The Director's Blog

I thank God for you all 

DM farewell greet

I have the privilege of sharing some thoughts with you for the last time, as Director to the readers of the ACR blog on our website. I have now completed my term as ACR director and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See. Looking back I can honestly say that it has all been an immense privilege. We are so blessed to be witnessing a friendship between Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin at this time, as Christian brothers and global leaders  who are seeking the common good together. I leave Rome with a full and thankful heart, that notwithstanding the difficulties and frailties of human beings we are being guided , by an invisible hand that has a nail hole in the centre of it, but also shines with a light that the darkness cannot overcome.

I had an emotional farewell with the Holy Father on Friday which I will always remember as long as I live. We talked about the progress being made by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission stage three, following the recent meeting in Erfurt, Germany, where Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk and teacher; ARCIC III has just produced a draft text on shared ecclesiology principles. We talked of the hopes that there are in Christ between us, for a deeper re-integrated diversity as we look to a church fully reconciled in God’s good time. I said that I had received  so much from my time in Rome from his example and courage, his vision and creativity. The church is on the move because of prophetic, servant, leadership like his and Archbishop Justin’s. Then Pope Francis met my family and the staff and friends of the Anglican Centre and led us all in the Lord's Prayer.

DM farewell prayer
I gave Pope Francis a carved a Maori wooden cross which had signs of his Franciscan vocation, gathering threads that interweave together in our ecumenical efforts, and the two different but complementary strengths of our respective communions are needed in God’s Kingdom today.
DM farewell gift

Pope Francis also received the copy of our new ACR book by Mary Reath  “An Open Door” which tells our story so well in recent years around presence, hospitality, education, best practice, collaboration and diplomacy. As the audience finished, some of us sang, in Maori, a song about Mary as the mother of the Christian world. I know that my successor Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi will share an equally good link with the successor of Peter.

DM farewell song
I have learned that it is only through incarnating love in prayer, Christian friendship and the fruits it brings, that there is the room to transform, to heal and to bring in a new creation. The ACR is a crucial base for creative life-giving friendships in Rome and beyond; an urgent presence as the world gets smaller and our need to act together grows stronger. This has been my experience over the years for which, as I leave,  I thank God with all my heart. I am so deeply grateful to all of you who have been such supportive friends and who have been such great supporters of this mission here. I have been blessed with an exceptional staff team and so name and hold up the work of Fr Marcus Walker, Louise Hettiche , Luca De Gasperis, Juliette Anderson, Anita Mancia and the ACR board chaired by Bishop Stephen Platten, with the Revd Barry Nichols as company secretary and The Revd Martin Macdonald as treasurer, together with great Governors, officers, friends and members from all over the world. In and through all of this Archbishop Justin and his team have been so supportive and invigorating; an extraordinary gift. I have been blessed by so many colleagues, Anglican and Roman Catholic.
I thank God for you all.

David Moxon, 21/06/2017

Ten days in Rome 


At the invitation of Archbishop David Moxon, I have spent ten days in Rome and participated in his everyday activities as an orientation programme. First I attended and participated in a course on the work of ARCIC III – the third round of conversations of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission – which produced a book, Toward a Church Fully Reconciled, which we were studying. I was very impressed by the content of that book and the participation of those who took part in that course. However, I realised that most of the time we get these books and do not read and digest the content of those reports for the benefit of our two Communions.

The moment which really captured my mind was the audience with the Pope on Wednesday morning, where the group that was on that course attended that weekly audience with the Pope, where people from all over the world come and have a public audience with the Holy Father. It was not planned, but we were called to be among the group of people whom he greeted. He told us that he knew that I had been appointed to this position and was looking forward to welcoming me, officially, in October.

We also met for working sessions the members of the Secretariate of State and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and visited different parts of Rome, especially those historical sites. The one that captured my attention was the house which is under excavation where St Paul may have been taken as a prisoner in Rome. If what the archaeologists are trying to prove becomes true, this will be another way of confirming that the stories in the Scriptures are true stories.
These few days that I spent in Rome confirmed the great importance of our presence in that city. A place of presence and hospitality not only for Anglicans, but for all those who live outside Rome, that they could come and learn about the life of the church – locally, but universally as well.
I take it to be significant that my nomination comes in the year 2017, when we commemorate five hundred years of Reformation. This commemoration should be a time of re-examining the decisions taken by church leaders and churches and what we should be focused on is what we share and not what divides us. I am very much looking forward to starting in October and ask for your prayers for the success of this ministry. 

You can hear Archbishop Bernard's first interview with Vatican Radio here.

Bernard Ntahoturi, 31/05/2017

One church, one faith, one Lord 

Throne of St Peter

This afternoon, history was made. Evensong, the iconic expression of Anglican worship, was celebrated in St Peter's Basilica in Rome by an Anglican Archbishop on the anniversary of the election of the Pope.

Archbishop David Moxon, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, led the service using Cranmer's ancient words. Archbishop Arthur Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, one of the most senior Englishmen in the Vatican, preached. The choir of Merton College sang.

DM at Throne

The music was carefully chosen to reflect this historic occasion. The service was framed by motets written by William Byrd (c. 1539/40-1623). Byrd was a Roman Catholic throughout his long life, but worked for the Church of England firstly as organist of Lincoln Cathedral and, in 1572 when he returned to London, at the Chapel Royal. The service opened with Prevent us, O Lord, words from the Book of Common Prayer but ended with Justorum animae,  which comes from the Roman Catholic ‘Propers for The Feast of Saints’, published in the Gradualia 1605.

Merton Choir

The service was held in honour of St Gregory the Great on the nearest day to his old feast day. St Gregory was the Pope who sent St Augustine to England to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons and who has become an unofficial patron of the most recent ecumenical exchanges between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. His crozier-head was sent to Canterbury as a gesture of support during the Primates' Meeting in January 2016 and Pope Francis gave Archbishop Justin Welby a wooden crozier modelled on it during their meeting in October. Archbishop Roche preached on the important ways in which Pope St Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, can guide relations between the two communion today.


The final hymn, during which the procession made its way to the tomb of St Gregory, was the great, rousing, "Thy hand, O God, has guided'. The final verse sums up so much of the feeling in St Peter's today as Anglicans and Catholics praised God together in a way few would have expected even a year ago:

Thy mercy will not fail us,
Nor leave thy work undone;
With thy right hand to help us,
The victory shall be won;
And then, by men and angels,
Thy name shall be adored,
And this shall be their anthem,
One Church, one Faith, one Lord.

One Church. One Faith. One Lord.

Marcus Walker, 13/03/2017

The Anglican Centre is currently closed for refurbishment, however the staff will still be available by phone and e-mail.

Tuesday Eucharists will be at Caravita at 12:30 each week, apart from August.