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Following the Way What takes people on a pilgrimage?

Monastic wisdom in 140 characters When does a tweet become a prayer?

Small acts of kindness How ‘little things’ are helping Jordan’s refugees anglican world issue 144 march 2017


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United in prayer

PRAYER IS A lifeline for us as individual Christians and as part of the body of Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who taught us to pray and He encouraged us to ask for anything in his name. When I meet members of the Communion in different countries around the world I frequently hear stories of the transforming power of prayer, so it is very fitting that this issue of Anglican World has a focus on prayer and making space for spiritual development. I am looking forward to joining in the global wave of prayer Thy Kingdom Come between Ascension and Pentecost and my prayer is that many more members of the Communion will take part in praying for more people to come to know Jesus Christ as they step out in this united time of focused prayer. The article on the plans in Hong Kong Island and in western and eastern Kowloon is an inspiration to us all. The feature on two new religious communities in London and in Toronto highlights exciting ventures which are helping “When I meet members of the Communion young people develop their prayer life and spirituality, which in different countries around the world hope to breathe new life into the church through the lives of the community members. I frequently hear stories of the I trust that you will find inspiration through the many stories on a variety of subjects from pilgrimage and on-line prayer to transforming power of prayer” the small acts of kindness that are changing the lives of refugees in Jordan. As we look towards Easter and celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, my hope is that all members of the Anglican Communion will draw nearer to God in prayer and that the Holy Spirit will empower us to share this life-transforming Good News with confidence.

Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon Secretary General of the Anglican Communion



anglican world issue 144 march 2017



world Inside this issue ISSUE 144 FEBRUARY 2017

Produced by The Anglican Communion Office St Andrew’s House 16 Tavistock Crescent London W11 1AP United Kingdom Registered Charity 7311767 Tel +44 (0)20 7313 3900 Fax +44 (0)20 7313 3999 E-mail Web Serving the Instruments of Communion: The Archbishop of Canterbury The Lambeth Conference The Anglican Consultative Council The Primates’ Meeting And approximately 85 million Anglicans and Episcopalians in more than 165 countries President The Archbishop of Canterbury Secretary General The Most Revd Josiah Idowu-Fearon Editor Rachel Farmer Any comments, questions or contributions should be sent to The Editor at Subscriptions: E-mail aw.subscriptions@ UK £2.50 / US$4 / €3.50 for one issue. UK £10 / US$16 / €14 for four issues. See our website for how to subscribe to further copies of the magazine – visit resources/shop.aspx Design and Layout Marcus Thomas e-mail Printed by CPO, Garcia Estate, Canterbury Road, Worthing, W. Sussex BN13 1BW

All original material may be reproduced by Member Churches without further permission of the Anglican Consultative Council. Acknowledgement and a copy of the publications are requested. Permission to reproduce copyrighted work should be sought from the owner.


Archbishop Josiah on prayer and spirituality 2




The latest from around the Anglican world 4 ¢ FEATURE

Following the Way

Followers of the Way What takes people on pilgrimage? 6

What takes people on a pilgrimage?

Monastic Wisdom in 140 characters When does a tweet become a prayer?

Small acts of kindness How ‘little things’ are helping Jordan’s refugees


Making time for God how religious life is being re-born 8 ¢ WORLD VIEW

anglican world issue 144 february 2017


Cover photo St Anselm’s community members CREDIT: ST ANSELM’S COMMUNITY, LAMBETH PALACE

The Communion at a glance 12 ¢ FEATURE

Monastic wisdom online – how prayers via twitter are going global 14


Planting trees to save the world 22


A global wave of prayer – how Hong Kong and India are responding 16


Life’s rich journey – on the road 23


It’s the small things that count - the Revd Andy Bowerman in Jordan 18 ¢ PROFILE

Ministering to the military – with the Rt Revd Nigel Stock 20


Companions on the Way at their installation with Bishop Linda Nicholls


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communion news


TRIBUTES TO INSPIRATIONAL CAMPAIGNER A flood of tributes followed the death of Jill Saward, who, after being attacked as a young woman, became a campaigner on behalf of survivors of sexual assault. Jill, whose husband Gavin Drake is ACNS interim editor, died suddenly aged 51. The Revd Preb. Gary Piper said Jill had gone through some very dark times and that ‘people seemed to have the impression she sailed through: she didn’t. ... She was someone who worked to serve her God to make the world a better place. My prayer is that her work will continue.’ Reflecting on Jill’s sudden admission to hospital, Gavin said the family, after turning to social media to ask for prayers, ‘had a sense that Jill was on her way to heaven accompanied by prayers from around the world; we had messages from Anglicans, Evangelicals, Catholics and


Jill Saward

Orthodox Christians. I knew she had helped a lot of people here and around the world but the extent of the people that’s she’s helped has been a remarkable testament

to her Christian faith. ..She was a wonderful wife and mother... I never stopped telling her she was special.’


PRAYING FOR EDUCATORS Churches and schools marked Education Sunday in February with special events, while the Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba said youth anger over educational provision had been triggered by the government sidelining its own commission on higher education, and announcing a fee increase for 2017 unilaterally. He also said it was a time to pray for educators, learners and

institutions of learning. ‘The quality of our school-leavers’ education still needs a lot of improvement,’ he said. ‘And it is critical both for fulfillment in the lives of young people, and for the health of our society, that the burgeoning growth in tertiary education is well-managed, sustainably financed, and kept at the highest possible level of educational quality.’


