A $10-MILLION capital campaign to fund an Anglican Pilgrim Centre for Santiago de Compostela as an “ecumenical place that offers hospitality, learning, healing, hope and love” was launched in New York last month.
The project was first launched in 2016, supported by the Friends of the Anglican Centre for Santiago de Compostela, a group set up by Trinity, Wall Street, an Anglican Church in New York (News, 5 August 2016). At the time, the Centre was estimated to cost £3.8 million. The Bishop of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church, the Rt Revd Carlos Lopez-Lozáno, expressed his support.
Since then, a fund-raising consultant has been paid to investigate the possibility of a capital campaign, annual tours have been started for people interested in the project but unable to walk the Camino de Santiago, and five scholarships have been given to clergy and seminarians to walk the Camino.
Pilgrims have been walking the Camino for more than 1200 years and the number is increasing (Features, 26 June 2020) — in 2019 more than 300,000 arrived in Santiago. Other pilgrimage sites, such as Rome and Jerusalem, already have Anglican centres.
The board president of the Friends of the Anglican Centre in Santiago de Compostela, Nancy Hoxsie Mead, who is also an honorary lay canon of Madrid’s Cathedral of the Redeemer, said: “Although church attendance may be declining worldwide, more and more people are finding God along this ancient pilgrimage path in Spain. We need to open an Anglican Centre in Santiago to meet these pilgrims at the end of their journey. We need to be there to share with them the faith which we love, to listen to the stories of their transformative walk, and then to send them home, renewed and refreshed, knowing that their pilgrimage has not ended but in fact has just begun.”
An Anglican chaplaincy for the Camino was launched by the diocese in Europe in 2018 with services run by priests and lay volunteers (News, 4 May 2018). Last week, a spokesman for the diocese in Europe welcomed the announcement about the Centre.
“The Pandemic has hampered severely the ability of our Church of England authorised chaplains in the diocese to continue ministering to Anglican pilgrims along the Camino, as they have been doing since 2018,” he said. “However, we are in contact with the Shrine authorities and the local Roman Catholic Archbishop about resuming our Chaplaincy activities when conditions permit.”