Subject Matters: interview with Nicholas Jesson about ‘Towards Unity’

 — April 15, 201715 avril 2017

Nick Jesson sat down for an interview with Salt + Light Television’s Sebastian Gomes to discuss the new book Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation

About the book: Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation

In 2017, we mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This Festschrift in honour of Monsignor John Radano, who served as head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity‘s Western section for nearly 25 years, offers a window on what has been achieved through ecumenical dialogue over the past 50 years. It also reminds us of the importance of ecumenical friendship in advancing the cause of Christian unity.

Since the Reformation, Christian unity has suffered many failures. Yet, especially in more recent times, it has also celebrated encouraging successes. Disparate Christian traditions are beginning to trust each other. Will Christians eventually find one shared identity? What are the theological and ecclesial challenges ahead? This timely collection of essays by prominent Catholic and Protestant ecumenists witnesses a hope for a future Christian unity born out of 50 years of honest and genuine dialogue.

Towards Unity – a collection of papers by major ecumenical contributors – reflects with passion and hope on bilateral dialogues, the ecumenical movement, and organizations that promote multilateral relationships. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the scandal of division is giving birth to renewed relationships, dialogue, and awareness.

About the series Subject Matters

As digital content continues to sweep across the communications world, books are becoming more peripheral in people’s lives. And yet, they are as relevant as ever. Host Sebastian Gomes sits down with authors and editors to discuss books of interest, from pressing political and cultural issues to questions and debates about the supernatural.

Two criteria are used in the selection of books: Is the book relevant? And, is the book readable? With the production of Subject Matters, S+L hopes to reignite interest in the ancient art of the written word and spark the imaginations of a new generation of book lovers.

Beautifully filmed on location at Ben McNally Books in downtown Toronto, Subject Matters links the old with the new to create a viewing experience that is visually stunning and rich in content. Each 30-minute episode features an interview with the author, discussion on the contemporary relevance of the topic and a peer review segment for a broad and substantial analysis of current and relevant ideas in a powerfully creative viewing experience.

Watch the full series in HD, including many extras, on the official website:

Posted: April 15, 2017 • Permanent link:
Categories: News, ResourcesIn this article: books, Christian unity, Nicholas Jesson
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Catégorie : News, ResourcesDans cet article : books, Christian unity, Nicholas Jesson

Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation

 — April 1, 20171 avril 2017

Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation is edited by Archbishop Donald Bolen, Nicholas Jesson, and Sr. Donna Geernaert, SC. It is available from, or in the USA from Paulist Press. ISBN: 978-2-8968-8422-3 (Novalis) and 978-0-8091-5349-7 (Paulist Press)Those who work in the field of Christian unity for any length of time are quick to point out that ecumenism is the work of the Holy Spirit. We say that not to sound pious but because we know firsthand two things: from our failed efforts, that we cannot bring about unity by ourselves no matter how hard we try; and from our successes, that something else is operative in this work of dialogue and reconciliation. God’s grace shapes our efforts in countless ways, experienced in a deep yearning for unity, in the insights which come forth from dialogue, in the moments of breakthrough when new understandings are reached, in the relationships and bonds of communion that are formed when we work with other Christians at the service of unity.

Ecumenism is a work of the Holy Spirit in the churches as they put themselves at the service of Jesus’ desire that his disciples be reconciled, and it is a work of the Spirit in people’s lives. This volume, which reflects on ecumenical achievements and hopes as we mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, is a celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in the churches and ecclesial communities of the West as they have sought to address conflicts and heal divisions. It is also a celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in the ecumenical ministry of Monsignor John Radano, and in a secondary but very real way, of each of the contributors to this volume. John Radano, generally known by his dialogue partners and colleagues as Jack, served as head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity‘s (PCPCU) Western section for nearly a quarter century, from 1984 to 2008. In this capacity, he participated in dialogues with Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist, Mennonite, Classical Pentecostal, and Evangelical traditions, and served as liaison with the World Council of Churches‘ Commission on Faith and Order. Jack was also involved in relations with the Anglican Communion, the World Methodist Council, and the Global Christian Forum, so had a truly comprehensive involvement in relations with the Catholic Church’s dialogue and consultation partners in the West.
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Catholics and Evangelicals in Dialogue: A Small Group Opportunity