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba


MAORI FUNERAL RIGHT FOR ARCHBISHOP Some 700 mourners attended the funeral of Archbishop Brown Turei, one of the leaders of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, Aotearoa and Polynesia. The service marked the end of a six-day traditional Maori funeral rite – a tangi – which took place across three locations. Archbishop Brown, who was highly respected for his ability to relate to people across all races and cultures, was the oldest primate in



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the Anglican Communion. He died at the age of 92. In line with Maori custom, a prayer service began at dawn, which tradition dictates is the time when the lid of the casket is closed for the final time. Mourners continued to arrive for several more hours until the main funeral service. ANGLICAN TAONGA

Archbishop Brown Turei


SOLAR POWER BOOSTS CHURCH ENERGY The diocese of Vermont in the US-based Episcopal Church has acquired a $1m solar array farm at its headquarters in Rock Point, Burlington. It will provide morethan enough energy to power the diocese’s 146-acre facility at Rock Point, which in addition to the diocesan offices, includes the Rock Point School, the Bishop

Booth Conference Centre, and the bishop’s house. The 35-tracker 147 kW solar array was installed five years ago by AllEarth Renewables and was acquired by the diocese for $269,700. Additional electricity generated by the farm will provide an annual estimated income of $40,000. Once the loan is paid off, the income from the farm’s excess


Solar power source

electricity will be used to support the diocese’s organisations based at Rock Point.


CHURCH COMES TO AID OF CYLONE COMMUNITIES Church leaders from the Diocese of Madras distributed food parcels and other aid to some of the thousands of people displaced by Cyclone Vardah. The cyclone which hit Chennai on 12 December last year, killing ten people, was the strongest storm in the region for two decades. Trees were uprooted, cattle killed and buildings damaged. Even modern buildings like the Hyatt Regency Hotel were severely affected – with many windows blown out of the structure. Many huts and asbestos homes lived in by poorer people were destroyed. The Bishop in Madras, Dr George Stephen, mobilised the diocesan diaconal department, which


Flood rescuers in Chennai

delivered bread and food parcels twice a day to some 2,000 affected families. The church has continued to support them over the past

weeks. The cyclone struck as the region continued to recover from severe flooding that hit the region a year ago.

europe and middle east

CHURCH SUPPORTS VICTIMS OF CONFLICT The Anglican Alliance says that the ongoing conflict in Yemen is causing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and is encouraging Anglicans to respond to emergency appeals by Christian agencies working in the country. ‘More than seven million people in Yemen do not know where their next meal will come from,’ the agency said. ‘Children are dying from malnutrition. 500,000 children are starving and three million people have fled their homes. Now half of the population – 14.4 million


Children in al-Mahwit, Yemen

people – require help with food.’ The Archdeacon in the Gulf, Canon Bill Schwartz – who has responsibility for the Anglican Church in Yemen - said: ‘The people of Yemen are

victims of political aspirations of their own leaders and countries nearby, and are suffering immensely because of this civil war.’

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Followers of the Way



How ancient pilgrimage routes are flourishing AS THE CREDITS rolled at the end of the film, ‘The Way’ four years ago something stirred inside me. I was watching the actor Martin Sheen weave his way through a Moroccan market, a rucksack on his back and a staff grasped in his hand. I wanted to be out walking… forget the office… forget traffic and forget people. I was yearning to be on a pilgrimage and wanted to travel alone, writes Rachel Farmer.

“The ancient practice of pilgrimage is a journey taken for spiritual enrichment.” 6


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What is it that leads hundreds of thousands of people each year to embark on pilgrimages? And what happens when they do? The ancient practice of pilgrimage is a journey taken for spiritual enrichment. It is a meaningful journey to a sacred place. In the past, such trips often took many months and entailed great physical risk. Today’s pilgrims may travel to the start of their walk by plane or car, but their goal is the same as it was for pilgrims centuries ago. Like those who travelled before them, modern pilgrims set out on the road to hear the voice of God more clearly, hoping that as they journey their hearts

may be opened and their lives be transformed. Pilgrimage provides the opportunity to step out of the non-stop busyness of life, to seek a time of quiet and reflection. It gives people the chance to ‘walk through’ the issues on their minds. It is a time of simply ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. Although there are many pilgrimage sites around the world, from New Mexico to New York and Ireland to Israel, one of the most famous and popular is Santiago de Compostela in Spain, which is called the Camino. It is known in English as the Way of St James because the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela is where Jesus’ disciple James is said to be buried.


Fr Alan Moses walking the Camino to Santiago - above a fellow pilgrim helps with muscle pains and right, filling up with fresh water en-route



The pilgrimage, which now has many rroutes traditionally starts in Saint Jean Pied de Port in France, some 800km away from Santiago, over the French border. It became popular from the 9th century and then slowly declined in popularity. In the early 1980s the route became of interest again with several hundred making the journey. In 2016 more than 260,000 people completed the pilgrimage. It was watching the film, ‘The Way’ that sparked an interest in setting out on my own pilgrimage. A few months later I made a solo journey to Assisi which was a lifechanging experience. Fr Alan Moses, vicar of All Saints, Margaret Street in Central London, has walked the Camino twice and combined the pilgrimages with raising money for local and international projects. ‘For me it was a kind of walking retreat,’ he says. ‘You meet all kinds of people along the way and there is the experience of travelling light which means you can focus on the walking and there is time to reflect.’ Commending Fr Alan’s pilgrimage, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, said, ‘Prayer is not always sedentary. Walking can be a way of prayer sanctified by many saints over the centuries.’

The Camino is so popular that the paths can be filled with pilgrims at the most popular times of the year. Fr Alan said, ‘I walked the Winchester to Canterbury Pilgrims’ Way and I think I did the whole thing without seeing another pilgrim… The Camino was quite busy in comparison.’ As more and more people have been drawn to take time out from their normal routines and walk the Camino, churches in Santiago have had to adapt to the influx of visitors, many seeking their own personal spiritual experience.

