“Different But Indispensable”: learning together in Évreux

by Gerry Lynch last modified 06 Feb, 2014 02:45 PM

Salisbury team visits partner diocese in France.

On Friday 17 January, the Évreux Committee were met by Abbé Pierre at the monastery of Le Bec Halouin, who outlined ecumenical developments in Normandie, including preparations for a conference of all denominations, due to take place in June.

At a shared service of Vespers in the convent, Abbé Pierre summed this up in these words: “Today, because we all share in the one baptism, we can consider ourselves all to be members of the body of Christ, happily all very different but indispensable to each other.”

Meeting with the parish priests of Lisieux on the Saturday, we learnt much about the local organisation of parish ministry in multi-parish benefices and were treated to a detailed and generous introduction to the local church heritage.

Pilgrimage is a major focus in Lisieux and it is clear that this is a significant area of ministry. We also met the protestant pastor, who outlined the ecumenical steps that have been taken to unite different denominations.

Bishop Christian of Évreux presided at a joint service in Bernay on Sunday. Members of the English group assisted with readings and prayers and Archdeacon Paul Taylor displayed considerable musical skill on the organ! The committee learnt much about Bishop Christian's own initiatives, working with parishes to create a church shaped to the needs of the 21st century.

Our ecumenical link is characterised by the warmest hospitality, enriched with ideas and commitment to Scripture. Both dioceses feel the benefit of shared expertise and relationship, and discussions are already bearing fruit in Wiltshire and Dorset as parish ministry is reimagined, with clergy deployed in fresh ways.

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