Anglican Archbishop Invites Catholic, Lutheran to Move Into Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace – view from across the Thames River

“An important and profound step for relations between the Catholic and Anglican Churches.”

That’s how the Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, described the contribution of the Catholic-founded ecumenical community Chemin Neuf.

Last month, the Anglican Archbishop invited members of the group to move into Lambeth Palace, his official London residence on the south side of the Thames.  In a ceremony on February 20, he formally welcomed four members of the community:  a married Anglican couple, Ione and Alan Morley-Fletcher; a German Lutheran training for ministry, Oliver Matri; and a Polish Catholic consecrated sister, Sister Ula Michlowicz.

Archbishop Justin Welby

The first priority identified by Archbishop Welby is the renewal of prayer and the religious life within the Church.  The ecumenical group will join with the Archbishop in his daily round of prayer (three services per day in the Palace’s Crypt Chapel), and will help to further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work.

Attending a special service of thanksgiving and dedication in the chapel at Lambeth Palace on Thursday, in addition to the four new Palace residents, were Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, and Archbishop David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See.

Archbishop Welby, speaking before a service of thanksgiving and dedication in the chapel at Lambeth Palace, said that the process of bringing the two Churches together would advance “one step at a time”.

The four members of the Chemin Neuf community who will reside in Lambeth Palace

“This is an important ecumenical step and a profound one. There is a sense that Jesus Christ is bringing us together to pray together,” he said.  Further, Archbishop Welby said,

“There has never been a renewal of the Church in Western Europe without a renewal of prayer and the life of religious communities. If we want to see things changed, it starts with prayer.  I am deeply moved that in God’s grace,  Chemin Neuf agreed to this radical and exciting new step of coming to live as a community of prayer, hospitality and learning at Lambeth Palace. We pray that this step of obedience will bear fruit among us, and for the Church.”

The service was attended by the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop David Moxon.

Sister Michlowicz, the Catholic member of the community, said in The Tablet:

“I love praying in the Crypt. It is like being part of an underground prayer stream overflowing into Lambeth Palace, to the city of London, to all these places we’re praying for.”

Chemin Neuf is a Catholic foundation with an ecumenical vocation, and its members come from different Christian denominations.  Among its members are men and women, both married and single.  Some of the members take lifetime vows, while others commit for a shorter term.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chris TH

    Truly, what an important first step. May the Star of the Sea be the guiding light to Her Son.

  • johnnysc

    We pray that this step of obedience will bear fruit among us, and for the Church.”

    Which Church?

    • ChristianR

      “Et in UNUM sanctam catholicam et apostolicam ecclesiam.”

      That’s not necessarily a valid question. The church is one. That is the entire point of ecumenism.

      • johnnysc

        One Holy Catholic and Apostolic. I prefer to empathize all the marks of the One True Church. Just so there’s no misunderstanding as seems to be the case. That’s the entire point of evangelization.

      • The Anglicans do not make up what can be called a church. They belong to what vatican refers to as an ecclesial community.

  • Gail Finke

    This article makes no sense, it would have helped if you had explained more about Chemin Neuf. I can’t tell what it is from this at all.

  • Ed Hamilton

    This is very interesting and perhaps very good. I’m not sure how a non-Catholic can take vows (especially of obedience if they have that) when the organization is in communion with the Catholic Church. So maybe they will work that out, hard to tell. Jesus bless them and make it right. Will this be a path that some may take into the Catholic church?

  • mgseamanjr

    When you can’t tell which one is the nun, it’s not a good sign.