Anglican Centre for pilgrims The Iglesia Española Reformada Episcopal (IERE) – the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain – is proposing to build an Anglican Centre at Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. Last year the church stepped up its welcome to pilgrims by dedicating its cathedral in Madrid as a welcome centre. And in November Bishop Carlos LópezLozano consecrated a symbolic tile at the cathedral’s door as a sign of welcome for pilgrims. The move is seen as a step on the Church’s own journey to build an Anglican centre in Santiago to provide a base from where pilgrims could celebrate the

“Walking can be a way of prayer sanctified by many saints over the centuries”

Eucharist at the end of their journey. The new Anglican Centre is expected to cost about 5 million USD (approximately 3.8 million GBP) and a US-based charitable organisation called the Friends of the Anglican Centre for Santiago de Compostela has been set up, with the help of supporters based at Trinity Church, Wall Street. The Revd Spencer Reece, national secretary for Bishop Carlos said, ‘We convened [an] initial meeting [in New York] to explore the viability of building an Anglican Centre in Santiago. The message seemed clear. We need one!’ Following the clear enthusiasm to press ahead, he said it was a big project and help will be sought across the Anglican Communion to help it go ahead.

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Making time for God LAMBETH PALACE

How the religious life is making a comeback b y r ac h e l fa r m e r

IT’S EASY TO be so busy that God is squeezed out of our lives. If we’re not careful prayer can be something that only happens on Sundays or in the midst of a crisis. The Archbishop of Canterbury and other leaders in the Anglican Communion are hoping to help young adults adopt a lifestyle of prayer and spiritual formation which they believe has been lost to the current generation. The Community of St Anselm, launched 18 months ago, gathers a group of young adults from all walks of life and from different parts of the world to spend a year living in a new monastic-inspired community



anglican world issue 144 march 2017

based at the Archbishop’s residence in Lambeth Palace, London. His vision for the community was for young people to follow an intensive pattern of prayer, study and serving local communities that the ancient monastics would have recognised, taking this experience forward into their lives. In a similar move in September 2016 the Sisterhood of Saint John the Divine (SSJD) in Toronto, Canada, welcomed ten women aged between 22 and 40 to spend a year in God’s rhythm as ‘Companions on the Way’, becoming part of their religious community. The Sisterhood was founded in 1884, as part of the second

“I’m developing a deeper respect for creation as an expression of God. And I enjoy discerning Christ in the whole mess of human life!”

generation of sisterhoods emerging out the Oxford movement. The Revd Sister Constance Joanna Gefvert, the coordinator of the



SSJD companions, said, ‘We feel strongly that God is calling us to this companions ministry for young women at the same time that we desire to renew our own mission as a contemporary monastic community. We will be formed as much by them as they will by the experience of living among us.’ While a number of contemporary communities have been formed as a result of the new monastic movement, the SSJD companions programme is thought to be unique in offering a contemporary intentional community for women within an inherited monastic community. ‘The women who participate will build community among themselves and develop leadership skills that can be used in the emerging church at the same time that they are mentored by an existing community,’ Sister Constance said. ‘The closest thing I can think of is the St Anselm community at Lambeth, being mentored by Chemin Neuf; but in our case the new provisional community is actually a part of an established permanent community.’ Talking about how the new companions are finding life in community after six months she said, ‘What they find most difficult is the schedule. They are all women who have been used to running their own life, going out when they like and having free time. They all find getting up to pray at 6am very tiring and everything is laid out during the day.’ The community has a complete daily schedule of work and prayer from early in the morning until later in the evening. Sister Constance said the community was very much part of the missional church and the emerging church in America, which goes out into the community and doesn’t expect people just to come to church. She believes the rediscovery of spirituality and prayer will be a vital part in growing the church and said, ‘the most vibrant and growing churches are the ones that have a strong formation in spirituality and put an emphasis on mission and spiritual outreach.’

Sisters pray as they walk the Labyrinth



What community members say… Members of the Companions on the Way who are part of the SSJD have been recording their experiences as part of the community on a blog. Below are some extracts… Amanda writes: ‘I have been living at the convent for the last 3 months. The honeymoon period has now ended and our new reality has set in. I must admit that it has not all been flowers, sugar, and smiles. There have been times and especially this past week I have been dealing with sadness, and frustration… I went into the convent kitchen and got lost in the whirl of the kitchen, the feeling of the dough between the table and rolling pin, and the smell of the baking cookies. The Companions program is still very new and the five of us still have eight more months here to learn, study and follow the path of the sisters in their prayer and ministry. Every so often it’s good for all of us to stop and give ourselves permission to remember home and immerse ourselves in an activity that reminds us of home… Baking for an hour lifted my spirits and helped me smile.’ Alisa writes: ‘Every day, I am gradually growing closer to my view of God as Redeemer and Creator… When I was moving in fastpaced modern society, I had this tendency to judge things I had no

empathy for. Now, as I live out my Christian faith more intentionally, I’m beginning to accept that everyone reacts to life differently. In other words, I’m developing a deeper respect for creation as an expression of God. And I enjoy discerning Christ in the whole mess of human life!’ Hanné writes: ‘Outside the convent is a particular rock that I like to sit on and enjoy the sunshine. It is a place where I felt very much at peace, and where I could talk to God without any interruptions or distractions. A quiet thinking space, if you will. As I ventured outside this time, I couldn’t see my favorite rock. It was completely covered in snow. It wasn’t gone – but it was invisible for the moment. I think that is how it is with the presence of God in my life sometimes. There are difficult moments where I may think that I can’t feel His presence, but that doesn’t mean that He is gone. Perhaps I had felt, for the first time, what is in mysticism referred to as the ‘dark night of the soul’? Like the rock, God is steadfast and remains, always. When circumstances of life, or struggles within [ourselves] cloud our sensing of His presence, that doesn’t mean He’s gone. When the snow melts, the rock will still be there. And when the trial has passed, God’s loving presence will be there for the sensing again.

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Members of St Anselm’s are welcomed into the community by the Archbishop of Canterbury

Lambeth Palace

St Anselm, a Benedictine monk and scholar, was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to1114. His motto of ‘faith seeking understanding’ is a reminder to the community that the faith journey begins with an active love of God – and from this love a deeper knowledge of God follows. Anselm became a monk when he was 27. When he first asked about the possibility, aged 15, he was turned away.



