By Sebastian Harries
For the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, The Lay Centre co-organised a talk by the biblical scholar and Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright and a service of ecumenical evening prayer. The event took place at the Centro Pro Unione and was attended by members from different Christian denominations in Rome, including Archbishop David Moxon from the Anglican Centre, Rev. Tim Macquiban, director or the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome. The service was led by Dom Anthony Currer from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Residents of The Lay Centre helped with the service and sang in the choir.
Bishop N.T. Wright’s talk was entitled “The Church as the People of God.” His vision for the church is that of the “New Temple,” where heaven and Earth come together and the human race is renewed. He encouraged Christians to hold ecumenical Bible study groups, where instead of just remembering passages of Scripture, Christians truly enter the narrative themselves.
Drawing on St Paul’s Letter to the Romans, in which Paul addresses Christians of Rome struggling to overcome their differences, Bishop N.T. Wright said different church groups heed Paul’s call to worship together and not to judge one another; Christians must have one voice to glorify God.
Here is video from the Centro Pro Unione, with excerpts from the service and photos of the talk.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity concluded with Vespers, led by Pope Francis at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. A group from The Lay Centre attended the prayer at the tomb of St Paul. They were joined by Jesuit Father James Martin, an author and editor of the America Magazine.
As a sign of Christian unity, Pope Francis entered the basilica through the holy door with the Orthodox Metropolitan Gennadios and Anglican Archbishop David Moxon. The pope gave a moving homily, stating that “by walking and working together, we realise that we are already united in the name of the Lord.” In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, he also called for the healing of past divisions saying that “God’s mercy will renew our relationships.”