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By Sarah Pulliam Bailey
Religious News Service
(RNS) Bishop Tony Palmer, a charismatic preacher who used a cellphone camera to record Pope Francis issuing an appeal for Christian unity between Catholics and evangelicals, died Sunday (July 20) after a motorcycle crash in the United Kingdom.
In January, Palmer held the smartphone that recorded Pope Francis calling on all Christians to set aside their differences. Palmer, a bishop and international ecumenical officer with the independent Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, also helped coordinate the pope’s meeting with televangelists in June.
In the video, Pope Francis referred to Palmer as “my brother, a bishop-brother,” saying they had been friends for years. “Let us allow our longing to increase so that it propels us to find each other, embrace each other and to praise Jesus Christ as the only Lord of history,” Francis said.
Born in the U.K. and raised partly in South Africa, Palmer had served as the director of the South Africa office of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. On Copeland’s website, Palmer said he had met Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires (now Pope Francis) in 2008 when Palmer sought permission to work with charismatic Catholics in the city.
In a February blog post for Patheos, Anglican-turned-Catholic priest the Rev. Dwight Longenecker focused on Palmer as representing something new in Anglicanism, especially for Palmer’s involvement in the Convergent Movement, a charismatic Anglican group that ordains women as deacons and priests. Click here to continue reading.