Archbishop to address churches forum on unity
Following the controversy of the recent synod Rowan Williams will jointly lead this weekend the broadest and most representative gathering of Christians in England.
The Archbishop will give a keynote address as over three hundred representatives of national churches, country ecumenical bodies and local groups meet at Swanwick for the seventh Forum of Churches Together in England (CTE).
The theme of the Forum is "Contributing to a Common Life" which will also be led by the other CTE Presidents - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Free Churches Moderator Revd David Coffey, and Revd Esme Beswick, General Secretary of the Joint Council for Anglo-Caribbean Churches.
In preparation for the Forum 600 completed questionnaires were received by CTE from local Churches Together groupings which amongst other things reflect frustration about the negative influence of some clergy and the pain experienced because the Eucharist cannot be fully shared.
The main Forum Eucharist will for the first time be led by a Pentecostal minister, Revd Esme Beswick, a former Chair of Brixton Council of Churches.
This will be the first Forum for Dr Rowan Williams, who signed a Personal Covenant with the other Presidents of CTE soon after he came into office as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Issues to be investigated include the future of Anglican-Methodist relations following the recent decisions of Methodist Conference and General Synod, inter faith relations, the Churches' capacity to speak on public affairs, and engaging with the unchurched.
General Secretary of Churches Together in England, Revd Bill Snelson, said; "What makes the Forum so interesting and exciting is that it is a microcosm of the diversity of the life of the Churches in England - a rich variety of ages, backgrounds, traditions and responsibilities. It really is an expression of our common life together - and one where hopefully every contribution, insight and emphasis is valued."