by NZ CATHOLIC staff
HAMILTON — The Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand, Archbishop David Moxon, is heading to Rome as the Anglican Communion’s chief representative to the Roman Catholic Church.
This means he will step down in April as the Archbishop of the New Zealand dioceses, and thus as one of the three leaders of the Anglican Church in this nation. He will also resign as Bishop of Waikato.
Archbishop Moxon’s new role in Rome will be twofold: as the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See, and also as the director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He expects to take up those responsibilities in May next year.
The representative role involves relating to the Vatican and the Pope on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion; while the Anglican Centre is an Anglican “embassy” in Rome which promotes Christian unity though hospitality, prayer and education — and which brokers new joint endeavours by the Catholic and Anglican Churches.
The Catholic Bishop of Hamilton, the Most Reverend Denis Browne, in whose cathedral, in 1993, Archbishop Moxon was ordained as the sixth bishop of Waikato, has also extended his warmest wishes: “The big promotion! I’m actually a little bit sad, because we’ve worked really closely together for nearly 20 years now and he’s become a great friend of mine.
“I think it’s sad for the Anglican Church here in New Zealand, too, because to my way of thinking they’re losing a wonderful, natural pastor.
“He’s got that broad thinking, that very sharp intellect that is great, not just for the Anglican community but for the whole of New Zealand, really.
“Ecumenically, we’re going to miss him here in Hamilton. He’s been so approachable, so easy to get on with.
“He’s got that sensitivity that will serve him well in this new position. The fact that he’s already been really involved internationally . . . he will be a great asset in Rome, and I hope he’ll feel at home in the special atmosphere that is the Vatican.”
Archbishop Moxon was asked to consider the role earlier this year. After months of prayer and consideration he applied, and he was offered the post by Dr Rowan Williams — who says he is “personally delighted” that Archbishop Moxon accepted.
“There can be few people in the Communion so well qualified for this work,” said Archbishop Williams.
“Archbishop Moxon has done distinguished service to the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, both locally and globally, and brings to this post both a wealth of experience and a range of profound friendships across the confessional frontiers.”
Archbishop Moxon said he felt compelled to heed the call that came his way.
“Our two churches are on the verge of new opportunities for joint mission,” he said, “especially in the aid and development area. I’m also convinced there are new opportunities to learn from each other, and to support each other in the sacred cause for which Jesus gave his life and blood.”
Archbishop Moxon said this church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia has shown him the true potential for reaching out across cultures and divides — and encouraged him to “go global” with what he’s learned.
“I will be taking with me everything I have been given by the church in these islands.”
Archbishop Moxon said he feels “a genuine call” to helping outwork the “new approach to Anglican-Roman Catholic Ecumenism” — which is based around working together in justice, development and peacemaking.
Since 2010, Archbishop Moxon has been co-chairman of ARCIC III, the third phase of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. In that capacity he has worked alongside Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, and small teams of Anglican and Catholic scholars to find common ground between the two denominations.
Archbishop Moxon’s ARCIC III appointment followed years of him being involved with ecumenical dialogue in New Zealand and internationally.
by NZ CATHOLIC staff