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The Community of St Anselm, now in its second year, is currently made up of 15 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and a further 21 people who live and work in London, joining part-time. The year-long programme includes prayer, study, practical service and community life. The community includes members from the UK, US, continental Europe, Zimbabwe, Mexico, South Africa and India. It also represents a wide variety of church traditions, from Anglican and Episcopal to United Reformed, Methodist, Lutheran, New Frontiers, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. ‘The Community of St Anselm very deliberately takes people from all over the world, with their cultural differences and personality differences,’ Archbishop Justin said in a sermon. ‘It deliberately takes bits of the disunited church. It takes all these different factions and fragments and it’s an experiment to see if together we can live in unity,

“Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or risk-free. ”

because we are in the vine – because we abide in the vine.’ The Prior of the Community of St Anselm, the Revd Anders Litzell, said the community had ‘been established to serve Archbishop Justin’s call for a renewal of prayer and religious life across the Church.’ He explained, ‘Members make a commitment to a shared rule of life that is about shaping our whole beings in response to God’s radical grace in Jesus Christ. We trust that the experience will transform these



Sister Constance presiding at the Eucharist


young lives to reflect the beauty of God’s holiness with irrepressible integrity. And we pray that they will go on to help transform our world through self-giving in their local, national and international communities.’ The sisters at SSJD hope their Companions on the Way programme and communities like St Anselm’s will plant new seeds of the religious life within the Anglican Communion. Sister Constance said, ‘We will be very happy if a couple of women decide to stay and help renew SSJD. However our main motive is a ministry to the church. I, and the sisters as a whole, believe strongly that the renewal of the church, and a healthy future, will come from the religious orders.’ Talking about St Anselm’s community Archbishop Justin said, ‘Stanley Hauerwas reminds us that the church should always be engaged in doing things that make no sense if God does not exist. The thing that would most make no sense at all if God does not exist is prayer. Living in a praying community is the ultimate wager on the existence of God, and is anything but comfortable or riskfree. Through it people subject themselves to discipline, to each other in community, and, above all, to God. ‘I expect this venture to have radical impact – not just for the individuals who participate but for life at Lambeth, across the Church and in the world we seek to serve.’


Members of St Anselm’s Community

What community members say… St Anselm’s members divide their time between prayer and worship, study, and working alongside vulnerable people with local charities in London. Agnes: A Roman Catholic journalist, Agnes, from Lille in France, said, ‘It was the right time and the right place to give this time to God to talk to me’, and an opportunity to discover ‘how I can live the Gospel in my professional life… What I will keep is if you put God in your heart, everything is possible. Everything can change. It’s really a lesson of life. I think I have more love and more curiosity to discover others, and to love them in their differences.’ Peter: Before joining the Community of St Anselm, Peter worked for an investment bank in New York City. Since completing his year with the community he says people often ask him what he did during the year and he explains

about life in community, prayer, study and service. ‘Sometimes I talk about our opportunity to talk about the secularization of modern society with the Preacher to the Papal Household. Other times I describe what it was like to visit a Franciscan Community and how I was humbled to realise how little I knew about hospitality. And I often end up talking about the incredible experience of participating in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius over thirty days in silence with the Community of Chemin Neuf. At some point I admit that no matter how much I talk about the amazing teachers, the places we visited, or the retreats we made during the year, this only touches the surface of what it was like to be a part of the Community of St Anselm. I’ll sometimes answer this simply question by saying, ‘In community, we met with one other.’

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world view

The Communion at a glance EUROPE The Council of Christian Churches in Germany (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland/ ACK) hosted the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, celebrated worldwide from 18–25 January. As 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the week of prayer reflected on the legacy of the Reformation and the current spirit of reconciliation in Christ. ‘For Christians in Germany and all over

the world, the theme Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us (2 Cor 5.14-20) can be considered both a calling and an opportunity for reconciliation’, the Revd Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, World Council of Churches (WCC) Director of Faith and Order, said, ‘a chance to break historical walls that separate churches and congregations from each other, during times that require healing and recovering hope.’



AMERICA The US-based Episcopal Church is planning a series of revival events over the next two years ‘to stir and renew hearts for Jesus, to equip Episcopalians as evangelists, and to welcome people who aren’t part of a church to join the Jesus Movement.’ The multi-day events will feature ‘dynamic worship and preaching, offerings from local artists and musicians, personal testimony and storytelling, topical speakers, invitation to local social action, engagement with young leaders, and intentional outreach with people who aren’t active in a faith community,’ the province’s public affairs department said in a statement.



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A new peace centre is being established in Bunia by the provincial youth department of the Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo (the Anglican Church of Congo). It is

providing care to girls and women who have been raped as part of the ongoing conflict in the region, and also to young people. Rebels are using rape as a weapon of war. The majority of the 79 women and child rape victims being cared for by a member of the church in Bavi are aged between 13 and 15; but the youngest is just three-and-a-halfyears-old and the oldest is 60. Some have needs that the church is unable to help with. The youth department is providing continued assistance through its peace centre in order to provide some hope for the future offering training with practical skills.



Two years ago the Revd Christopher Bishop travelled to northern Iraq as an unofficial Episcopal ambassador to displaced Christians, whose lives had been threatened by the rise of the group known as Daesh. He is now the driving force behind Stand With Iraqi Christians, which has grown into an independent non-profit organisation with international

partners and a growing slate of ministries. It began in late 2014 as an effort of his congregation, St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Radnor, Pennsylvania, in the US. He said, ‘We had no idea what we were doing, but we had this heart for it and members of the church still are actively involved in supporting the mission of Stand With Iraqi Christians.’



Christian leaders in Fiji have united to declare that gender-based violence is a sin, in an advert shown on cinema screens and national television. The 60-second advert has been shown during Fiji television’s main evening news for three weeks and before films in 16 cinemas in Suva, Lautoka and Nadi. The film was the idea of Anglican Archbishop Winston Halapua. The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia said he had received ‘100% backing’ from other Fijian Christian leaders. Coptic, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Methodist, evangelical, Salvation Army and independent churches have all backed the advert, which was produced by the communications department of Fiji’s Methodist Church.



