[Lambeth Palace press release] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has appointed the Rev. Anders Litzell as prior of the Community of St. Anselm, a radical new Christian community at Lambeth Palace.
Litzell, 34, is an Anglican priest from Sweden, who has experience of the Pentecostal and Lutheran traditions as well as three provinces of the Anglican Communion. He will pioneer the Community, which launches in September 2015, and direct its worship and work. He will work as prior under the auspices of the archbishop, who will be Abbot of the Community. Litzell will take up the role on Jan. 5, 2015.
The Community will initially consist of 16 people living at Lambeth Palace full-time, and up to 40 people, who live and work in London, joining as non-residential members. The archbishop hopes that the Community will be definitive in shaping future leaders to serve the common good in a variety of fields, as they immerse themselves in a challenging year of rigorous formation through prayer, study, practical service and community life.
Litzell was ordained in the Church of England in 2012. He is currently serving at St George’s, Holborn, in the Diocese of London, where his ministry focuses on students and adults in their 20s and 30s. At the same time he is pursuing a doctorate which focuses on the relevance of St. Benedict for contemporary leadership. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, U.K., including a sojourn at St. Agnes, Diocese of Natal in South Africa.
Litzell grew up in the Swedish Pentecostal Church. During his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, Illinois, he discovered ‘high church’ Anglicanism through St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Glen Ellyn – where his journey to ordination began. Back in Sweden he served in the Lutheran church, Sollentuna Parish in Stockholm, while directing the Alpha Sweden office, before moving to London to work with Alpha International.
Welby said: “My vision for the Community of St. Anselm is that it be both ancient and postmodern: that young adults be steeped in the rich monastic traditions of the likes of Benedict, Francis and Ignatius, while discovering their striking relevance for the transformation of self and society today. I am delighted at the appointment of Anders Litzell who will help to work this out at Lambeth Palace.”
The archbishop’s chaplain, the Rev. Jo Wells, who has pioneered the setting up of the Community, said: “Anders brings an experience and hunger for spiritual formation which is both wide and deep – crossing a variety of continents and traditions. He brings much energy and imagination to the work, a work in which he will participate even as he leads.”
Litzell said: “I am hugely excited about taking on this role and, through God’s grace, turning Archbishop Justin’s vision for the community into reality. We pray that the Community will be identified by prayer, by learning, by love of each other and of the poor – all with one intention above all others: to become more like Jesus.”
Further information is available here.