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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ecumenical life is celebrated each Shrove Tuesday in All Saints Rome

Clergy from many denominations prepare in All Saints Vestry before the ecumenical service.
Shrove Tuesday is an ecumenical occasion in All Saints Rome. For the parish to have an annual ecumenical celebration around their patronal feast would be almost pointless as All Saints Day and the surrounding days in Italy are taken as holidays. So the solution for many years is to hold an ecumenical service and event on Shrove Tuesday, which does not feature greatly on any Church or civic calendar, and thus ecumenical partners are general free to attend.

This year clergy from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist and traditions joined Canon Jonathan Boardman, the Chaplain, for Solemn Mattins according to the Book of  Common Prayer. The preacher was the Revd Dana English, the Assistant Priest at All Saints. This was Dana's last official engagement in Rome, as she is moving shortly to England. Other Anglican clergy in Rome, from St Paul's-within-the-walls Episcopal Church and the Anglican Centre, as well as some studying in the city were also present, along with Ambassadors to the Holy See from Canada, Georgia and Slovenia.

After the service a lunch was hosted by the parish for all the visitors, concluding with an ecumenical pancake toss. Surely unique in Christendom! Can you spot the pancake "fryer"?

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists walking together for unity in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated with an ecumenical "Church Walk", (in Danish, Kirkevandring). It is now in its 64th consecutive year, being the oldest such continuous event in the world. It was started by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, an organisation which since 1928 has sought to promote links between the Churches of East and West.

This year, more than 800 people walked through Copenhagen visiting and worshipping - as part of one continuous service - in churches of  different denominations: The Danish Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Alban's Anglican Church and ending with a longer service in the Swedish Church. This year the preacher was Bishop Martin Lind of the Swedish Lutheran Church (who has been serving as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in the UK). The service at St. Alban's was a shortened version of traditional evensong.

St Alban's has been deeply involved each year. The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Director of Ministerial Development, has been part of the planning committee for several years. The Revd  Palle Thordal, (a Danish priest with Permission to Officiate in St. Alban's) the Revd Paul Skirrow, the locum priest were all participants.