The coadjutor Bishop of Raiwind, Dr Azad Marshall, has been honoured by the government of Pakistan for his work on human rights. He was one of 40 recipients of awards to mark International Human Rights Day. Bishop Azad received the Presidential Award for Human Rights from the President of Pakistan, Muhammad Mamnoon Hussain, during an award ceremony at the President’s

House. Bishop Azad is the President of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan. ‘He has no doubt a long and continuous record of contributing to educational development and human rights in Pakistan,’ a statement from the Diocese of Raiwind said. ‘We congratulate him and pray for his continuous ministry in Pakistan and beyond.’

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Monastic wisdom online LAMBETH PALACE

How a community of brothers are sharing spiritual truths on social media by james koester, ssje superior, the society of saint john the evangelist

If you asked any of the brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist why they were drawn to the monastic community the answers are varied. But according to the community’s Superior, James Koester, none of them would name a desire to join in the community’s online presence as their inspiration.

“ As counterintuitive as it might sound, we understand this presence on social media as being in keeping with the monastic past” 14


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TO BE CANDID, the idea of appearing on camera in the yearly Lenten video series makes some brothers want to run screaming back into the enclosure. And yet, to our still occasional surprise, social media has come to play a substantial role in communicating SSJE’s ministry. In Advent, we partner with the Anglican Communion Office to offer #AdventWord, a global Advent Calendar, with thousands of images submitted by participants around the world. Each Lent, we produce a new six-week video series with accompanying workbook and online materials. And every day, an email from ‘Brother, Give Us a Word’ goes out to our subscribers, featuring a short quote pulled from a Brother’s sermon with the invitation to read more. As counterintuitive as it might sound, we understand this presence on social media as being in keeping with the monastic past – at least our

monastic past. SSJE has never been an enclosed community. We’re very much a community of missionaries. Originally, we were referred to as ‘Mission Priests of Saint John the Evangelist’. Our founder, Richard Meux Benson, took pen to paper and wrote a dozen books and thousands of letters in his desire to communicate the good news he had found in Jesus Christ. It’s in our DNA as a community that we have a message of good news to proclaim beyond the walls of our monastery, and we are using the technology of our own day to do it, just as Benson did before us. We can reach even further back in the monastic tradition for the precedent to some of our online ministry. The seed for ‘Brother, Give Us a Word’ comes from the origins of the monastic movement in the fourth century, when a few faithful men and women went out into the desert to seek God and live a life



of prayer. These Desert Abbas and Ammas became spiritual beacons whom others sought out for their wisdom in the ways of God. The seeker would approach and ask, ‘Abba (Amma), give me a word.’ We Brothers had the idea to adapt this desert tradition for today, offering each morning an online word to help others seeking a deeper relationship with God. Our inspiration came in part because of how this tradition answers the limitations around length inherent to sharing content online. The Abbas – at least as the tradition is passed down to us – managed to communicate profound ideas in few words. Here’s one example: Abba Macarius the Great said to the brothers at Scetis when he dismissed the assembly, ‘Flee, my brothers.’ One of the old men asked him, ‘Where could we flee to beyond this desert?’ He put his finger on his lips and said, ‘Flee that,’ and he went into his cell, shut the door and sat down.” Only 140-characters in a tweet? Not a problem. What is a problem for us Brothers, is that the ministry of the Abbas and Ammas was always based in relationship. They had real, personal relationships with the individuals who came seeking a word of meaning for their lives. The seeker would go off and meditate on Abba’s word for a week, then come back and say, ‘Abba, give me another word.’ The relationship would deepen over time. We are thrilled to know that ‘Brother, Give Us a Word’ is feeding and nurturing people, but there is a real limitation in the kind of relationships that can develop over that format. So this is where we struggle, as men rooted in the Fourth Gospel, rooted in the Incarnation: If the Incarnation is about enfleshing God, then how tangible a ‘word’ should we be offering? It’s one thing for me to have a conversation with someone in spiritual direction. It’s another for me to prepare a sermon for twenty, fifty, one hundred people in our chapel. It’s another thing entirely for our words to go out to 25,000 people each morning. What are all those messages worth, if we are we no longer in a real relationship with people?


SSJ Superior James Koster with brothers at the Monastery

For me, at least, an answer to this question comes in our understanding of worship. In fact, the words worth and worship are linguistically connected. Worship comes from the old English weorthscipe, meaning worthiness. We worship the things that we want to give worth to in our lives. As Brothers, our lives are rooted and grounded in worship of God, and out of that worship comes our individual lives of prayer. This is what gives our lives worth. And I would say that every online offering we produce also has its root in our worship. It may end up online, but it begins in the chapel, with our worship. The worth of these offerings – whatever power they have for others – is not in our words; the source of the power is our worship of God, which is a never ending stream. It’s always going on in this place and out from this place, and we never know where the river will run. For worship has a wonderful way of spilling its bounds. We read in our Rule, ‘In worship we are not bound to our own time and place; the commemoration of the saints links us with all the ages and every place where God has been glorified. It reveals to us the great cloud of witnesses in the heavens,

encouraging us on our straight course to God.’ You’re never on your own when you’re praying, even if you’re praying alone in your room, because in prayer you are joined to the Body of Christ. The prayers of ‘Brother, Give Us a Word’ begin in worship, and when they go online, they invite those distant from us in time and space to join their hearts to ours in that worship of God that goes on and on. And so our worship – and the fruit it bears in our online ministry – links us to the Body of Christ around the world. We never know what parched place in someone’s heart – ten years later, 8,000 miles away – will be watered by this very stream of worship, which first drew each member of our community here and forms our collective vocation. To subscribe to Brother, Give Us a Word, a daily email with a word of encouragement and hope from an SSJE Brother, visit: word. The SSJE Brothers’ 2017 Lenten series, 5 Marks of Love, takes up the Anglican Communion’s 5 Marks of Mission. Subscribe, watch videos, order or download the workbook and additional supporting materials at Visit SSJE’s website at

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f e at u r e


All ages joined in the wave of prayer in 2016

Thy Kingdom Come prayer wave goes global Calling Christian communities to pray for more people to know Jesus Christ

Fanning the embers of heritage – from Bishop Chris McLeod’s ordination at St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide in April 2015.

