New Orthodox-Catholic statement on the Vocation and Mission of the People of God

 — August 6, 20196 aoüt 2019

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has released a new agreed statement entitled, The Vocation and Mission of the People of God: “A Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation”. The document was finalized at the most recent meeting of the Consultation which took place in late May of this year at the Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire. The Consultation is co-chaired by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Catholic Archbishop of Newark, and by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.

More than five years in the making, this new text is an example of a different approach to ecumenical dialogue: instead of addressing together an issue that has prevented full communion between the churches, here the Catholic and Orthodox theologians examine together challenges that affect both churches, in this case the role of the laity in the two traditions and the problem of clericalism.

The document begins with a summary of earlier statements by the Consultation on these and similar themes. It goes on to develop an ecclesiology that sees the sacrament of Baptism as the foundation of the vocation and ministry of every Christian, clergy and laity alike. Thus all the People of God together constitute a single community. Some members have received a special role of leadership within the community, but all of the members have received specific charisms that are to be exercised for the building up of the whole body. Within this context, the ordained clergy are set apart from the body of believers but are not above or separate from that body. All of this is expressed most clearly in the celebration of the Eucharist where the diversity of gifts and roles is made clear in the gathered community’s single act of praise.

The document goes on to reflect on the mission of the laity in the Church, and the implications of this ecclesiology for the practice of synodality at all levels of the Church’s life. In a final section, the agreed statement considers certain challenges to the People of God, namely clericalism, individualism and ecumenical reunion. The Consultation concludes that “our focus in thinking about the Church, and in celebrating its reality, must be on the unity of the People of God that is grounded in our common baptism and on a corresponding understanding of the diversity of roles and charisms within that radically united people.”

Like most dialogue agreed statements, this new text does not speak officially for either Church. However, it has been drafted by a highly competent group of theologians from both traditions and submitted to all the members of both Churches for their prayerful reflection and discussion. The full text can be found here.

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the USCCB, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has issued some 30 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are available on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and on the web site of the Orthodox Assembly of Bishops [as well as at the O’Gara Collection] . .

Another body, the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops, has been meeting annually since 1981 to discuss pastoral issues between the two churches.

Posted: August 6, 2019 • Permanent link:
Categories: Dialogue, NewsIn this article: Catholic, dialogue, mission, Orthodox, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, vocation
Transmis : 6 aoüt 2019 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : Dialogue, NewsDans cet article : Catholic, dialogue, mission, Orthodox, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, vocation

Communion Table at the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), July 2019.
Photo: Glenn Davis/Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Full Communion, not a Merger

 — July 22, 201922 juillet 2019

It has been years in the making, but today, 22 July 2019, delegates to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada General Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, approved a historic agreement with The United Church of Canada. Known as a Full Communion Agreement, it allows clergy to move freely between the denominations if they choose, and recognizes each other’s sacraments of baptism and communion. The United Church of Canada voted for this agreement in July 2018 at its 43rd General Council meeting. In 2015, the United Church signed a similar Full Communion Agreement with the United Church of Christ (USA).
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Watershed vote as Anglican Church of Canada supports an indigenous church

 — July 19, 201919 juillet 2019

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has voted overwhelmingly to approve steps to enable a self-determining indigenous church within the Church. Following the approval of changes in canon law, the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, Mark MacDonald, was given the title and status of Archbishop. He will always be an invited guest at Sacred Circle — the national gatherings of indigenous Anglicans for prayer, worship, discernment, and decision-making — with a voice but no vote.

The resolution will allow the National Indigenous Ministry to make various changes on the composition of the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP) and Sacred Circle without needing the approval of General Synod.

Archbishop Mark said: “people often misinterpret what we’re doing as an attempt at independence, away from the church. We really wish to become an indigenous expression of the church, and we are only asking for the freedom and dignity that other Anglicans already enjoy.”
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Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Diocese of Huron was elected as the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada at the General Synod in Vancouver on July 13, 2019

Anglican Church of Canada elects its first female primate – Bishop Linda Nicholls

 — July 15, 201915 juillet 2019

The Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) has elected Linda Nicholls, the Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, as its next primate. She will become the first woman to hold this position in the ACoC and only the second female primate in the Anglican Communion.

The election, held during the Church’s General Synod at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver on 13 July, began with five nominees. Bishop Linda was elected on the fourth ballot, with 64 per cent of lay votes and 71 per cent of votes among the clergy.

