Belgian ARC Activities: 1967-2022

A report on activities of the Belgian ARC since 1967. The text consists of an earlier report submitted as part of the IARCCUM Survey in 2012. Updates to the report consist of further information from 2013 to 2022. The report was received by email from Rev. Canon John Wilkinson, Associate Chaplain & Canon Pastor at Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral in Brussels and the Anglican co-chair of the dialogue.

Date: 9 Nov. 2022
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Belgian ARC Activities: 1967-2022 (9 Nov. 2022).

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BELGIAN ARC – Activities : 1967-2022


– Introduction to the National Commission for Ecumenism in Belgium
– List of ecumenical activities for each diocese for the Week of Prayer for Unity.
– Meetings are planned to be held at St Gertrude Abbey in Leuven. Initially they were to be attended by RC (Roman Catholic) members only. Then the Anglican members of the Working Group joined the RC members.
– There are already twinnings between Anglican and RC religious communities.
– Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Malines Conversations; meeting between Cardinal J. Suenens and Archbishop M. Ramsey.
– The decision was made to create specialised commissions, including the sub-commission for relations with the Anglicans.


– First meetings on 11th May1968/ 15th June 1968 at St Gertrude Abbey Leuven (Chairman : Canon Dessain)
– Prayer for the Lambeth Conference; several conferences were organised by the Anglican parish of Holy Trinity.
– Interest in the unity procedure between Anglicans and Methodists.
– The decision was made to have common meetings with the Anglican partners. Their frequency was fixed at once per quarter.
– A project to have a common Liturgy of the Word to be used for mixed marriages.
– An appeal to newspapers to publish an article on the work carried out by the Working Group.
– Discussion about communion in mixed marriages.
– Study of the report of the Lambeth Conference.


– Recommendations to the bishops about the celebration of mixed marriages
– Discussion about Baptism and Inter-Communion.
– Trip to York to reinforce the link between York and the Diocese of Malines-Brussels
– Questions relating to parish attendance by mixed couples .
– Drafting a text for the mutual recognition of Baptism.
– RC members met together just before joining the Anglican partners.


– Writing a text on inter-communion for Anglican and RC families.
– Proposal to offer the episcopal ring to the newly appointed Anglican bishop for Europe
– Study of the pastoral notes of the Belgian, Dutch, British episcopal conferences about the motu-proprio of mixed marriages.


– Questions about how Christians can be made aware of the necessity to seek unity.
– Conducting a survey about the knowledge of Anglicanism and the RC Church.
– Proposal to create a parish « without borders », a group of both Anglican and RC Christians, who would ‘practice’ unity in the concrete meaning of the word : same liturgies, bilateral eucharistic hospitality.
– Study : the document about the Windsor Agreement (concerning the Eucharist)
– Decision to merge the Sub-Commission and Belgian ARC.
– Focus on the group’s mission
– Meeting of the Working Group for Western Europe and its recommendations. The aim was to formulate a common declaration of the Christian message, to reach a unity which respects the diversity, to inform the people of God about the progress towards unity and to ensure the circulation of information. There were three meetings for Western Europe.


– Mutual recognition of baptism, Anglicans agreed in June 1972.
– Study : the importance of the Windsor Agreement
– Suggesting a twinning between York and Malines-Brussels.
– How to mobilise the “grassroots”
– Inviting the Anglicans to take part in the RC Eucharist.
– Studying the document “What do Anglicans bring to the European Church context?”
– Study: “the meaning of a joint eucharistic celebration.”
– Conference : Muddiman – the challenge of the RC-Anglican dialogue (Tillard)
– Reaction to the RC directive on eucharistic hospitality.


– Urgent appeal from the sub-commission about the eucharistic hospitality for Anglicans in Belgium.
– Mission of ARCIC
– Conference : Dr Thompson – Cooperation between Anglicans and RC’s
– Study : Charismatic renewal and the ecumenical movement
– European Meeting of the Working Group in Salamanca.
– Mixed reception of the Roman document Mysterium Ecclesiae
– Receipt of the Canterbury document about Ministry and Ordination


– Reaction to the Declaration on Ministry
– Study of and reaction to the ARCIC documents
– Resuming the subject of the ordination of women.


