In a sign of ecumenical collaboration, the Prior of Aylesford Carmelite Priory, Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm., has accepted an invitation to serve on the council of a Church of England cathedral.
Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm.
Inviting Fr. Francis to become his appointee on Rochester Cathedral Council, the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Right Reverend James Langstaff, said: 'This will not only bring to the cathedral a welcome link with the Roman Catholic community in Kent, but also the particular relationship with the priory at Aylesford.'
Rochester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship since the year 604.
The appointment builds on the strong ecumenical work and association with Rochester Diocese undertaken by a previous Prior of Aylesford, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., who has served as an Ecumenical Canon of Rochester Cathedral and member of the Cathedral Council.
Aylesford Priory - founded by the Carmelites in 1242 and re-established by the Order in 1949 - attracts some quarter of a million pilgrims every year, not only Catholics but Christians of other denominations, as well as people of all faiths and none. It often hosts ecumenical and interfaith events.
Like Rochester Cathedral, Aylesford Priory ("The Friars") is a historic pilgrimage site on the River Medway.
Welcoming Fr. Francis's appointment, the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., said: 'Although we are only a small province numerically, we are highly regarded in the wider Christian community. Our Christian Chaplaincy and Ebor Lectures collaboration in York, Fr. Patrick Fitzgerald-Lombard's role as ecumenical officer in Wales, the ecumenical work in Teynham (Kent), the close ecumenical connections evident in several groups in Aylesford, and many other activities are all signs of our great commitment to Christian Unity. Francis' appointment fits in well with an important part of this ministry, and I congratulate him.'