Sadaf Yaqub: Learning about the importance of Christian unity in Rome

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'The openness of our hearts and minds, as well as our behaviour and attitude, can impact our surroundings.' The testimony of a Lay Centre alumna from Pakistan

Sadaf Yaqub: Learning about the importance of Christian unity in Rome

By Sadaf Yaqub

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the faithful and in the congregation” (Ps 111:1).

I am a law graduate from Peshawar University and advocate in Lahore High Court in Pakistan. I completed my Latin Legum Magister at the University of Lahore as well. I am a member of the United Church of Pakistan, part of the Anglican Communion, and for five years I have been involved in the advocacy of minors and in women’s issues. I am also an executive member of the Moderator Church of Pakistan’s team for women’s issues and ecumenical relations.

I am grateful I was chosen to enhance my studies at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum, particularly in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, with a scholarship from the Anglican Centre in Rome. My stay at The Lay Centre was recommended by Archbishop Ian Ernest, director of the Anglican Centre and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See, so I could experience living in a diverse community.

I am grateful to the Lord our Saviour for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me. My heart is filled with gratitude as I share with you all about my stay in Rome. Since January 2023, I have had many magnificent experiences. It has been the most precious moment of my life. Indeed, a dream turned into reality when I landed in the ancient city of Rome – a place known for the Apostles’ faith, their preaching, teaching and sharing of the love of Jesus Christ, even though they were faced with extreme hostility and persecution. They remained faithful and committed until they embraced death.

Upon arriving at the Anglican Centre, I became involved in the celebration of the Week Prayer for Christian Unity. I was amazed to realize about the divisions in the Church and how important it is for the Church to be together in the unity of Christ. As an intern, life at the Anglican Centre in Rome was full of excitement and enriching experiences. My participation in different courses, in pilgrimage, in World Youth Day in Lisbon and the Exhibition[1]  has focused my thoughts on one central point, which is love, learning, encounters and sharing joys.

Learning about ecumenism at the Angelicum was enriching. It widened my horizon to the importance of church communion. We are one Church in Christ; it is not only about the unity of the churches but the unity of their mission as well. There is the urge to walk and work together.

My stay at The Lay Centre, with residents who are different in their personal capacities and traditions, gave me a broader perspective of community life. I learned more about how we can be the source of strength and encouragement for each other, despite our differences, and how we can be instruments of God’s love for one another. I learned that the openness of our hearts and minds, as well as our behaviour and attitude, can impact our surroundings. The Lay Centre is a place of communion for people from across our diverse world, where we take care of one another and share the values and characteristics of Christ.

This place is very calm, secure and comfortable. The food and other facilities are fabulous. I never felt a sense of frustration in these friendly surroundings. The prayer, retreats, and meetings with scholars and dignitaries were marvelous, enhancing our spiritual growth and leadership abilities.

Contributed: Stefanie Bross

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