A GLOBAL WAVE of prayer, only a few weeks away, is capturing the imagination of many churches from provinces around the Anglican Communion. They are making plans to join in a focused time of prayer with Christian communities around the world from Pentecost (25 May) to Ascension (4 June 2017) praying for more people to come to know Jesus. More than 100,000 Christians from around the world took part in 2016 after the Archbishops of Canterbury and York invited churches to pray in fresh and focused ways during the days between Pentecost and Ascension – a time when the church traditionally focuses on prayer. They encouraged everyone to join in a wave of prayer called Thy Kingdom Come – asking for the Holy Spirit to help them be witnesses to Jesus Christ and to pray for others to discover that

“More than 100,000 Christians from around the world took part in 2016”



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living faith. There were many stories of people responding and having their lives turned around. This year the wave of prayer is starting to build again as preparations begin for Thy Kingdom Come 2017. Along with many churches in the UK, provinces of the Anglican Communion have committed to join in. In Hong Kong preparations are underway to launch the wave of prayer on Ascension Day in all the cathedrals in Hong Kong Island and in Western and Eastern Kowloon. The Revd Bartholomew Ma, chair of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH) Mission Commission, said, ‘How thankful we are to hear about the blessings of our Lord upon England through Thy Kingdom Come, a campaign of prayer last year. Being the youngest province of the Anglican Communion, we were more than willing to participate in this meaningful spiritual revival movement.’ The Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, the Primate of the HKSKH and Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council asked the Mission Commission to make plans. Bartholomew Ma said, ‘The congregations will then focus

praying for the evangelisation of the world, in particular, for the people of Hong Kong and Macau where Christian population is still under 10% and for the enormous population of 1.3 billion Mainland Chinese, most of whom haven’t even heard about Jesus Christ and the Life changing Gospel!’ He said they also hope to recruit 500–1000 spiritual warriors. He said, ‘They will be a virtual praying community whose members are willing to spend at least ten minutes everyday to pray for the mission/ missionary needs of the church. Ten Bible passages with relevant themes for meditation and reflection will be sent through the internet and cell phone Apps. In addition, ten or more focused prayer request items concerning outreach and evangelism of the Anglican Church will also be announced by the same method.’ ‘Last but not least, since the Province is collaborating with most denominations in the two cities to run ‘Hong Kong Gospel Festival 2017’ and ‘Macau Gospel Festival 2017’, ecumenical joint prayer meetings for evangelism will take place throughout the whole year until the end of the seven


Thy Kingdom Come



massive evangelization gatherings in December, 2017.’ In India the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion (CUAC) announced they would be participating in Thy Kingdom Come. At a recent meeting in Chennai about 50 college members attended a conference for the world-wide network. The Revd Canon James Callaway explained how the wave of prayer and its social media aspects had captured the imagination of the network. He explained how a collaboration with #AdventWord – the online daily prayers and mediations offered to the Anglican Communion during Advent 2016 – had helped chaplains see the value of prayer combined with social media. The conference delegates heard a presentation from Jamie Coats, who works with the brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE) to produce #AdventWord and is now working with Thy Kingdom Come and its planned daily on line prayers from 25 May to 4 June. Canon James Callaway said, ‘Chaplains in India and Asia, where Christians are in a minority, find it very hard to attract a crowd and get a hearing, but their core of students

“we’d like to see many more churches and individuals pledging to pray and lighting up the world with their prayers” find a small group, who begin to participate in something which invites you to pray and reflect, like #AdventWord, is attractive. It’s ‘sticky’ because as they start sharing it with their friends it snowballs in a way that chaplain’s ministry never can.’ He explained, ‘Our priority is to find tools and resources that will help chaplains develop spiritualty and prayer among their students and reach a larger community. We believe Thy Kingdom Come has the opportunity of being a powerful strand to use to take that forward.’ Several other provinces and dioceses within the Communion have already committed to be part of the Thy Kingdom Come and to join in praying for more people to come to know Jesus Christ and for

the Holy Spirit to help them to be effective witnesses. Bishops representing the Anglican church in Bermuda, the DR Congo, Brazil, South Africa, Ireland, Uganda, South East Asia, Mauritius, Egypt, Canada, West Africa and Portugal have all committed to be part of the wave of prayer. Many said they will also be inviting their ecumenical partners to join them. The Bishop of Portugal, the Rt Revd Jorge Pina Cabral, has committed the Lusitanian Church to join in and said the Church believes that intentional discipleship is an important area of mission and the wave of prayer will help them to reach their goal. Project leader of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Evangelism Task Group, Emma Buchan said the international response had been overwhelmingly positive, ‘We’re delighted that this is becoming a global movement and Christians around the world are capturing the vision to pray. But we’d like to see many more churches and individuals pledging to pray and lighting up the world with their prayers.’ To join the wave of prayer simply pledge to pray at

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f e at u r e

Welcoming those in need of support at Za’atari Camp for Syrian refugees


A journey from Aleppo How welcoming strangers is part of our calling… AS CHRISTIANS AROUND the world join in the season of Lent – traditionally a time for reflection and prayer – Anglican Alliance codirector, the Revd Andy Bowerman looks back on a trip to the Middle East… ‘On a recent visit to Jordan I met teenage sisters Yvanna & Diana at St Paul’s Church in Amman. They had made the perilous journey from Aleppo two weeks before my visit on a donkey, taking it in turns to walk alongside as their uncle led them to the border and then put them in the hands of a guardian for the few days they required on the other side. When I met the girls they were housed in the small elderly care centre that is built in the crypt of the church. They had tried several more suitable places along the way but either because of their nationality, their mild learning disability or their gender they were always told there

