Thursday, 11 October 2012

Evangelisation must flow from experience, says Anglican leader

Evangelisation is not a project, but the natural "overflow" of an experience of Christ and his church that transforms lives, giving them meaning and joy, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion told Pope Benedict XVI and the Synod of Bishops, reports the Catholic News Service.

"Those who know little and care even less about the institutions and hierarchies of the church these days" nevertheless are attracted and challenged by Christians whose lives show they have been transformed by their encounter with Christ, said Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, head of the Church of England.
The leader of the Anglican Communion was invited by Pope Benedict to deliver a major address at the synod on the new evangelisation October 10.

Archbishop Williams began his talk by remembering the Second Vatican Council, which, he said, was a sign that "the church was strong enough to ask itself some demanding questions about whether its culture and structures were adequate to the task of sharing the Gospel with the complex, often rebellious, always restless mind of the modern world."

In many ways, he said, the synod on new evangelization is a continuation of the work of Vatican II.
Presenting the Gospel means being confident that it has a distinctive, life-giving message, the archbishop said. Confidence in the message, and not in oneself, can be cultivated only through contemplation, he said.
"With our minds made still and ready to receive, with our self-generated fantasies about God and ourselves reduced to silence, we are at last at the point where we may begin to grow," he said.

"The face we need to show to our world is the face of a humanity in endless growth toward love, a humanity so delighted and engaged by the glory of what we look toward that we are prepared to embark on a journey without end to find our way more deeply into it," Archbishop Williams told the synod.

During an interview earlier in the day with Catholic News Service and Vatican Radio, the archbishop said, "If evangelisation is just rallying the troops or just trying to get people to sign up, something's missing -- what's missing is the transformed humanity that the Gospel brings us."

The archbishop urged the synod to support the Taize ecumenical community and similar ecumenical efforts that help people learn prayer and contemplation. "The more we keep apart from each other as Christians of different confessions," the less convincing we will be, he told synod members.

He also told the pope and synod participants that nurturing a habit of contemplation "strips away an unthinking superiority toward other baptized believers and the assumption that I have nothing to learn from them."

FULL STORY Evangelisation must flow from experience, Anglican leader tells synod (CNS)

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)