How the Fellowship began

“In order to unite, we must love one another; In order to love one another, we must know one another; In order to know one another, we must go to meet one another.”Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels from, 1906-1926

The group was founded by Rev. Christopher Ellis BD MA during his time as Ecumenical Advisor to the Archbishop of York and Ecumenical Officer for the Churches in North Yorkshire. The Fellowship started in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 1993. It arose out of a desire to nurture the ecumenical fellowship and vision which were experienced by participants during the Ecumenical Theology and spirituality courses held in North Yorkshire.


Our reasons for choosing Aelred of Rievaulx

  • Aelred was a local saint – he was Abbot of Rievaulx in North Yorkshire from 1147 to 1167
  • He cared deeply for the communion within his community as we do for that within our families and between our churches as parts of the broken and fragmented Body of Christ
  • He understood that love and spiritual friendship was the real basis for communion, for God is love – God is friendship
  • Aelred turned no one away from the Abbey door; he desired to integrate all in to communion with God and with one another in his community.
  • He offered to secular society a vision of ‘how to be’ both individually and corporately; because of what people saw and heard, Abbot Aelred was in constant demand for help and guidance
  • He prayed a lot!

May prayer be at the heart of our Fellowship so that God may be able to give us his gift of unity, which is communion with the Holy Trinity at the heart of all things. Amen.