– Appointment of Fr. P. Parré as president of the sub-commission, replacing Canon Dessain. Study : Authority in the Church.
– Preparation of the Malines Conversations : Cardinal Mercier, Abbé Portal, Lord Halifax and study of the texts.
– Reaction to the ordination of women (an opinion requested by Christopher Hill)
– Sharing information on local problems and finding solutions.


– Study : ARCIC texts about authority, the eucharist, and communicating the reports about these documents.
– Study : ecumenical cooperation at the regional, local and national level (document from the Secretariat for Unity)
– Meeting of the Working Group for Western Europe (Study of the ARCIC documents).


– Study: the Venice Declaration (1975)
– Christopher Hill’s comments on Authority


– Studying the reaction of the general synod of the Anglican Church to the Common Declaration on the Authority in the Church
– Press Conference on the present day position of the RC Church (Authority)
– May 20 : celebration in Malines of 10th Anniversary ARCIC


– Study: resolutions for Lambeth 1978
– Visit to Canterbury
– Mixed group in Antwerp: drafting a document on mixed marriages
– Mixed group in Brussels : study of the Elucidations
– Evaluation of textbooks (what they say about the different Christian denominations)


– Writing a brochure for inter-denominational marriages
– Christopher Hill on Elucidations
– Establishing the Episcopalian Church in Waterloo


– Conference: Suzanne Martineau and her ecumenical experience
– Study : English mystics of 14th century (Paul Symonds)
– Founding the new Anglican Diocese of Europe (and Gibraltar)
– The English parish of Holy Trintiy becomes Pro-Cathedral
– Writing the brochure about inter-denominational marriages


– Study : aspects of authority in the RC Church
– Anglican Franciscan spirituality
– Visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury (R. Runcie) to Cardinal Danneels
– Disappointment after receiving the ARCIC documents by the CDF
– Study : Lent conferences at Westminster Abbey
– News about twinnings (e.g. Bury St Edmunds/Ipswich and Hasselt)
– Research to broaden the relationships between York and Malines- Brussels
– Retreat at Drongen (Canon Coussmaker)
– Drafting two notes :Anglican / RC marriages for pastoral leaders and for engaged couples


– Publication of the final ARCIC report
– Study of the reactions to the Final Report (including that of the CDF)
– Testimony of Mary Moore about the ordination of women
– Retreat : Brother Angelo (Anglican Franciscan)
– Retreat : Canon Coussmaker on the Church
– Twinning :Parish of Sacré Coeur in Etterbeek with the Good Shepherd in Cambridge 1984

– Conference : J. Lewis and the charismatic movement and ecumenism
– Canon Greenacre : Anglican identity and ecumenical dialogue
– Leaflet on mixed mariages 1985

– Retreat : Ray Collins
– Meeting with a European Union official, Mr Kinch
– Conversation with P. de Fleurquin about the Papacy and its role in the RC Church
– Study : BEM


– Study : New Evangelisation
– Meeting with Canon Hanson and Prof. Boudens
– Meeting of the Western Europe Working Group
– Study : Reception and Tradition
– Several common meetings with the Protestants


– Study: Church and Salvation
– Study: E. de Waal, Seeking God


– Meeting devoted to the different patterns in the Church
– Retreat : F. G. Hahneman and Fr. Parré
– Meetings with the Protestants


– Study : M.Ramsey – Be still and know
– Study: Episcopacy
– Response of the Belgian bishops to the Eucharist document


– Retreat : Bishop Krumm (Episcopalians about the Episcopacy)
– Study : Authority in the Church and Origin of the Episcopacy + RC Authority
– Meeting of the twinned parishes
– Welcoming the new Episcopalian priest : Fr. Atcheson


– Retreat: R. Christian – Franciscan Spirituality
– Study : The conversion of the churches (Group of the Dombes)
– Meeting in Antwerp : evaluation of the ecumenical work
– Meeting of the 3 ARCs (French, British and Belgian) in Condette
– Preparation of the study days with Canon J. Halliburton


– Study weekend: Anglicanism today
– Retreat in Antwerp: Canon Mitchell, Lincoln
– Study of the interreligious dialogue (Panikar)
– Meeting with Christopher Hill (Anglican/RC relations today and tomorrow)


– Weekend with Canon John Halliburton- the episcopacy
– Study : Ian Ker – Newman and the Fullness of Christianity
– Preparing the three ARC’s meeting (reaction to the Final Report)


