Ecumenical Links


Christian Unity

Southwark Cathedral Chapter is committed to working for unity amongst Christians and does so both locally and through our international links. This area of work is cared for by two linked bodies in the Cathedral:

The Unity Group: a group of members of the congregation who are interested in this area of ministry and meet on a regular basis to look after the international links and local initiatives.  The group is convened by the Dean, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn.  The secretary to the Group is Mr Guy Rowston from whom more details can be obtained:

The Unity Forum: a larger gathering of clergy and laity from Southwark Cathedral, St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark and St Olav's Norwegian Church, Rotherhithe. This Forum gathers convenes once each term to talk about issues of mutual concern and to arrange joint activities such as the Annual Prayer Walk for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January and the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in September.  The Forum meets in rotation in each of the three churches and is convened by the local clergy representative. The secretary to the Forum is Mr Guy Rowston from whom more details can be obtained:

The links with St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark and St Olav's Norwegian Church are local manifestations of our international ecumenical relationships.

In addition, the Cathedral is part of the North Southwark Ministers' Meeting which is made up of representative clergy and other ministers of:

Southwark Cathedral

St Hugh's, Bermondsey

St George the Martyr, Southwark

St Matthew's-at-the-Elephant, Southwark

Christ Church, Southwark (Blackfriars)

Roman Catholic
Our Lady of La Salette, Melior Street
The Church of the Precious Blood, O'Mera Street

United Reformed Church
Crossway (Elephant & Castle)

Salvation Army
Community Church, St George's Road

New Testament Church of God
St Jude's Church, St George's Road

International Ecumenical Links

Southwark Cathedral Chapter has two ecumenical partners overseas.

The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rouen, France

In the early 1990's an agreement was signed between the then Provost and Chapter of Southwark and the Cure of Notre Dame de Rouen in ceremonies in both Rouen and Southwark, which established our link.  This agreement committed us to prayer and friendship and to working together for the greater unity of Christ's Church.

Here is the text of the Common Declaration made between the two Cathedrals:

The Cathedral of St Olav, Bergen, Norway

In the year 2000 and following the signing of the Porvoo Agreement between the Church of England and the Scandinavian Lutheran Churches in 1995, Southwark Cathedral and the Cathedral of St Olav, Bergen, Norway and signed a twinning agreement.

This agreement was renewed in 2005 and again in 2010

There are regular visits of lay people and clergy between the two cathedrals.  The Cathedral choirs have been on a number of tours to Bergen, and members of the Cathedral congregation have joined with friends from Bergen on pilgrimages to Holy Island (Lindisfarne), to various English cathedral cities, and to places in and around Bergen.  A shared weekend in Bergen for some of our young people is planned for Autumn 2011.

The link has also developed a relationship with seminaries in the Norwegian Church and Southwark Cathedral regularly hosts groups of ordinands and clergy from Norway who want to learn more about the Church of England and Anglicanism.

St Olav, who is featured in the Great Screen of Southwark Cathedral, is the patron saint of our ecumenical links.

Olaf Haraldson is remembered as a Martyr and King of Norway (1015-30), b. 995; d. 29 July 1030. He was the son of King Harald Grenske of Norway and was baptised either in 998 in Norway, but more probably about 1010 in Rouen, France. In his early youth he came to England, where he took part in many battles particularly in the London area, defending us against the marauding Danes and especially in relation to London Bridge. It was here that he became interested in Christianity. He was elected King of Norway, and made it his aim to make the Christian religion the basis of his kingdom. He was the great Norwegian legislator for the Church, and like his ancestor (Olaf Trygvesson), made frequent severe attacks on the old faith and customs, demolishing the temples and building Christian churches in their place. He brought many bishops and priests from England. Some, such as Grimkel, Sigfrid, Rudolf, Bernhard, are known by name.

He was not universally popular and there was a rebellion against him which resulted in his exile. After two years he returned to Norway with an army and met his rebellious subjects at Stiklestad, where the celebrated battle took place 29 July, 1030. King Olaf fought with great courage, but was mortally wounded and fell on the battlefield, praying "God help me". Many miraculous occurrences are related in connection with his death. He was eventually buried at the high-altar in the church of St Clement in Nidaros (now Trondhjem).

So Olav links us in that he fought in London against the Danes, was baptised in Rouen Cathedral and was crowned King of Norway. He unites us today in our ecumenical endeavours.