“Perhaps that is why I have such a heart for the refugee. It is in my DNA,”



was no room. They were eventually made welcome by Fr George Kopti, the Palestinian priest in charge at St Paul’s who told me, ‘Here we always want to follow Jesus’ command to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick.’ He continued, ‘We offer very practical help, clothes, food, & money are collected and all are allowed to take what they need, we now have a vision to provide a small clinic for the many refugees from Iraq and the few who have made it from Syria, like Yvanna and Diana.’ As I sat and talked with Fr George he shared his own story. He too was born to refugee parents. His father being born on the roadside between Jaffa and Amman as his grandparents fled yet another conflict in the late 1940’s. ‘Perhaps that is why I have such a heart for the refugee. It is in my DNA,’ he confided. Refugees with different names – Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled from Bethlehem to Egypt, and their journey made a difference to the entire world. I am pondering how we engage with the story now. What does it say to us about how

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we support vulnerable teenagers? Or how we welcome the stranger from another land? Whether we are offering the simple practical help we can to those in need at home and abroad? Since I returned from Jordan Diana and Yvana have been reunited with their father and brother and have recently moved to the United Arab Emirates to begin a new life. Where small gifts are given with love, they can bring incredible transformation. Just as the gift of Jesus points us to a new way of being, where walls are torn down and bridges built between communities.’


Diana with elderly residents in Amman


Refugees receive support at Za’atari Camp

Borderland help Episcopal Relief and Development helps create a centre of hope ZA’ATARI IS THE fourth largest ‘city’ in Jordan. Since civil unrest and military hostilities escalated in Syria five years ago, an estimated 1.4 million people have accepted the hospitality of their neighbours in Jordan, with many ending up at the Za’atari Camp. Andy Bowerman spent a day in the camp on the Syria-Jordan border, which is now more like a small town with its own shop and school, showing how long term the refugee crisis has become. The expectation is that the families and individuals in Za’atari Camp could be there for a long time. The camp began as a fenced-off strip of desert for an initial 38,000 Syrians with limited infrastructure and services. Today, it is home to over 170,000 Syrian refugees. What was meant to be a temporary resting spot has become a static and sombre place five years into the crisis. Since 2013 the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) has run a centre for children with disabilities in the Za’atari refugee camp. Children with disabilities become some of the most vulnerable people in the camp and the centre has helped support more than 3,000

children, together with young and elderly people with hearing, visual or mental disabilities. Each day 75 children come into the centre to receive help with hearing devices, therapy, education or simply support and friendship from HLID staff and the centre’s 14 volunteers. No agencies in the Za’atari Camp offered disability programmes and so this meant that children with disabilities couldn’t take part in everyday life and education was all the more complicated. Andy met HLID Director Brother Andrew L. de Carpentier, who launched the Disability Center with support from Episcopal Relief & Development and other organisations. Brother Andrew said, ‘So many families fleeing catastrophe, war and death become uninvited guests in another land, and many children with disabilities become the most vulnerable. Thank God for the goodness and kindness these guests meet on the way, like Mary and Joseph did in Bethlehem. Thank God that we are able to help them pick up some of the pieces of their lives and look after their children who already struggle with disabilities.’

In ‘looking after’ children the Center resembles a school that might be anywhere: The walls are painted with Smurf characters and bright colours. Building blocks, floor mats, books, tables and toys fill the classrooms. The halls are abuzz with giggles and chatter. Children, teachers and voluteers interact in a constant motion of compassionate learning, turning this makeshift structure into a happy contrast to the camp beyond. Nowadays it shows how a centre in a camp for Syrian refugees has become an opportunity for hope. It serves as both a bright social spot in the camp and as a school for children who might otherwise be overlooked. And just like the work in Amman, the small acts of kindness offered by those like Brother Andrew and his team are having a huge impact on people’s lives. For more stories on the relief work see: and Includes extracts from stories on

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p ro f i l e

Ministering to the military

BIshop Nigel enjoying coffee with forces personnel

The Bishop to the Forces, Nigel Stock talks about his role… TODAY’S SOLDIERS ARE often at the forefront of a crisis, whether it’s peacekeeping or waging war or even delivering humanitarian aid and medical support, their roles are incredibly demanding. It’s a fact that more than 65 per cent of the world’s nations are heavily influenced by their armed forces. So how should the church respond? Should we keep our distance or reach out in support? One man who’s been given the remit to offer pastoral care and connect with the British military is the Bishop to the Forces, the Rt Revd Nigel Stock who is based at Lambeth Palace in London. Bishop Nigel took up his joint role in 2014. It also includes being the Bishop for the Falkland Islands



“The chaplains have an important role as a conduit for the very extraordinary skills that people gain that can be fed into the wider church as well.”

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and the Bishop at Lambeth, a supporting role to the Archbishop of Canterbury. As the Bishop to the Forces he has pastoral oversight for Anglican chaplains and the Anglican Church within the Forces.

Bishop Nigel said, ‘I’m the Archbishop’s episcopal representative to the armed forces which is a bridging role and a pastoral role.’ The bishop works with and supports Anglican chaplains in the forces, he explained, ‘The chaplains have an important role as a conduit for the very extraordinary skills that people gain that can be fed into the wider church as well. The understanding and knowledge chaplains gain through being in very stressful situations and how faith relates to that is a gift to the church.’ Before taking up the threepronged role, Bishop Nigel was the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich for seven years. He was



educated at Durham University and studied for ordination at Ripon College, Cuddesdon. He started his ministry in the Diocese of Durham. Then he moved abroad in 1979 for five years as priest-incharge of St Peter’s in Taraka in the Diocese of Aipo Rongo, Papua New Guinea. On return to the UK in 1985 he worked in various roles in the Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham, before being appointed as the Bishop of Stockport in the Diocese of Chester in 2000. He has links with a number of trusts and organisations and until recently was Chair of the Melanesian Mission UK. Talking about his work over the past two years, Bishop Nigel said, ‘My conversations with chaplains can range from the very deep issues of how they minister to people who have been involved in combat and taken life and what it’s done to them, bearing in mind the Forces have been deployed in combat in several areas of the world in recent years. The wider pastoral issues of anxious families and the more routine but equally serious things like care for people who have been injured and who have been marked by what’s happened to them. It seems to me, there is still some way to go to a full understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although it’s a word that’s been around a lot. There is still a lot of work to do in understanding PTSD and its long-term effects and it’s been noticeable that chaplains have been very aware and very careful about that.’ Bishop Nigel acknowledged that there are many ethical and moral issues facing both Christians


