Dean of Westminster Abbey in U.S. for fundraising visits

The Very Rev. John Hall, dean of London’s Westminster Abbey, is visiting the U.S. on what he calls a “friend-raising” tour to garner donations for the upkeep of the historic church. Hall, who officiated at the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton two years ago, talked with the Huffington Post about the spiritual significance of the abbey, one of Britain’s premier tourist attractions. He also talked about the Episcopal Church and its role within the Anglican Communion:

For me, the experience of preaching on a couple of occasions at St. Thomas in New York and St. James in Chicago this week showed me a tradition of worship with which I am extremely familiar. You simply feel that we are one.

We live in a complex and difficult world and we engage with the world as we see and we want to share the gospel with the world in which we are. That may lead us to take different views about some marginal issues from Anglicans in other parts of the world. But on the core issues of belief in God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and God’s revelation of himself in Jesus Christ, we are the same.

I am glad that we wrestle publicly with issues, and I’m glad that with that we have this community that keeps us together. I long for the unity and reconciliation of all Christians so we can give a more powerful, united message to the world of God’s love in Christ. I certainly don’t want to see the Anglican Communion broken up. Nobody does.

See a video clip and read more here.

In other news of sacred spaces in England, Canterbury Cathedral will not be closing its doors, despite press reports to the contrary. From Religion News Service:

The BBC reported on Sunday (May 12) that Canterbury Cathedral would soon close to visitors after it missed out on a 10.6 million pound ($16.2 million) request to the Heritage Lottery Fund for structural repairs. That report was dismissed on Monday as “greatly exaggerated” by cathedral spokesman Christopher Robinson.

“The Germans didn’t force us to close Canterbury Cathedral during the Second World War,” he said in an interview. “So there’s no chance it will be closed to visitors because we need to carry out some urgent repairs.”

Read more here.

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