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ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

19 June 2003


A Letter of Greeting from the Archbishop of Canterbury
to the families gathered at Villa Mondo Migliore for the
Second World Gathering of Inter-Church Families

I have known about the Association of Inter-Church Families in the United Kingdom for some time, and the careful work it does to support and inform families who live out the joys of a family life rooted in love and mutual commitment alongside the pain of our ecumenical divisions. It is a particular pleasure therefore to send you my greetings as the Association joins with its sister organisations across the globe to meet in the Second World Gathering of Inter-Church Families in Rome this Summer.

In family life, you are already experiencing the profound privilege of nurturing the lives of children and young people in the hope that, with God’s grace, they will grow up to be whole young people, enriched and supported by Christian faith, and the inheritance which our churches offer to them. We might even speak of your children as being doubly blessed, as they grow up able to draw on the strengths and wisdom of not one, but two Christian traditions.

You will know more keenly than most, however, that this is a double-edged inheritance to which you succeed. You bring a diversity of worship and the richness of two spiritual traditions into the life of one family, and you also need to balance your loyalties to both churches, as you seek to bring up your children in a faith that will commend itself to them as a basis for their lives.

In sending you my greetings, I want you to know that I believe that all the churches have a particular duty of care to families who live out the ecumenical endeavour in the way which you do. I hope that the work of such bodies that engage in formal dialogue between two traditions, such as the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, will offer you succour and support of a practical and direct kind.

I send you my warmest good wishes for your meeting - may God encourage and inspire you as you meet together, and bless you in your ministry to the wider churches in showing us that we can live and work together in unity in the most intimate of settings.

Signed:

+ Rowan Cantuar

Lambeth Palace, London SE1 7JU