Archbishop Angaelos preaches
at WPCU in Kensington
and Notting Hill
Chris Luxton writes:
On 22nd January, which was Day 5 of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), we had a joyful ecumenical worship service hosted by my church, St Philips in the Earls Court Road - under the auspices of the two local ecumenical bodies: Kensington Council of Churches (KCC) with Churches Together in Notting Hill (CTiNH).
KCC Executive was delighted, that our Vicar, the Revd Philippa Turner, had agreed with alacrity, and even more pleased to hear that she had visited Archbishop Angaelos, first Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Orthodox President of CTE, and Moderator of CTBI and he had accepted her invitation to be our preacher!
As Archbishop Angaelos commented in his address, "How could anyone say 'No' to Pippa!?" He also reminded the congregation that the first ecumenical engagements for the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, was through the relationship between St Marks Coptic Orthodox Church in Kensington, and the Kensington Council of Churches thirty years ago. The Archbishop preached, inspiringly and topically, on "He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor" Luke 4:18. Deacons from St Marks chanted the Gospel response Alleluia.
Who attended the service? The Vicar welcomed a fairly eclectic mix of nearly 150 people (including the Mayor of the Royal Borough) drawn from at least 19 member churches in KCC plus 17 local Notting Hill churches. We used the CTBI materials, put together by the churches in Indonesia, adapting the Order of Service, in which Archbishop Angaelos took a close interest; he chose the first hymn, 'Amazing Grace'. The Armenian Primate, Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, was also able to attend (see picture) and his Diocesan Ecumenical Officer, Grace Sargsyan read the first lesson from Deuteronomy 16, "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue." The Church of England local Ecumenical Adviser, Canon William Taylor read the 2nd lesson from Romans 12, 'Let love be genuine'.
The congregation was asked to write on cards what commitment each of us can make to justice, which were offered to God on the altar, and to reps of KCC and CTiNH, so that we can consider how to enable our constituents to carry out these commitments.
A former KCC Chairman, the Revd James Mather (then Minister of Kensington URC) was spotted in the congregation, as was Mgr James Curry from Our Lady of Victories, who hosted last year's Service. St Philip's catering team pulled out all the stops for the joyous after-service Reception (we hoped to match Mgr Jim's wonderful hospitality!) to which most flocked, including the Mayor.
Picture. On the right, His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London. On the left, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of UK & Ireland. Centre, the Reverend Philippa Turner, the Vicar of St Philips, Earls Court Road, Church of England, who hosted the Unity Service.
Photo credit: Chris Luxton, Kensington Council of Churches.