Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols met in front of a video camera on Friday 27th May for a conversation, taking live questions from viewers in a Facebook chat.
Within 2 weeks the conversation has been viewed a 251,000 times at:
Church unity was one of the key topics considered. One questioner asked, 'How can we work together as members of the Body of Christ, putting aside differences, to be a credible witness, to an increasingly secular society?'
Cardinal Vincent said, ' We don't need heavy, over-stressed Christian witness, we want something that first of all says, life is a gift of God and its great, and just that if you want to enjoy life to the full, even in the most difficult of circumstances, here's the way to go.'
Archbishop Welby added that another way was for churches to come together to celebrate what God has given, and in the celebration, to invite friends along to see what that's about.
Another questioner asked, 'What are your thoughts about the charismatic renewal that the Holy Spirit seems to be bringing to the church?' Archbishop Welby said it has been one of the greatest blessing in his own spiritual life and said, 'one of the things I've learnt more over the years, is the charismatic renewal is at its most authentic when you see the spirit of God draw people in love for one another, and healing divisions among Christians.' Cardinal Nichols added that from a Catholic perspective, it would be more seen as an organic part of the life of the church.
Both leaders were speaking about the Pentecost prayer initiative of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York called 'Thy Kingdom Come' for evangelism in the nation. This had become an ecumenical initiative in just a few months as several denominations encouraged their members to take part. In several cities there were 'Beacon Events' were held. In Coventry 1000 gathered after a week of Pilgrimage and Prayer led by 4 bishops and a Gospel event for young adults in the city centre on the Friday night.
At this time the Archbishop of York completed 6 months pilgrimage of 2000 miles meeting and praying with 20,000 people from all church traditions and none.
Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby from the Facebook page.
Coventry Cathedral Service 'Thy Kingdom Come'.