Anglicans in France join televised ecumenical service


To mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the French TV2 channel dedicated all of its Sunday morning programming on Sunday 19 January to a ‘Matinée Oecumenique’ exploring the importance and significance of the symbols of bread and wine in various Christian churches.  The broadcast culminated in an ecumenical service held in an evangelical church in Bordeaux city centre.

The Chaplain of Aquitaine, The Revd Tony Lomas, and Assistant Chaplain, The Revd Charlotte Sullivan, represented the Anglican community alongside other priests and pastors from the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Maronite and various Protestant churches.  The service was of particular interest for many in the Chaplaincy of Aquitaine as the building, now used by the “Moisson des Blés (Foursquare)” church, was originally built in 1841 by the British community in Bordeaux and was the Chaplaincy’s Parish Church of St Nicolas until about thirty years ago.

The service was the result of many months of planning as representatives of the different Christian denominations present in Bordeaux and the producers from TV2 worked together to produce liturgy and music that would celebrate our unity in diversity. 

For both Tony and Charlotte, it was wonderful to be a part of this celebration, and to witness how the whole service evolved from planning to celebration. The spirit of unity was very obvious in the final service, where the ministers worked together to produce rich liturgy, prayer and uplifting music encompassing elements from all our different traditions.

After the service, Charlotte wrote:

“I found the service incredibly moving, and encouraging, and it gave me great hope for the future.  The producer told us that although they do a service like this every year in different areas of France, they had not worked with the Anglicans for 15 years!  For that reason, it makes it even more special that we were invited to take part, and I felt very proud to be there, representing women’s priestly ministry in the Anglican church and also women’s ministry in Bordeaux.”

For Tony, having ‘the vine’ as the theme of the service, reflecting Bordeaux heritage of wine production, was deeply significant:

“Whilst the service was clearly focused on unity, we all felt that we could not ignore the differences that still separate us, in particular our inability to share bread and wine at Communion.  Chalice and paten, bread and wine were present at our celebration, but the bread remained unbroken and the wine sealed in its bottle as a poignant reminder that there is still much work to be done between us.  On the other hand, the Bible - the Word of God - was the central focus and unifying image throughout both our preparation and the service itself.”


The Archdeacon of France, the Ven Meurig Williams added:

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for the energy and creativity of the Anglican community in Bordeaux to reach a wider audience in France, demonstrating that we are very much part of the life of the city, offering a place of welcome and worship, and working in close co-operation with other Christian communities.”

The service recording may be accessed at:…/re…/1146111-matinee-oecumenique.html

The service starts at about 1:32:00

Here are some more pictures of the service:

Priests and Pastors from the Maronite, Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic and Anglican churches in Bordeaux

Lindsay Megraud from the Anglican church in Bordeaux places a candle at the start of the service.