Bishop Nigel Stock

Checking out military machinery

“Of course, there are huge ethical things that do arise that people want to talk about.” in the military and the Church as it stands alongside them. He said he always asks potential military chaplains about their understanding of faith within a military context. ‘The role of the chaplain is not to go round judging people, it’s to understand all people deserve to know of the love of Jesus Christ and all people are deserving of the pastoral care that Christ would want. Of course, there are huge ethical things that do arise that people want to talk about.’ Chaplains in the British military have been highly valued in the last few years according to the Bishop. He said, ‘I have been struck by the number of times people in senior positions have gone out of their way to take me to one side in order to say how much they value the work of a particular chaplain and I have come across people who, when their unit is being deployed, want to make sure one of the first things they want is to have the right chaplain, before they do anything else.’ He said operations in Iraq and Afghanistan had highlighted the vital role of a chaplain supporting soldiers in dangerous and stressful combat situations. And although chaplains can find themselves in the thick of the

fighting, British military chaplains do not carry weapons. ‘They are there to offer the love of Christ as non-combatants,’ explained Bishop Nigel. ‘Ever since the First World War that red line has been an important one to keep. This is because it gives an independent perspective and one chaplain has remarked to me that a soldier told him, ‘Padre, it’s good that you haven’t taken life, because those of us that have had to, can talk to you and you are separate from it, yet you know the circumstances in which we’ve worked.’ ‘ Earlier in his ministry, Bishop Nigel was an officiating chaplain to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, so has some experience of military life abroad. And although chaplains in some countries may carry weapons he said, ‘Anything I have heard about chaplains carrying arms in some countries, has reinforced to me the value of non-combatants chaplains.’ According to the Bishop the church in any country has a vital role to play in working with the military and being an influence for good through Christians in the military or military chaplaincy. As the numbers of reservists in the UK grow more members of the armed forces are increasingly part of local communities to which the church ministers. He said, ‘They may or may not be part of congregations, but they are there with particular needs and it would be good if the church could become aware of those in the military who may live outside the wire of the military base.’

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a n g l i c a n yo u t h


The Bishop of Niassa, the Rt Revd Manuel Ernesto plants trees at the youth conference

Planting trees to save their world YOUNG PEOPLE FROM Mozambique and Angola, who have been dealing with the crippling effects of climate change, have been leading the way in making a difference by planting trees. Youth representatives from three Portuguese-speaking dioceses – Lebombos, Niassa and Angola – met for the first time at the end of November at the

“Each of the dioceses has been badly affected by climate change. Mozambique has suffered from devastating floods, whereas Angola has endured crippling drought” 22


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diocesan centre in Maciene, in the Mozambique province of Gaza, where Green Anglicans led a workshop on environmental mission. Each of the dioceses has been badly affected by climate change. Mozambique has suffered from devastating floods, whereas Angola has endured crippling drought. Spurred on by what they heard, the young people from each area prepared action plans for the year ahead, pledging to plant trees and develop a nursery in southern Mozambique, where there is already a Sunday School project teaching children to save and plant seeds whenever they eat fruit. The diocese of Angola is calling their programme, O verde no meu habitat – Greening my Habitat; and they plan to celebrate Green June at their youth conferences

in June. They are going to call on every young person to bring a tree to plant in their local church every year. In the diocese of Niassa their diocesan youth conference prepared and trained the young people to join in a clean-up campaign in the host city of Cuamba. They will take the opportunity of the consecration of the bishop when the clergy will all be gathered, to run a workshop for clergy on environmental ministry and will also call on families to plant a tree at every baptism. Their campaigning will include awareness campaigns and clean-up programmes in local communities. At the end of the workshop there was a special tree planting and blessing of trees donated by Anglican Social Action.

the last word


On the road by rachel farmer

AUTHOR AND FORMER vicar of Holy Island in Northumberland, UK, David Adam writes about pilgrimage and says it has more to do with relationships than destinations. In his new book, The Awesome Journey, he writes, ‘True pilgrimage is about the opening of our eyes and our hearts, not simply about travelling… it involves seeing this world as God’s world and the people in it – including ourselves as people loved by God.’ The Archbishop of York, the Rt Revd Dr John Sentamu, echoes these words as he talks about his own experience of pilgrimage around his diocese. After travelling around Yorkshire for six months, he was back on the road again in January 2017aiming to join all 21 deaneries in his diocese for weekends of celebration, witness and blessing, telling others of the

love of God. For Archbishop Sentamu his pilgrimage is all about trying to let the life of Jesus out into the community where people are. ‘I think what we have tended to do is to forget that Jesus went to the Synagogue,’ he said. ‘Yes, Jesus went to the Temple, yet most of his time was spent out on the road, and we need to be on the road because that’s where most people are.’ Wherever he goes, from visiting schools to community cafes, the Archbishop said people were always very welcoming. ‘They are hungry for the love of God and they are hungry for their community to be a community of God and they are hungry for love. They want to be loved and they want to love other people.’ Getting out and meeting people in their own situations has been a refreshing and life-giving experience for the Archbishop. In

“Getting out and meeting people in their own situations has been a refreshing and lifegiving experience for the Archbishop.”

the same way for any of us setting out on new journeys, whether they are physical or spiritual, it’s an opportunity to have our eyes opened to new experiences and our hearts inspired by those we meet. According to David Adam, ‘Pilgrimage is more about the heart than the soles of the feet.’ Perhaps it’s time to set off? Rachel Farmer is Editor of Anglican World

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Anglican world issue 144  
Anglican world issue 144