Archbishop’s annual ecumenical gathering – ‘one of the highlights of the year’
A shared commitment to Christian unity was again highlighted during Archbishop Christopher Prowse’s hosting of his annual ecumenical luncheon.
Thirteen local Christian leaders participated in the gathering yesterday including for the first time His Grace Bishop Bartholomew, Archiepiscopal Greek Orthodox Vicar of Canberra.
It was also the first for Archpriest Alexander Morozow of the St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
“I’m delighted to welcome so many leaders of the Christian churches,” the Archbishop said in his greeting. “So important for all of us to see some gestures of Christian unity here in Canberra.”
In welcoming Fr Morozow, Archbishop Prowse noted he was particularly thinking of Canberra’s Russian Orthodox community at these “fragile times”, an item that was also discussed during the lunch.
Since the invasion of Ukraine was launched in February, Archbishop Prowse has regularly reached out to both Fr Morozow and Fr Wally Kalinecki of the Ukrainian Catholic community (Fr Kalinecki was unable to attend this year’s lunch).
Other Items to be raised around the table included proposed changes to the Australian Capital Territory’s discrimination legislation, proposals for the legalising of hard drugs, and the euthanasia issue.
The Archbishop also wished to hear the leaders’ thoughts on the release of Census 2021 figures asserting religious affiliation is on decline in Australia.
He would be drawing from the data of the NCLS (National Church Life Surveys) research that suggests the story with observance is more nuanced.
According to an NCLS survey conducted soon after the national census, more than half of Australians (55%) say they believe in God, six in ten pray or meditate and two in ten (21%) attend religious services at least monthly.
NCLS Research concluded that people who had no religious affiliation still had spiritual or religious lives.
The Archbishop’s ecumenical lunch has been a regular event over recent years and for at least some, it’s much anticipated.
“This is one of my highlights every year and I look forward to it,” said the Rev David Campbell, Senior Minister of Canberra’s Presbyterian Church of St Andrew’s.
“I am delighted to be back again.”