I’ve just come back from 24 hours in Manchester, visiting friends and relatives. It seems hard to believe but today is the first anniversary of my father’s death, so I will be pausing at 5.20pm just to give thanks and remember him. This year has flown by, so much has happened and yet there have been moments when time seems to have passed so slowly. I think the loss of a loved one challenges everything, how you see yourself, your future, your present, your priorities. I think the relationship you have with your father is a complicated one, there is obviously love, but there is also competition. How your life, your choices progress, indeed how how your career progresses might have much to do with and be informed by this rather complicated relationship. As I say at funerals, a page has turned and a new chapter has begun, whether we like it or not, how we respond to this change will inform our future. At first I saw this change in a very negative light, but now I see a much more positive side, I am free from a past, to look forward to a future I can work towards, free from much that might have previously informed my decision making. I am happy with that.
As many of you will have seen in the media, Archbishop Justin Welby was in Rome last week to join in celebrations to mark 50 years of closer and deeper relationships between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church. This was his third formal meeting with Pope Francis. At the end of a service of Vespers in the church of St Gregory in Rome, the church from which St Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow monks to evangelise England in 597, the Archbishop and the Pope commissioned 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from around the world to work together in joint mission.
At the end of their discussions, Archbishop Justin addressed Pope Francis as follows: “I ask that, as we have seen in these two days, despite those things that divide, we may be publicly determined to press forward where we may, together with all other Christians, especially those of the Orthodox world and the east. Jesus has gone before us. He calls us to be courageous. Let us walk closer together so the world sees new life and energy in the Church’s worship, mission and witness. Above all so the world sees Christ shining ever more brightly.” We pray that their meeting will have a positive outcome and will bear much fruit in the years to come. It is important that we identify any ways in which we can support this goal.
With every blessing