Walking a new path together towards Christian unity

 — August 5, 20225 aoüt 2022

Philippa Hitchen, Lutheran World Federation

LWF General Secretary addresses Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops on challenges of ecumenical journey

How do we – as Christian world communions – define the goal of visible unity for our churches? Can we find a way forward, walking together towards a shared vision? Or do we “simply fall back and expect the other to look like us?”

Those were key questions posed by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Anne Burghardt to Anglican bishops and representatives of other Christian world communions gathered at the 15th Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England.

Under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, over 650 Anglican leaders, as well as bishops in full communion from across the globe, are meeting from 26 July to 8 August. Reflecting on the theme ‘God’s Church for God’s World: walking, listening and witnessing together’, they are discussing the mission and the priorities of the worldwide communion for the next decade.

“The welcome from the bishops has been generous and the work of discernment is seriously engaged by the all those gathered at Lambeth,” said LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations, Prof. Dirk Lange. “Every day, in prayer, small Bible study groups and respectful dialogue sessions, participants are discovering a path of unity and reconciliation for both the church and the world.”

On day nine of the conference, dedicated to Christian unity and interfaith relations, General Secretary Burghardt joined panelists from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and Pentecostal traditions, who shared perspectives on the doctrinal, spiritual and social justice dimensions of the ecumenical journey.

Noting that this Lambeth Conference comes just over a century on from the 1920 Lambeth Appeal which called for “a reunited Christendom,” the LWF leader reflected on the definition of unity “for which we all yearn,” yet one which is “not always easy to define.” Decades of dialogue, she said, have helped to shape that definition, including one of the key statements on unity from the World Council of Churches (WCC) New Delhi Assembly in 1961.

Reaffirming the importance of “spiritual ecumenism,” Burghardt stressed that “liturgy and prayer can turn us around, shape us anew, reorient us differently towards one another and to the suffering world.” Yet prayer and theological reflection, she said, must remain closely connected to diakonia and public witness. “Is this a time,” she asked, “when our solidarity with the suffering neighbour and the distressed creation may open up a new hermeneutical framework for our doctrinal and theological reflection?”

Speaking of the full communion agreements that have been achieved between Lutherans and Anglicans in different parts of the world, Burghardt noted that “visible unity does not necessarily mean institutional unity,” but rather “koinonia between our churches,” as the WCC document ‘The Church Towards a Common Vision’ spells out. She mentioned the Porvoo agreement between some Lutheran and Anglican churches in Europe (including her own Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church), as well as the Waterloo Declaration between Anglicans and Lutherans in Canada and the ‘Called to Common Mission’ agreement between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. as examples of this shared communion.

Through these agreements, Burghardt said, “living traditions are shared among different church families” while, at the same time, maintaining “their special spiritual and theological ‘accents’.” The notion of “differentiating consensus,” developed in the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue, “points in the same direction,” she added, and led to the signing of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification in 1999, now affirmed by five world communions (Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Reformed).

This consensus statement, the LWF leader said, “seeks implementation on the local level, as local, neighbouring parishes, rather than living in isolation or occupied only with themselves, turn to each other to proclaim Jesus, to share Jesus, to engage in the world out of love for Jesus and to do so together.” In that ecumenical dynamic, she concluded, “we evangelize, [….] but we do it together, not for the sake of the church but that God’s immeasurable goodness and God’s good intent for all people and all creation be known.”

In the remaining days of the gathering, Anglican church leaders, alongside the ecumenical participants, will continue to explore what visible unity signifies and how it is already being lived out in hospitality, generous discipleship and joint witness to the gospel in the world.

Posted: August 5, 2022 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=12347
Categories: Lutheran World InformationIn this article: Anne Burghardt, Christian unity, Lambeth Conference, Lutheran World Federation
Transmis : 5 aoüt 2022 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=12347
Catégorie : Lutheran World InformationDans cet article : Anne Burghardt, Christian unity, Lambeth Conference, Lutheran World Federation

Pope Francis smiles as he answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Iqaluit, Nunavut, to Rome

Quo vadis? Pope revitalizes ancient theologian’s rules as a timely guide

 — August 4, 20224 aoüt 2022

When Pope Francis gave his first full-length interview after his election in 2013, he was asked about the importance of the church providing solid points of reference in a rapidly changing world. The new pope pulled out his thumb-worn breviary and read out a Latin quote from a fifth-century French monk.

