Provisional plans for a season of repentance and prayer across the Anglican Communion next year have been put forward by a task group set up after the Primates’ Meeting in 2016.
The season would be launched with the publication of a specific prayer and would run from Pentecost until late in 2019.
The group, which has been meeting in London this week, said the season would focus on individual provinces week by week. Materials to support the initiative will be gathered and distributed by the Anglican Communion Office.
Archbishop Ian Ernest, from the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, who has been chairing this week’s meeting, said the season would be the Communion’s gift to a world in pain.
“We are aware of difficulties and hurts,” he said. “The world knows brokenness. The Anglican Communion has had its struggles and its brokenness, too. So, this is our response: our belief that prayer will help us to grow and to love in spite of differences. Our belief is that our differences don’t need to lead to hate, but prayer can lead us to heal where relationships have been impaired.”
Churches, he added, “are called to be instruments of love and forgiveness, of righteousness and truth.”
The task group, established in January 2016 by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the request of primates, aims to restore relationships, rebuild mutual trust and responsibility, heal the legacy of hurt and explore deeper relationships across the Communion. It presented an interim report on its work to the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury last October.
Ernest said the group was now working on concrete actions that reflected its mandate to help the Communion to “walk together” in spite of differences. He said he hoped the season of prayer would also help build momentum towards the Lambeth Conference in 2020.
The group said its prayer for the Communion had been, and would continue to be, an echo of Christ’s prayer that “they may all be one…that the world may believe,” and [its] unity, life and witness would “strive to be within Christ’s will.”