The leader of the Anglican Church of Canada has emerged from his Dec. 6 meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury-elect, Justin Welby, feeling “very optimistic about his leadership.”
Archbishop Fred Hitz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, noted Welby’s “extensive ministry of reconciliation” and told the Journal that, “I get is a sense that he wants to be personally pro-active to build relations.
The two met at Auckland Castle, the official residence of the bishop of Durham, in County Durham, England. The visit was part of Hiltz’ annual visit to Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion office.
Hiltz also met with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who is retiring at the end of this month, on Dec. 7. The discussion included plans by the Episcopal diocese of Jerusalem to launch a financial appeal that has a potential to be a Communion-wide campaign.
On Mar. 21, 2013, Hiltz will be part of a group of church leaders across the Anglican Communion who will attend the new archbishop’s enthronement at Canterbury Cathedral.
Welby, 56, was an executive in the oil industry for 11 years before he pursued a degree in theology in 1989. He was ordained a deacon in 1992 and spent 15 years in the diocese of Coventry as curate and rector of various parishes. In 2007, he was installed a dean of Liverpool Cathedral and three years later, he became the bishop of Durham.
During his meeting with Welby, Hiltz said he mentioned ongoing concern about efforts by the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) to be recognized by the Church of England. Composed of Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the U.S., ACNA describes itself as “an emerging Province in the global Anglican Communion.”
Hiltz said he requested that if bodies of the Church of England are to meet with representatives of ACNA, “in fairness, they should also meet with us to get a better picture.” Welby was “very appreciative” of the place of the Anglican Church of Canada in the Communion and the contributions it has been able to make, added Hiltz.
Hiltz’ visit also included a visit on December 10 to the Southwark Cathedral, where he preached at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Eucharists.
In his homily, Hiltz said that his annual visit England was his way of building relationships with the Archbishop of Canterbury and his staff so that they “heard from the church in Canada, not about the church in Canada.” He spoke about the Canadian church’s commitment to the Marks of Mission and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which he called “signs of hope for millions.”
Churches around the world need “a deeper holiness…one in which much attention is given to our calling as the people of God sent to witness to the world through social care and concern as to the people of God as gathered community,” said Hiltz.
The primate also paid tribute to Williams, saying he has an “amazing capacity to bring us back to the Gospel.”
The podcast of Hiltz’ homily can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/dy5sslt
With files from the Diocese of Southwark News