Highlighting the words of St. Vincent of Lérins, Pope Francis raised a curtain onto his pontificate: presenting a little-known but once highly influential theologian whose name and citations would soon appear in a number of papal speeches, documents and interviews over the next decade.

The pope’s favourite quote? That Christian doctrine should follow the true and legitimate rule of progress, so doctrine may be “consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age.”
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Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Iqaluit to Rome

Pope Francis says Catholic Church committed cultural ‘genocide’ of Canada’s Indigenous peoples

 — July 30, 202230 juillet 2022

Pope Francis on July 29 said that the Catholic Church’s treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada amounted to a cultural “genocide” and warned against a colonialist mindset that continues to view Native peoples and customs as “inferior.”

Francis said that “taking away the children, changing the culture and mentality” and erasing “an entire culture” was effectively a “genocide.”

The pope’s remarks came during an inflight press conference en route back to Rome after his July 24-29 trip to Canada, where he apologized on multiple occasions for the abuse that Indigenous children suffered at Catholic-run residential schools, as well as for the church’s adoption of policies that stripped away Indigenous culture.
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Pope Francis visited the pilgrimage at Lac-Ste-Anne, Alberta where he met with Indigenous people and blessed the waters

Indigenous people, evangelization, and us

 — July 29, 202229 juillet 2022

The heart of Pope Francis’ “penitential pilgrimage” to Canada has focused on his personal closeness to indigenous peoples and his request for forgiveness for the disasters wrought by the colonial mentality that sought to eradicate traditional cultures, including through the dramatic experiment of residential schools desired by the government and run by Christian churches.

Encounters with indigenous peoples marked every stage of the trip and were quite moving. The understandable focus on the suffering endured by indigenous people and the journey of reconciliation undertaken have overshadowed some valuable insights scattered throughout Pope Francis’ speeches, which offer useful paths for evangelization today in every corner on earth.

After saying he felt ashamed of what happened when believers “became worldly, and rather than fostering reconciliation, they imposed their own cultural models,” the Pope went on to emphasize that “this attitude dies hard, also from the religious standpoint.” He thus shifted his reflection to the present day, drawing on the events of the past. That is, it is a mentality that is still present.
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Anglican bishops and ecumenical guests pose for their portrait at the 15th Lambeth Conference

Anglican Communion bishops’ portrait shows glimpse of unity during tense Lambeth Conference

 — July 29, 202229 juillet 2022

They marched up the hill wearing vestments of all styles and colors and speaking an array of languages from around the world. They laughed, sang and danced as they climbed the bleachers and lined up in rows, from shortest to tallest. And then, after some final adjustments and one fainting spell, the last one took her seat and there they were: the bishops of the Anglican Communion.

The portrait of all 650+ bishops in attendance is a tradition dating back to the first Lambeth Conference in 1867. That first portrait, showing a small group of white men in black suits, is unrecognizable from the one taken on July 29 on an athletic field at the University of Kent, under a blazing sun.
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Indigenous people hold a banner calling on Pope Francis to 'rescind the doctrine,' an apparent reference to the so-called Doctrine of Discovery, a collection of old papal teachings that encouraged explorers to colonize and claim the lands of any people who were not Christian, placing both the land and the people under the sovereignty of European Christian rulers. The incident occurred during a papal Mass at the National Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec

Raising banner, protesters raise questions about ‘Doctrine of Discovery’

 — July 29, 202229 juillet 2022

In a brief protest at a papal Mass in Canada, Indigenous women unfurled a banner that said, “Rescind the Doctrine.”