– Retreat : David Mole (new Anglican Chairman) – Spiritual Ecumenism (Acceptance, Fellowship, Mission, Maturity)
– Preparing the three ARC’s meeting in London (Reaction to Life in Christ ARCIC II)
– Study : Life in Christ


– Weekend: J. Famerée: local and universal Church
– Preparing the anniversary of the Malines Conversations
– Short meeting of the three ARC’s (the different situations)
– Study : M. Ramsey – The Gospel and the Catholic Church
– Meeting with Bishop Hind in Antwerp


– Conference by Dr William Croft about Porvoo
– Retreat : Fr. O’Keeffe – The Voice of Christ in the Psalms
– Meeting in Antwerp : ecumenical activities in Belgium and Great Britain and echoes from the Graz Conference
– Study : Exercising authority in the RC Church
– Reflections on the articles about the Malines Conversations
– New RC Co-Chair : Mrs Christiane Davisters


– Weekend : Bishop Baker – The Faith of a Christian (Affligem)
– Meeting in Antwerp : preparing a Belgian ARC reaction to Ut Unum Sint


– New Anglican partner : Clair Ullmann
– Report about the Lambeth Conference (F. Thaddee Barnas, Chèvetogne)
– Meeting in Antwerp : D. Van Leeuwen + twinnings in Europe (Rev. R. Blount)
– Common Belgian ARC reaction to Ut Unum Sint
– Study : The Gift of Authority


– Study : The Gift of Authority
– Meeting of the three ARC’s in Bruges : R. Blount (twinnings), Canon A. Denaux and N. Sagovsky (ARCIC)
– Weekend at Affligem : Gareth Moore – 3 chapters from Genesis
– Another weekend : Jonathan Goodall – Desert (Patristic)
– Reactions to Dominus Jesus


– New Anglican partner : Canon Dirk Van Leeuwen
– Study : The Gift of Authority
– Meeting in Antwerp : Alpha courses


– Study : The Gift of Authority


– Study : The Gift of Authority
– Discussion about the Encyclical on the Eucharist


– Study : Cardinal Kasper : A Vision of Christian Unity for the next generation
– Meeting with Bishop Whalon (Episcopalian)


– Meeting of the three ARCs in Lille: Bishop G. Rowell – the Net was not Broken


– New Anglican Chairman : Rev. Paul Yiend
– Study : Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ (ARCIC)


– Study: Mary, Grace and Hope in Christi (ARCIC)
– Death of Fr. P. Parré (former Belgian RC Co-Chair)


– Study : Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ (ARCIC)
– Reaction to the RC CDF about some aspects of the Doctrine of the Church
– Nature and mission of the Church
– Sharing with P. Yiend : new missiology in England
– Death of Paul Francis (long-time host of the Belgian ARC in Brussels)


– End of study document on Mary (ARCIC)
– Study : Growing Together in Unity and Mission


– New member of Belgian ARC : R. Clifford Owen (CofE)
– Study : Growing Together in Unity and Mission
– Reaction to the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus


– Reading : Growing Together in Unity and Mission
– Meeting with F. Gallagley (RC Parish in Kraainem)
– Document: the Anglican Covenant
– Discussion about collegiality in the RC Church + tension between the universal and the local church


– Comments : Growing Together in Unity and Mission
– Study : The Anglican Covenant
– Rev. Clifford Owen left Belgium
– Next topic for our ecumenical meetings : Receptive Ecumenism Twinnings of French-speaking RC parishes and Anglican parishes in Great Britain. One meeting every year till 2010. In 2012 the twinning between the Parish of Chant d’Oiseau in Brussels and Little St Mary’s in Cambridge was still active. The twinning experience between parishes gave the opportunity of meeting in a deep spiritual and friendly atmosphere. Sometimes the twinning experience also gave the opportunity of meeting other parishes in Britain. The twinning experience was used as a bridge to meet other ecclesial communities. Twinnings of Dutch-speaking parishes with parishes in Great Britain (still active) Bruges and Lincoln and the RC Parishes of Nottingham – reports by Rev. H. Laridon, Diocese of Bruges For more than 30 years the Belgian ARC group published a news bulletin about events (local, regional and world events dealing with ecumenical news and with twinning experiences as well as with conferences and inter ecclesial meetings in Belgium)


