Day 1

A big part of the Ecumenical Summit in Rome has been listening to each other. We have been presented with a rich tapestry from across the globe.

Following a tour of St Peter’s Basilica, we worshipped together using an Anglican service.

I’m hard to spot but I am in the picture!

I have appreciated the messages of encouragement from home.

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Day 2

The day is beginning in Rome. It is a day of many sessions bracketed with prayer reflecting our two traditions.

We will discuss Synodality and Justice and Mercy. We hear firsthand about Sudan and the Middle East.

Part of each representative’s focus is to consider how what we hear should impact Christians where we come from and to identify common responses by Anglicans and Catholics.

The mornings are crisp (2 degrees) with clear skies.

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Day 3

Our second summit day has concluded. It has been profound.

We began with the experience of Holy Communion where the Anglicans could not participate. We all experienced the pain.

We listened to the Catholic journey of Synodality. With help from two theologians, the Anglicans recognised that there were spiritual practices that could deepen their Synod work.

We spent the afternoon listening to the firsthand accounts of trauma being experienced in different parts of the world.

There is much to enrich our understanding of what it means to be called to the office of a Bishop in the Church of God.

We ended the day in prayer.

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Day 4

From Rome.

A special service in three Basilica of St Paul outside the walls.

This evening, Bishop Greg from Lismore and I were commissioned for the work of Christian unity by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin.

The homilies were based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the call to love.

We were greeted by Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin.

Day 5

From Rome to Canterbury.

Today has been a travelling day. In just a few hours we did what Augustine would have taken days to do.

I had a brief personal conversation with Archbishop Justin. He was encouraged as I shared that Bishop Charlie, Bishop Sonia, the Wednesday morning Cathedral congregation, and I pray for him.

Much of the conversation among the bishops today has been about prayer.

We prayed this morning at the Church of San Gregorio al Celio where St Augustine was sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great in 597, to be the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tonight we will have a nighttime spiritual walk-through of Canterbury Cathedral.

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Day 6

We had a significant session on Safeguarding, which included hearing directly from a Canadian survivor.

We were taken through the impact of clergy abuse in many countries and cultures.

We began drawing our experience together with a view to sharing some common themes with the Church.

In John’s Gospel, we hear that disciples are friends. We have experienced great receptivity of one another founded in great hospitality offered to one another.

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Day 7

Cardinal Stephen Chow preached this morning, “the twelve apostles and disciples were not called to form camps working for their own missions or competing against each other. They were called to become an assembly, a community, a communion, a synodal koinonia, praying and discerning, teaching and serving for the mission of our Triune God.”

Our time since last evening has been in prayer and worship as well as in finalising a witness to the Church of our experience these few days.

It is common for bishops to be asked to take up national church responsibilities as part of their episcopal role. I had no idea that when I became the Chair of the Ecumenical Relations Commission I would experience this blessing. I have carried the Diocese in my heart and mind. I hope in a small way these posts have helped people share this experience.

On Friday I begin my 16th year of episcopal ministry and my 6th as Diocesan. I will be in the UK Diocese of Newcastle; all being well visiting the church of my baptism.

You have been in my prayers.


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