The Episcopal Church shares many ties with churches throughout the world, bound together in what is known as the Anglican Communion. All of our common roots come from the Church of England, who is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
When I was in seminary, I had the wonderful opportunity to make a semesters-long exchange to Westcott House, a seminary in the Church of England. While there, I became fast friends with the now Rev'd. Andrew Moughtin-Mumby. Fr. Andrew is the Rector of a wonderful parish in London, St. Peter's Walworth, in the Diocese of Southwark.
Fr. Andrew and I share the same trajectory in our ministries in many ways, and over the last few years, we have wondered what it would be like to unite our parishes in prayer, exchange, participation, and experience. Many parishes throughout the Anglican Communion have sister parishes, or "twinned parishes." Last Sunday, I read aloud a letter at both services from Fr. Andrew in which he greeted our congregation and announced our "twinning". We now have a sister parish in London, St. Peters! Please read Fr. Andrew's letter to Ascension here.
What does this mean for us? First and foremost, it is a concrete reminder that we are not a parish in isolation. We belong to the Diocese of Colorado, which belongs to the Episcopal Church, which belongs to the Anglican Communion, which belongs to the Church Universal throughout the world. Having a sister parish is much like Denver having a sister city. We exchange ideas. We visit one another. We share in resources and communication. In our context, this looks like sharing our preaching and teaching. But it also means that if you find yourself in London, you have your very own parish to welcome you in St. Peter's Walworth.
Fr. Andrew Moughtin-Mumby leads a procession in Walworth
This may seem like a small gesture, but the reality and the reminder is much bigger. As the Church, we are so much bigger than our congregation and ourselves. We share in the love of Jesus Christ and in our baptisms with Christians throughout the world. Both Church of the Ascension and St. Peter's are inner city churches. Both are historic in their neighborhoods. Both have vibrant ministries of worship, fellowship, and outreach. But our differences are wonderful and enriching to us all.
Today, we welcome St. Peter's, Walworth (London) as our sister parish. I encourage you to read the letter from Fr. Andrew and to take a look at their website. In the coming months, we will learn how we can support one another and share in each others work and ministry. I can envision a pulpit exchange, a parish pilgrimage to London, as well as a visit from the good people of St. Peter's to Ascension. The opportunities are many.
Tomorrow, our deacon-in-training, Tim Dunbar will be ordained to the Diaconate at St. John's Cathedral. And one week from tomorrow, Michael Robinson, from St. Peter's Walworth, will be ordained to the Diaconate as well. As we begin this twinning journey together, we give thanks and praise, and offer our prayers as we both lift up these new deacons in our midst.
Yours ever in Christ,