The protest July 28 was a momentary but graphic reminder of how, when representatives of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities met Pope Francis at the Vatican in March and April, they asked him specifically for a formal repudiation of the so-called “Doctrine of Discovery.”

The phrase describes a collection of papal teachings, beginning in the 14th century, that blessed the efforts of explorers to colonize and claim the lands of any people who were not Christian, placing both the land and the people under the sovereignty of European Christian rulers.

The loss of the land, language, culture and spirituality of the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the foundation of the residential school system all can be traced to the doctrine, Indigenous leaders told reporters after their meetings with the pope.
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An Indigenous woman displays a cradleboard as Pope Francis meets with a delegation of Indigenous peoples in the archbishop's residence in Quebec City. Indigenous leaders want Pope Francis to help them get information about the more than 4,000 children who died at Canada's residential schools and the thousands of others who never returned home from the schools

Pope entrusts new relationship with Indigenous to three holy women

 — July 29, 202229 juillet 2022

Meeting Indigenous survivors of residential schools in Canada, Pope Francis entrusted them and the journey of truth, healing and reconciliation to three women: St. Anne, Mary and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

“These women can help us to come together and start to weave anew a reconciliation that can uphold the rights of the most vulnerable in our midst and look at history without resentment or forgetfulness,” the pope said July 29, his last morning in Canada.

Before heading to the airport for a three-hour flight to Iqaluit, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic, Pope Francis met with two dozen survivors of residential schools from across Eastern Canada. Organizers said they included people from the Algonquin, Mohawk, Cree, Innu and Mi’kmaq nations.
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Pope Francis meets with a delegation of Indigenous peoples in the archbishop's residence in Quebec City

Pope Francis says he’s been enriched’ by Canada’s Indigenous

 — July 29, 202229 juillet 2022

On the final day of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage of penance, one of healing and reconciliation, he says it is he who has been “enriched” by the experience.

“Now that I am nearing the end of this intense pilgrimage, I want to tell you that although I came with these desires (for healing and reconciliation), I am now returning home greatly enriched,” the Pope told a gathering of some two dozen residential school survivors at the residence of Cardinal Gerald Lacroix in Quebec City this morning. Reporters were present for the beginning of the meeting but were asked to leave following the formal speeches to allow the Pope to speak in private with the survivors.

“I bear in my heart the incomparable treasure of all those individuals and peoples who have left a mark on me; the faces, smiles and messages that remain with me; the unforgettable stories and natural beauties; the sounds, colours and emotions that touched me deeply.”
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Pope Francis arrives to lead vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians and pastoral workers in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Quebec

Pope Francis poses three challenges to Canada at Quebec vespers service

 — July 28, 202228 juillet 2022

If Canadian Catholics were looking for a roadmap to reconciliation, Pope Francis laid it out for them at a vespers prayer service in Quebec City’s exquisite Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral on a rainy Thursday evening.

As is typical of Pope Francis’ preaching, he laid it out in three parts — three challenges to the Church in Canada. Canada’s Catholics must find a way to make Jesus known, become credible witnesses to the Gospel and seek out genuine fraternity with others. None of those three priorities for a reconciling Church has anything to do with a negative, judgmental, condemnatory, defensive, narrow, navel-gazing version of Christian life, he said.
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Bishops arrive for the 15th Lambeth Conference

Anglican bishops from around the world gather for the 15th Lambeth Conference

 — July 27, 202227 juillet 2022

From across the 165 countries of the Anglican Communion, bishops are gathering in Canterbury today to pray, study scripture, discuss global challenges and seek God’s direction for the decade ahead.

The Lambeth Conference 2022, which runs until August 7, is only the 15th such global gathering of Anglican bishops in 155 years.

The event was postponed from 2020 because of the Covid 19 pandemic and takes place against a backdrop of global uncertainty – including the climate emergency, war and poverty.

Taking as their theme “God’s Church for God’s World”, the bishops will spend time praying and studying the Bible together (focussing on the book of 1 Peter) as well as discussing major challenges faced by their global communities – ranging from climate change and scientific progress to Christian Unity and inter-faith relations.
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