– The survey of the Belgian ARC activities (1967-2012) was sent to IARCCUM
– Two twinnings still active : Chant d’Oiseau in Woluwe St Pierre and Little St Mary’s in Cambridge, and Bruges-Lincoln
– Discussion and elucidations about Receptive Ecumenism
– Creation of a group (English and Belgian members) to commemorate the centenary of the death of Edith Cavell (BECCG) in 2015


– Welcoming new members to the Belgian ARC group : Mrs Birte Day, Mr Graham Keen and Canon Adelbert Denaux (former member of ARCIC)
– The work of BECCG
– End of the twinning between Chant d’Oiseau and Little St Mary’s
– Ecumenical presence at Lambeth Palace (Chemin Neuf community)
– Canon Adelbert Denaux about the work of ARCIC since the end of Vatican II. Receiving the documents is vital to progress on the ecumenical road. Work of ARCIC III.
– Discussion about a potential survey by the Belgian ARC on Receptive Ecumenism. This survey did not give valid results because there were not many responses.


– We tried to find a new way to question people about Receptive Ecumenism
– Twinning: Lincoln – Bruges: several meetings and activities, incl. a Remembrance Service (cf activities of the diocese of Bruges)
– Tribute at Chant d’Oiseau to all the people who devoted time and ecumenical passion to the twinning.
– BECCG : numerous activities planned
– Couse about Ecumenism in Ghent (Rev. S. Murray)


– BECCG : the different events around October 2015
– Birte Day’s contribution to the Ecumenical Assembly in Belgium
– The contribution of Canon A. Denaux in publishing the document ARCIC II
– Trying to plan a new three ARC’s meeting


– Death of Mrs Elizabeth Loze Fraser who, with her husband, was a pioneer of ecumenical life in Belgium
– Contribution of N. Sagovsky (ARCIC member) at the National Assembly for Ecumenism in Belgium
– Fr. Henk Laridon (Bruges) sharing his experiences of twinning
– The place and work of the International Ecumenical Fellowship
– Prayer walks (Thy Kingdom Come)
– Presentation of the final report of ARCIC II


– In 2017 Mrs Christiane Davisters (RC Co-Chair) and Rev. Paul Yiend (COE) asked for their mission to be handed over to other people. The mission of the Belgian ARC is now in the hands of co-chairs Fr.Kurt Priem (Diocese of Bruges) and Rev. John Wilkinson (Diocese of Europe and Gibraltar)
– Comments by Canon Adelbert Denaux about ARCIC II
– International activities were dealt with, incl. Thy Kingdom Come and the future of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
– Discussion about the future of our News Bulletin


– The Belgian ARC closely followed local initiatives for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and Thy Kingdom Come.
– Fr.Kurt Priem accompanied the Bishop of Bruges, Lode Aerts, in November 2018 to Lincoln (UK), where he held a sermon in the Cathedral; the Diocese of Bruges has a ecumenical link with the Dicoeses of Lincoln (CofE) and Nottingham (RC) since 1979.


– Fr.Kurt Priem had to cancel a sermon in Lincoln Cathedral (UK) during the Week of Christian Unity due to surgery.
– A meeting was held with Danny Herremans at the Interdiocesan Center in Brussels to set up a blog to replace the News Bulletin, but preparations were halted because of Covid.
– Regular meetings of the Belgian ARC were suspended because of Covid.


– Because of Covid and the long illness of one member, Alain Coppieters, no regular meetings of the Belgian ARC were held. Instead there were two online-meetings.
– Preparations for the blog of the Belgian ARC and other planned initiatives (e.g. the Centenary of the Malines Conversations) were also suspended because of Covid.


– Regular meetings of the Belgian ARC were resumed in October 2021 with the participation of an intern of Holy Trinity, Teus Vermeer.
– Both Co-Chairs of the Belgian ARC took part in a meeting of EWARC in York (November 2021) with representatives of the English and Welsh ARC and visited York Minster.
– A limited part of the programmy for the Centenary of the Malines Conversations was held online in December 2021 because of Covid.
– Alain Coppieters died in January 2022.
– A member of the Belgian ARC, Birte Day, attended an ecumenical meeting about monastic life in Bury St.Edmunds (UK) in May 2022; this topic was also discussed in several meetings of the Belgian ARC.