Durham Cathedral hosted four Bishops from the Anglican and Catholic Churches today (Sunday 6th September) in a special service uniting members of the Christian faith. Attending this special ecumenical service were: from the Church of England the Archbishop of York, the Most Revd and Rt Hon. Dr John Sentamu and the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler and from the Catholic Church the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Revd Malcolm McMahon and the Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Rt Revd Séamus Cunningham.
Titled Living the Joy of the Gospel, the service was inspired by the recent meeting of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope and the publication of Pope Francis’ exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and was themed around mission and the importance of evangelism for the future of Christian churches.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “Next to worship, witness is the primary and urgent task of the Church of God. Making disciples and making Christ known to others is at the heart of our shared Christian faith. Like the great Northern Saints, Paulinus, Aidan, Cuthbert, Hilda, Cedd, Chad, let us continue to be inspired and encouraged to live out the joy of the Gospel, and share it with others”.
Archbishop McMahon said: “It is a powerful witness that Catholics, Anglicans and other Christians came together in Durham Cathedral to dedicate themselves to the Church’s mission. All Christians are called to be evangelisers, to proclaim Jesus Christ in words and action.
Just as this magnificent Cathedral speaks to us of the presence of Christ in our world, I hope that this service will help us to recommit ourselves to be that presence, bringing his Gospel of joy, mercy and peace to those whom we meet.”
Bishop Seamus Cunningham said: “The Holy Spirit is inspiring, provoking and leading the Church of Jesus Christ to proclaim the Good News in this land. We can only do this by living the joy of the Gospel in our everyday lives. The best decision anyone can ever make is to follow Jesus Christ, and to do this effectively, we need to work together wherever possible around the three P’s of prayer, peace and poverty – as Pope Francis suggested when he met with Archbishop Welby.”
Churches and Christian groups of all denominations from across the whole of the North East were invited to send members along and members of the public were warmly welcomed to attend this special service. The service concluded with a commissioning, during which the congregation were invited to make a dedication to mission and send out a card as a simple way to begin a conversation with someone about Christian faith.
The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said: “It was a delight to host our ecumenical colleagues from the Roman Catholic Church and also to have the Archbishop of York here in Durham Cathedral in a service of shared Christian Worship and fellowship.”
An audio interview courtesy of Premier Christian Radio
A full set of images from the service can be viewed below.