By Egan Millard
Episcopal News Service
Episcopal leaders joined those from other Christian denominations at a service led by Pope Francis in Rome on Jan. 25 as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Bishop Mark Edington and others from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, as well as staff from the presiding bishop’s office, represented the Episcopal Church at the vespers service.
The papal service, held at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, marked the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is a chance for Christians from different traditions to unite in common worship, said the Rev. Austin Rios. Rios is rector of St. Paul’s Within the Walls, a convocation church named for its status as the first Protestant church built within the walls of Rome.
“All of the different churches are connecting in this place, kind of like the roads that lead to Rome,” Rios told Episcopal News Service.
The Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon to the presiding bishop for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care, posted on Facebook that she was “still gobsmacked (or Godsmacked?) by today. To join Papal Vespers – as in, led by Pope Francis – at St. Paul’s Basilica in Rome on the Feast of St. Paul’s Conversion. To stand with leaders from the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe at this special service, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It’s simply more than I can take in, Lord.”
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