10 June 2019, The Tablet

Despite differences Christians are 'one in Christ' says Welby

Cardinal Nichols described the Holy Spirit as the source of “so much beauty, generosity and fruitfulness in our landscape”

Despite differences Christians are 'one in Christ' says Welby

The congregation during the Thy Kingdom Come Pentecost Sunday event in Trafalgar Square, London
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told Christians across denominations and traditions gathered at Pentecost that despite differences they were “one in Christ”.

Speaking to over 5,000 Christians at the ecumenical event marking the culmination of “Thy Kingdom Come”, a 10-day prayer initiative launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, in Trafalgar Square on 9 June, the Archbishop said that it was the Holy Spirit of God and “nothing else” that made it possible for people with such differences to be one church.

"We can say what we like but we can't do very much in the human heart, only the Spirit speaks from heart to heart," he said.

Pointing toward Parliament, he said the nation's politicians were "struggling" and "suffering" as they try to find agreement on Brexit. 

"What can change it? It's the Spirit of God and God is calling the church to be confident about bringing the healing and hope in Jesus to this country,” he said.

"We have a moment of opportunity in saying yes we're different and Jesus does not say to you all be the same, he says I made you different and you will be drawn in your difference with love for one another through the cross and resurrection, through Ascension and Pentecost, through the coming of the Spirit, and we will see our society transformed."

Cardinal Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, described the Holy Spirit as the source of “so much beauty, generosity and fruitfulness in our landscape”.

Describing the billowing sails of the tall ships that he used to see as a child, the Cardinal said the Holy Spirit is “the wind of God blowing into the sails of the Church, moving her forward, on course towards the Kingdom where our fulfilment lies, announcing hope, calmness, purpose, service, as her witness on this pilgrimage in our world”.

He closed by praying for the refreshing water of the Spirit to “refresh our parched world”.

“We pray for the great wind of the Holy Spirit to fill our sails and urge us forward not only to the Eternal Kingdom which is our destiny but also in the witness we give to the reality of that Kingdom, here and now: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace,” he said.

Other church leaders attending the event included the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos, and the chair of the Redeemed Christian Church of God UK, Pastor Agu Irukwu.

The Anglican Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Sarah Mullally, led the square in praying for Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick and other representatives of the London emergency services.

Christian singer, Matt Redman, and the Kingdom Choir, who performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, led the crowd in worship.

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