While in the U.K., he also now makes a point of making a relationship-building visit to one of the three neighbouring Celtic primates, who themselves meet once a year. “One of the frustrations has been that we felt people talk about Canada but not to Canada,” says Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the primate, who accompanied Archbishop Hiltz on the trip, Nov. 28 to Dec. 3.
Last year Archbishop Hiltz met with the primus of Scotland, and the year before that with the primate of Ireland. “The aim is to establish friendships and build relationships through face-to-face conversations, so that when we attend the next Primates’ Meeting, we are not strangers,” says Canon Fehely.
As guests of Archbishop Barry Morgan, primate of Wales, they attended a sung Eucharist on the eve of St. Andrew’s Day at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. “The prayer books are printed in Welsh on the left side and English on the right, and I was impressed at how easily people flow from one language to the other,” Feheley says.
The visit familiarized the primate and archdeacon with critical issues in the Welsh province and its current intense efforts in mission and development. The Anglican Communion was another topic of discussion. “The focus was on learning, sharing and developing friendships. says Feheley.
Returning to London, they attended an Evensong at historic Westminster Abbey. Over the next few days, a series of meetings with Anglican Communion staff members covered a range of topics, including the sixth mark of mission. “Each conversation further clarified where Canada was on a particular issue,” he says.
At Lambeth Palace, the primate and canon celebrated Morning Prayer and Holy Communion with Archbishop Rowan Williams in the ancient bare-walled Crypt Chapel, where people have prayed over the centuries. “This busy man was already there in the chapel by 7 a.m., kneeling in quiet contemplation,” says Feheley.
Over the next few hours, they discussed several matters, among them the Anglican Covenant and the educational guide posted last summer on the website of the Anglican Church of Canada. “Archbishop Williams had obviously read our material, and he seemed appreciative that Canada was giving the covenant a fair hearing,” says Feheley. “He’s interested in the residential schools issue and asked particularly about the recent Truth and Reconciliation event in Halifax.” Also discussed were the recent Canadian House of Bishops meeting, attended by the Bishop of Bermuda, our announced partnership with the diocese of Jerusalem and the motion before the Church of England to recognize the Anglican Church in North America.
On the eve of his return to Canada, Archbishop Hiltz was welcomed at Evensong at St. Paul’s Cathedral, now reopened after a week’s closure during the fall Occupy protests.