Catholic sister to move into Lambeth Palace

18 November 2013 | by Abigail Frymann Rouch

Four members of the Catholic-founded ecumenical community, Chemin Neuf, are to move into Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office confirmed today.

The four will comprise a married Anglican couple, Ione and Alan Morley-Fletcher; a Lutheran in training for ministry, Oliver Matri; and a consecrated lay woman and a member of the Chemin Neuf community, Ula Michlowicz.

Chemin Neuf will follow in the footsteps of a line of sisters from the Anglican Religious communities of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, the Community of the Holy Name and the Sisters of the Love of God, who have served at Lambeth Palace over the past 24 years.

A source told The Tablet Archbishop Welby felt Lambeth was such a large premises that he wanted to make better use of it.

Lambeth Palace said today that the four Chemin Neuf members will “share in the daily round of prayer and worship which underpins his ministry, and to further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work”.

Archbishop Welby described the move as a “radical and exciting new step”. "The Church is constantly called to realise its God-given unity. The Holy Spirit blows through our lives and our structures and impels us into new ways of learning to love each other as Christ loves us … We pray that this step of obedience will bear fruit among us, and for the church."

Fr Laurent Fabre, founder and Superior General of the Chemin Neuf community, said the archbishop’s invitation showed “courage and wisdom” to invite a Catholic Community with an ecumenical vocation to Lambeth, “the heart of the Anglican Communion”.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, said the initiative was “a clear and bold sign of the importance of prayer in the search for visible Christian unity”. He said it would bring “the riches of a number of Christian traditions of prayer to the life of the Palace”.

Chemin Neuf is a Catholic foundation with an ecumenical vocation, consisting of men and women, married and single, some who have taken lifetime vows and others committed for a shorter term. Its members come from different Christian denominations.

On 9 November Archbishop Nichols preached at an event for Chemin Neuf and other new movements in London. He told them he hoped “the Church may ever grow from the gifts given to you”.

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