Tomorrow, on Thursday 9 May, which is Ascension Day in the Church’s calendar, The Most Revd Michael B. Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, is preaching at the Evening Mass at St Thomas’ Church, New York at 5.30pm EST.  Archbishop Stephen Cottrell will preside at this service. All are welcome to attend or join in online here

Bishop Curry said: “I am excited about Archbishop Cottrell coming this week.  I consider him not only a colleague, but indeed, a friend.  His infectious faith is a witness to the way of love that Jesus taught us, and it is a delight to welcome him here.”

The Ascension Day service will conclude an official visit to New York which began with Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York preaching and blessing a ledger stone designed by York Minster and commemorating the twinning of York and New York cities. The historic Evensong service marking the centenary, held at St Thomas’ Church on Fifth Avenue included a message from King Charles III read by Hannah Young, British Consul General to New York. The service is available to watch here.

In summary of his official visit, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell said:
“It has been a privilege and an honour to join with others in marking one hundred years of friendship between our two great cities. The messages of unity and partnership we have shared must be cherished. It is the way we will build coalitions of good will and help bring peace and prosperity to our needy and often divided world.”

During his official visit, Archbishop Stephen met with the Bishop of New York, Matthew Heyd, Bishop Mary Glasspool and with members of the Diocesan Reparations Commission to discuss the Diocesan response to slavery and racism.  Archbishop Stephen met with Fr Tim Kesicki, President of the Jesuit Conference in Canada and the US, and heard testimony from Ms Monique Maddox, a descendent of Jesuit slaveholding and Head of the Descendants Truth & Reconciliation Foundation.

He also met with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York and the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. Dame Barbara Woodward, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General and Dr Martin Kimani, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN also met with Archbishop Stephen. The Anglican Communion maintains a year-round presence at the United Nations to ensure churches’ voices are heard on global issues like conflict, movement of refugees and climate change, and to create local partnerships with the UN in response to crises.

Dr Kimani said: "It was good to meet His Grace, Archbishop Stephen Cottrell, and to explore the vital collaboration between states and religious institutions and leaders to revive multilateralism. It's crucial that the emerging multipolar world honours non-intervention, sovereign equality, peaceful dispute resolution, and the power to hold the mighty accountable while protecting the vulnerable. Achieving this is critical to preventing a global order ruled by might over right."

At St Patrick’s Cathedral, Archbishop Stephen met with Fr. Ryan Muldoon, Director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and joined in supporting an ecumenical lunchtime feeding programme. 

The Revd Dr Scott Black Johnston, Senior Pastor at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership resides in partnership with Saint Thomas Church and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, said: “We are deeply grateful to Canon Turner and St. Thomas Church for their critical support in making this vital ministry happen on the streets of Manhattan. The Ecumenical Outreach Partnership is a lifesaving service to New York’s homeless. Here in midtown, the meal lines have never been longer. The need has never been greater. And so, it was a straight-up blessing to have Archbishop Stephen participate in the work we do to extend dignity and hospitality to those facing such uncertainty and hardship.”

Archbishop Stephen also joined the Symposium focussed on Church and Civil Society: Models of Engagement held at St Thomas’ Church for their afternoon group work and then provided a concluding reflection.  Attendees heard a number of speakers talk on engagement and outreach, and had the opportunity to both reflect on what they had heard and to learn practices honed by other Christian organisations and local churches already.

Bishop Mary Glasspool, Assistant Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, added: “It was wonderful to meet with Archbishop Stephen and introduce him to members of the Diocesan Reparations Commission.  We are looking to establish a whole new way of life that allows justice and well being for all within the diocese and beyond.”

The Revd Canon Steven Lee, Vicar, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Archbishop Stephen to our cathedral and show him some of the work being done to serve the vulnerable in our community through the food pantry, clothing closet and Sunday Soup Kitchen and more. It was great for him to meet with Sister Hannah, Chenin Neuf who works with members of the Community of the Crossing, a contemplative community connected to the cathedral.”

The Revd Canon Carl Turner, Rector of St Thomas, said: “Saint Thomas Church is honoured to have hosted the delegation from York and participating in this collaboration.  Although the two cities are vastly different in size, each have local government and church leaders engaged in the local community on exactly the same issues including caring for refugees, displaced persons, migrants, and tackling human trafficking. The Archbishop has met with civic and religious leaders and with representatives to the United Nations during his time in New York.  He spent time with some of our social care programs working with the homeless and with migrants, participating in feeding programs and not simply talking about international strategies to deal with such issues.”

Celebrating 100 Years of Friendship

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