Revd Tim Watson, an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Chichester, has been appointed to serve a new ecumenical partnership in mission between the Chemin Neuf Community, the Anglican Diocese of Chichester, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
It will make its home at St Patrick's Church, Hove.
Tim and four other Chemin Neuf members will be commissioned at a joint service on Sunday 8 November at 6.30pm at St Patrick’s Hove led by Bishop Martin and Fr Kevin Dring (Dean of Brighton & Hove for the Catholic Diocese, representing Bishop Richard Moth), and participation of representatives of other neighbouring churches including Pastor David Treneer from Holland Road Baptist Church.
Tim, who also works as a development officer for the diocese, said his appointment comes at an opportune time when people are searching for something: ‘Lots of people are looking for the meaning of life in Brighton & Hove. Lots of people want to learn to be still, to contemplate, to have time for prayer.’
He added: ‘Chemin Neuf’s mission in Brighton and Hove is to be a praying community, offering a place of Christian prayer, where all are welcome – an oasis in the city open to Christians of all traditions … and anyone else who wants to come and pray with us. Initially we’ll be running a weekly prayer group on Wednesday evenings and a weekly time of quiet prayer “Desert Time” on Tuesday mornings.’
Chemin Neuf has a vocation to work for the unity of Christians and the renewal of the church. It is a new kind of religious community.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently invited four members of Chemin Neuf to live as a praying community at Lambeth Palace. Together they share in the daily round of prayer that underpins the Archbishop's ministry, and further the ecumenical and international dimensions of his work.
Links with Chemin Neuf’s existing retreat centre at Storrington where there is a wider programme of spiritual retreats, for young adults, married couples, will be developed.
Chemin Neuf has been active in the UK since 1993 but developed from a prayer group in France in 1973 and has 2000 members around the world.