IN AN unprecedented move, the leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches will make a joint pastoral visit to Southampton this weekend.
Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth will join the Anglican bishop of Winchester, Colin James, in visiting the inner city areas, where both Churches have been actively promoting a number of parish activities.
"We're trying to work together on this front," Bishop Hollis told the Catholic Herald. Both Churches have been addressing the issue of poverty, the bishop explained, by lending their support to groups such as the Stella Mans Club for seamen, Sunday Meals on Wheels, and a drop-in centre.
The bishops' walk through the port city will include a visit to the docks, a reception at the Civic Centre presided over by the Mayor and a visit with local MP John Denham. The two-day visit will culminate in a "Prayer for the City" at St Michael's Anglican Church.
The Catholic prelate explained that the aim of the ecumenical pastoral visit is to show members of both religious communities in Southampton that the Churches stand united in the face of issues such as poverty.
"There are some areas where of course we do not do things together, but it would be silly to get bogged down on what you can't do," he emphasised.
The bishop went on to stress the need for "more and more dialogue" between the two Churches, and urged all parishes. nation-wide, to "join us in what is a pattern for a stronger ecumenical spirit ."