UNITY between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches is an
elusive goal, but it is one that the Vicar of Holy Trinity,
Brompton, the Revd Nicky Gumbel, has in his sights.
After interviewing the Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster
at the HTB Leadership Conference on Tuesday, Mr Gumbel was visibly
delighted at an occasion that had apparently been several years in
"When I think of how divided the Church has been in this country
for hundreds of years, to see you both on stage, united, with so
much love for each other, it is like a historic moment," he said.
They were given a long standing ovation.
The theme of the conference, now in its sixth year, was unity.
RC speakers included the Preacher to the Papal Household, Fr
Raniero Cantalamessa, who told the audience of about 2000 that "In
the eyes of God - and of our persecutors - we are already one."
Mr Gumbel interviewed Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the
RC Bishops' Conference of England Wales, about leadership. The
Cardinal said that he sought to prioritise relationships with his
fellow priests over any project, design, or "crackpot idea" of his
own. "The kind of leadership I try to exercise has a much stronger
similiarity to family life than to business life."
Bishops should be "well-rooted in an appreciation of the
difficulty of life, the messiness of life, those places on the
fringes", he said. It was a mistake, he suggested, to rule out
those who had shown "mistaken judgement in the past but have
evidently learned from that".
He was then joined on stage by Archbishop Welby, a surprise
guest, and a former member of Holy Trinity's congregation.
Interviewed about his relationship with the RC Church, he described
the "extraordinary" effect that the religious community Chemin Neuf
had had on Lambeth Palace: "We are reminded both of our unity and
division." When the RC Sisters did not receive communion in chapel,
it was "a knife in the heart of all of us".
Unity was "not something we will negotiate or construct,"
Cardinal Nichols said, "but one we will receive in two places: on
our knees and in service of the poor".
Archbishop Welby spoke of the cost of division: "The things that
I find most destructive of peace are never the external events or
the attacks, particularly going on outside the UK. . . It is always
from inside, the divisions in the Church. . . We destroy the peace
of the Church and the Church's capacity to be a peacemaker when we
are not peaceful with each other, when we fight and destroy and
tear each other. We cripple our witness when we are not
The conference heard from leaders in other spheres. The
perfumier Jo Malone spoke of leaving school at 14 with no
qualifications before founding a multi-million-pound business. She
recalled being prayed for at Holy Trinity, aged 16, by Jackie
Pullinger, the missionary to Hong Kong. Also invited was Joyce
Meyer, an American author and broadcaster, whose books have sold
millions of copies.
THE Dioceses Commission has approved the revival of the
see of Islington, paving the way for a new bishop to lead on
church-planting in the London diocese (News,
6 March), it was announced last week. A press release said the
bishop would hold "a particular brief for church planting
initiatives in the Diocese of London but [would] provide advice for
other dioceses as invited to do so by the local
The bishop will also contribute to the new School of
Church Growth in association with St Mellitus, the theological
college founded jointly between the London and Chelmsford dioceses
and St Paul's Theological Centre, which grew out of Holy Trinity,
The new bishop will be accountable to the Bishop of
London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, and part of his senior team.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said the proposal was "essential to
the future development of the evangelistic work of the Church of