Foreword to the Anglican Religious Life Year Book, 1999 (1st edition)

by Most Revd George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury

Some years ago, I referred to the Religious Communities within the Church of England as ‘one of our best kept secrets’. I became aware just how well kept this secret is when I paid an official visit to Georgia and sat next to the distinguished Patriarch of that significant Church. I happened to mention that two Anglican nuns were important members of my staff. The Patriarch was visibly stirred. Thereafter, his whole approach to the Church of England was transformed by his discovery of the presence of monastic life in our Church.

Celebrating this ‘secret’ of Anglican communities, so that their life and work becomes better known, is important for the whole Church. I welcome this new Year Book, therefore, as both a directory of information and also, through its news items and articles, as a window on the many and diverse ministries in which communities engage. Some are involved in social projects, others in a ministry of hospitality, and some live a hidden life of contemplation. All are centred in a life of prayer, which is a deep encouragement to the Church.

I commend this Year Book and hope it gains a wide readership. The treasure of the vocation to Religious Life will be no longer such a secret in our Church.