Speaking shortly after the election, Bishop Linda said: “you have bestowed on me an honour that I can hardly imagine, and it is terrifying. But it is also a gift, to be able to walk with the whole of the Anglican Church of Canada from coast to coast to coast.”
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Bishop Christopher Cocksworth addresses the Church of England's General Synod. Photo: Church of England

Covenant for “historical cousins” – the Methodist Church and the Church of England – moves forward

 — July 12, 201912 juillet 2019

Despite an amendment to slow down the process, the Church of England’s General Synod has agreed a series of motions to take forward its Covenant with the Methodist Church in Britain to allow interchangeability of ministries and intercommunion between the two Churches.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told the General Synod: “I for one am profoundly committed to moving forward in this matter, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the Church and for the sake of the world we are sent to serve.”
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Photo: Marianne Ejdersten/World Council of Churches

WCC, IJCIC agree to restore formal relations, strengthen communication

 — June 28, 201928 juin 2019

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC ) have met formally on 25-27 June in Paris.

This meeting, under the theme “The normalization of hatred: challenges for Jews and Christians today,” took place at a time of challenges both to religious life in general and to each of our communities in their various contexts,” reads a communique released by the two groups.

“Among the issues that informed this gathering were: the rise of xenophobic nationalist movements in much of the world; suspicion of the agendas of religious communities and institutions, especially in Europe; the resurgence of overt antisemitism; the prevalence of Islamophobia; newly emerging anti-Christian attitudes; the continuing non-resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; worldwide hostility to vulnerable minorities; and the shocking erosion of civil society in many places and ways.” reads the communique. “We are particularly horrified by the recent increase in murderous attacks on places of worship in different parts of the world.”
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Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, National Bishop Susan Johnson, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Photo: ELCIC

A grateful moment for ecumenical leadership

 — June 21, 201921 juin 2019

National Lutheran Bishop Susan Johnson and Anglican Primate Fred Hiltz will complete their ministry together as leaders in partnership of their respective churches this year. Hiltz announced last year that he would be stepping down at the end of General Synod this July and that a new primate would be elected to succeed him.

Hiltz and Johnson shared a common outlook during the 12 years they have worked together. In the same week in 2007, they were both elected head of their church at parallel assemblies held in Winnipeg. Since this coincidental beginning, they have both passionately modelled what each espouses: strong and growing Anglican-Lutheran relations.
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St. Margaret's Anglican Church, Winnipeg. Photo: Ruth Bonneville, Winnipeg Free Press

Building unity in the body of Christ

 — June 19, 201919 juin 2019

There are hundreds of denominations within Christianity, and it can be easy to focus on the differences between them all. But a group of Mennonites and Anglicans is breaking through those walls. A group of 12 people from both denominations gathered from May 24 to 26 at the University of Manitoba’s St. John’s College in Winnipeg. They spent the weekend sharing the struggles each church experiences and the resources they offer, a practice they have labelled the “exchanging of gifts.”

“It seems that denominational affiliation is becoming less important, and Christianity is shrinking in many sectors in Canada,” says Melissa Miller, interim pastor at Home Street Mennonite Church in Winnipeg. “So it seems more important that Christians from different denominations engage with each other and learn from each other and lay down some of those divisions.” Miller is the Mennonite co-chair of the dialogue, and Christopher Trott, warden of St. John’s College, is the Anglican co-chair.
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Dr. John Sentamu, the Church of England's Archbishop of York, is the president of the YMCA. Photo: Holy Trinity Church, Hull

World’s oldest ecumenical agency celebrates its 175th anniversary

 — June 14, 201914 juin 2019

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, joined in the celebrations with one of the oldest ecumenical global movements as it marks its 175th anniversary this year. The worldwide YMCA youth movement, which began as an evangelical young men’s Christian service organisation, celebrated its start this month with a thanksgiving service at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

The Archbishop, who is the President of the YMCA, said: “It has been a great pleasure to join in the celebrations of 175 years of the YMCA. The work they have done and continue to do today to help and support young people is truly fantastic! My prayer is that the work continues for the next century!”

Denise Hatton, the Chief Executive of YMCA England & Wales, said: “what started with a concern for the welfare of his fellow workers and the formation of a prayer and Bible study group, grew into the YMCA which now reaches 60 million people worldwide.”
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Archbishop Donald Bolen (Archdiocese of Regina), Bishop Sid Haugen (ELCIC Saskatchewan Synod), Bishop Robert Hardwick (Anglican Diocese of Qu'Appelle) and Fr. Vasyl Tymishak (St. Athanasius Ukrainian Catholic Church) after the Covenant Vespers on Sunday, May 26. Photo: Nicholas Jesson

Four Churches Gather to Renew Ecumenical Covenant

 — May 27, 201927 mai 2019

Lutherans and Ukrainian Catholics joined the annual celebration of the Anglican and Roman Catholic ecumenical Covenant on Sunday afternoon, May 26. The Covenant began in 2011 between the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina. In recent years, the Covenant partners have been working towards a renewed covenant which will include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. This year’s annual covenant service was an opportunity to give thanks to God for drawing the four churches towards this renewed relationship.
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