God richly bless these young people as they embark on their community life, in order to bear fruit that will last – in their own lives and in the lives of the people they serve for the Christ they will proclaim by their witness to Him.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand