Tara Curlewis was introduced as the ecumenical liaison in Rome for the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and installed as the new pastor in the St. Andrews Church on Sunday, 5 November.
“Tara is a valued minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, as is her ecumenical commitment. While we will miss the ministry she offered in the Uniting Church we rejoice that she is able to offer her gifts to the wider church through the roles she has in Rome,” said Sharon Hollis, president, and Colleen Geyer, general secretary, of the Uniting Church in Australia in a letter to the WCRC.
“We continue to value our membership of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and our partnership with the Church of Scotland and hope Tara’s appointment strengthens these connections,” they said.
Curlewis will take up her dual roles at the beginning of December. Her ecumenical liaison role is also supported by the Waldensian Evangelical Church.
“My ministry has always been to consider how to work with living stones so that they can be built into a spiritual house,” she said in welcoming remarks, citing 1 Peter 2.
Noting that initially she considered living stones to be parishioners, Curlewis said, “Living stones are equally churches with different experiences and stresses and strains they have had since the time of Christ.
“To be called to these positions in Rome—to the congregation with people and as the ecumenical liaison working with churches and communions—is an amazing place for my ministry to wind up.
“I look forward to working with Reformed churches around the world and welcoming them to Rome, so that we can walk and speak and act together to become the church God desires,” she said.
“Tara’s appointment brings hope and new envisioning to our ecumenical role,” said Najla Kassab, WCRC president. “God provided the vision, the space, and the right person to live up to our ecumenical call, role, and commitment that inspire the church worldwide.”
Tara Curlewis (right) receives a copy of the WCRC’s associating document to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification from Alessandra Trotta, moderator of the Waldensian Evangelical Church. Also pictured: Claudio Pasquet, WCRC Executive Committee member, and Sally Foster-Fulton.
In her sermon at the St. Andrews Church, Sally Foster-Fulton, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said, “I am excited about the adventure you are on and that Tara will join you—what a journey you will take together! So many challenges and so much to do, but look around you—the gifts are here, minds imagining, hearts pumping, hands holding. God has given you each other!”
The installation service at St. Andrews Church was conducted by the International Presbytery of the Church of Scotland the morning of Sunday, 5 November, while the service introducing Curlewis as ecumenical liaison was held that evening at the Waldensian Church at Piazza Cavour.
Curlewis’ work as WCRC ecumenical liaison in Rome will be guided by an advisory board composed of members from the WCRC, Church of Scotland, and Waldensian Evangelical Church (Chiesa Evangelica Valdese). This work will relate not only to the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity but also engage with other global Christian communions with a presence in Rome.
Employed by the Church of Scotland as a mission partner on a fixed-term four-year contract, Curlewis will also cooperate with the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, Conference of European Churches, and World Council of Churches.
(The Church of Scotland contributed to this article.)