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United over 150th: Historical event for Churches

The signing of a covenant between the Anglican diocese of Brisbane and the Catholic dioceses of Brisbane and Toowoomba on Friday May 29 will celebrate a Queensland relationship between the two Churches that goes back to this State’s foundation.

Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane Phillip Aspinall, and Catholic Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane and Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba will be joint signatories to the covenant at a combined act of worship at St Stephen’s Cathedral starting 7.30pm.

Catholics throughout Brisbane archdiocese have been invited to the historical event known as “A Celebration of Our Common Sesquicentenary and a Signing of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Covenant” .

The event will also mark the 25th anniversary of Archbishop Francis Rush and Anglican Archbishop John Grindrod’s signing of a Common Declaration in support of ecumenical co-operation in St John’s Cathedral on the same date in 1984.

Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral and member of the covenant’s organising committee Fr Ken Howell said he “vividly remembered being present at this ceremony”.

“All present were filled with hope and optimism for the greater working together of Anglicans and Catholics as a result of the agreement,” Fr Howell said.

“It also seems very appropriate to renew this agreement in the sesquicentenary year of both dioceses.”

Project officer for the archdiocese’s sesquicentenary celebrations Catherine Newell said heads of many major churches throughout Queensland, as well as public dignitaries, have been invited to “this significant ecumenical event which will take place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity”.

Choristers from both cathedrals will lead the congregation in sacred song.

The covenant, which will be made available along with other documents for study purposes to local Anglican and Catholic parishes, schools and other communities, commits to a range of ongoing ecumenical activities.

Among these is “to celebrate an annual Ecumenical Service of Reconciliation … to be held as near as possible to November 4 (Anglican Roman Catholic Reconciliation Day) and to be rotated around the three cathedrals and the Anglican parishes in Toowoomba”.

Other initiatives include the promotion of an annual joint clergy day for the clergy of the three dioceses to reflect on shared pastoral, social or theological issues; the exploration of possibilities for co-operative use of church plant and resources; and a review and celebration of a re-affirmation of the covenant every three years.

Released by The Catholic Leader

May 25, 2009

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