Old Catholic Bishop celebrates first communion in Church of England

Feb 03, 2003 02:24 PM EST

The Old Catholic Bishop of Switzerland, the Rt Revd Fritz-Reni Muller, last weekend celebrated an Anglican Communion service, in English, at a Church of England altar. He also addressed the Anglican Swiss Archdeaconry Synod. It was the first time this had happened in Switzerland, although con-celebrations have been held in other countries.

In a brief address to the Synod, Bishop Fritz-Reni recalled that Anglicans and Old Catholics "have been close friends for over 70 years. But I think we can do more in the future," he added.

"Let us get a closer church life. Your church in Switzerland and ours are small. We need each other. To be small, and not to have many members, can be hard. But if we handle it carefully, small can be beautiful."

The synod and service were held at Holy Trinity Church in Geneva at the end of the week of prayer for Christian unity. The Swiss Archdeaconry of the Church of England s Diocese in Europe incorporates about 25 chaplaincies or congregations (churches without their own chaplain). The Old Catholic Church in Switzerland is of similar size.

Bishop Fritz-Reni is new to his post, and Bishop Geoffrey Rowell, Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, shared in his consecration last year. Also present representing the Old Catholics was Fr Klaus Heinrich Neuhoff. The visit reciprocated that of three Anglican chaplains in Switzerland who had previously attended the Old Catholic clergy chapter.

By Albert H. Lee
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