 — March 22, 201722 mars 2017

Pastor Harry StraussPastor Harry Strauss, co-chair of the Saskatoon Catholic and Evangelical Dialogue, has written a small group resource specifically for dialogue. It is entitled Catholics and Evangelicals in Dialogue: A Small Group Discussion Guide. It is 7 sessions in length, addressing the topics of revelation, the church, salvation, baptism, communion, the communion of the saints, and missional engagement. It is designed for laypeople, shaped as a user-friendly resource. Anticipated outcomes include new friendships, shaped around spiritually engaging conversations, and most importantly, relational growth in Jesus Christ. The material has been field tested some, with good results. However, there is a desire for additional testing. If interested in being part of this effort, particularly in initiating and leading a small group, please contact Pastor Harry Strauss at harry [at] forestgrovecc [dot] com or call 306-280-7147.
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Mennonite World Conference completes dialogue with Catholics, Lutherans

 — March 21, 201721 mars 2017

A five-year discussion of baptism among Mennonites, Catholics and Lutherans has yielded new insights.

Representatives of the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Lutheran World Federation, and the Mennonite World Conference gathered Feb. 9-14 in Augsburg, Germany for the fifth and final meeting of the Trilateral Dialogue Commission on Baptism.

John Rempel of Canada said reflecting on each group’s practice of baptism helped participants learn to respect, trust and challenge each other.

“From the Lutherans, I have seen more clearly that their concern about justification by grace through faith is not that discipleship is a secondary matter,” said Rempel, who is professor emeritus of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., and the Toronto School of Theology. “Their concern is that following Christ be a lifestyle of gratitude for God’s grace and not good works to earn God’s favour.

“From the Catholics, I have learned that the sacrament of baptism does not have an automatic role in salvation. If someone persistently lives life against the Spirit of Christ, baptism will not save them.”
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Luther and the Reformation – a new video resource

 — January 21, 201721 janvier 2017

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther kicked off the Protestant Reformation, which contributed to the birth of our modern age. In this one-hour special — filmed on location in Europe — Rick Steves tells the story of a humble monk who lived a dramatic life. Rick visits key sites relating to the Reformation (including Erfurt, Wittenberg, and Rome) and explores the complicated political world of 16th-century Europe — from indulgences to iconoclasts, and from the printing press to the Counter-Reformation. It’s a story of power, rebellion, and faith that you’ll never forget.
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Unity Week: Cardinal Koch celebrates a “truly ecumenical year”

 — January 18, 201718 janvier 2017

Cardinal Kurt Koch with Rev Mounib Younan, Pope Francis and Rev Martin Junge in Lund Cathedral on October 31st, 2016. Photo: APAs we mark the annual week of prayer for Christian Unity, Catholics have much to celebrate because 2016 was “truly an ecumenical year”. That’s the view of Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who accompanied Pope Francis on all his ecumenical journeys throughout the past year.

The cardinal was reflecting on the theme for this week of prayer which is centred on a verse from St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians: ‘Reconciliation: the love of Christ compels us’. Members of the Council of Christian Churches in Germany were asked to prepare material on this theme which is set in the context of this year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Cardinal Koch says the leitmotif for this week of prayer is reconciliation, proposed by Christians in Germany, where the Reformation began. While we have much gratitude for the Reformation and the rediscovery of all that is in common between Lutherans and Catholics, he says, we must also recognise the painful history of the last 500 years. Though Luther did not want to divide the Church, he notes the “horrible confessional wars” that followed the Reformation “transformed Europe into a red sea of blood”. We must acknowledge both of these pages, he says, working for repentance and reconciliation, but also showing gratitude for the gifts of the Reformation.
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The sweet song of Christian unity

 — January 18, 201718 janvier 2017

Our Lord and his apostles used many figures of speech to describe the Church. From our beloved St. Paul: “We are God’s fellow labourers; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9). “You are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27). Or Jesus’ words: “Fear not, little flock” (Luke 12:32a). “I am the vine; you are the branches” (John 15:5a).

Many of us have admired a well-ordered cathedral, such as St. Paul’s, London, or All Saints, Nairobi. We recognise — almost unconsciously — the beauty of the human person, of a pastoral scene or vineyard. No wonder they make fitting images for the Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, a city “at unity with itself” (Ps. 122:3).

Our experience of the Church’s unity tends to fall short of these glorious figures. We see “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions” (see Gal. 5:19-21).

In recognition of this, Anglicans have turned to other images over the past 14 years: among them, “walking together in synodality,” “walking apart,” or even “walking at a distance.” This language proves useful, vividly illustrating different degrees or intensities of communion: some choose to be close; some go their own way; some wander onto the wrong path.

Through such images, we see how harmony, order, and unity are gifts received, but also unwrapped and used. A field must be cultivated, a building maintained, a vine pruned.
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