More dialogue needed for unity, ecumenical director says

 — May 8, 19938 mai 1993

by Nick Lees, Edmonton Journal

There was one sour note this week in Edmonton when 110 delegates met at the 7th National Institute on Ecumenism.

“By and large, our Evangelical/Fundamentalist brothers and sisters remain very aloof from the ecumenical movement,” said Roman Catholic Bernard De Margerie, director of the Saskatoon Centre for Ecumenism.

“In fact, I’m told some talk about it as the ‘E’ word. A lot of talking and listening must be done to see why it is important to come together because of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

One of the nine workshops attended by delegates from as far apart as Newfoundland and Vancouver Island addressed the Evangelical/Fundamentalist belief that only adults should be baptized.

But nearly everyone thought the ecumenical movement has been making progress since many Canadian churches began working to find common ground in the mid-’20s. The inter-church movement was given a major international boost when the Second Vatican Council endorsed ecumenism in the ’60s.

Delegates noted that religious traditions went back many hundreds of years and they are seeking to find unity in diversity and live in harmony with people of different faiths.

“You don’t overcome differences in one generation,” says De Margerie. “But there is a minority in most churches who are willing to spend themselves in the cause of Christian unity.”

It was especially important today to seek common ground when people of several faiths are taking arms in such places as Bosnia.

Edmonton’s Father David Motiuk, chancellor of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, said he believes local inter-church co-operation is being reflected nationally.

He noted the Christian Unity week held in January; the monthly Taizé prayer gathering for people of all denominations and a Day of Dialogue in March.

“The church is made stronger by adding together the different talents and treasures of our respective traditions,” said Motiuk. “The eastern churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, can strengthen the faith of a society by emphasizing the concept of mysticism within the church.”

A very positive step he saw was the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox churches getting together to help the University of Alberta’s library sciences department set up a legal library for Ukraine. The project is awaiting funding.

“Rather than tell them how to set up a democratic system, we will help provide the tools and resources to achieve for themselves,” he said. “We can offer input into such matters as human rights, senior citizens concerns and religious freedoms.”

Bryson Randall, the ecumenical co-ordinator for the Edmonton Anglican diocese, said the Ten Days Program, which seeks to educate Canadians about Third World issues, is another indication of different faiths seeking to work together on a national level. The program is sponsored by PLURA (Presbyterian, Lutheran, United, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches).

Coalition task forces are also looking at such issues as poverty, the homeless and aboriginal questions, De Margerie said. There is also a coalition task force examining human rights in Latin America.

Rev. Robert Hankinson, of Edmonton’s Garneau United Church, said a great deal of work was done in workshops by people who wanted to be ecumenical where they live.

“For a long time there was ecumenical spirit, but each church was out for itself,” he said. “Now, we are coming together.”

Posted: May 8, 1993 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Bernard de Margerie, Christian unity, ecumenism, Summer Ecumenical Institute
Transmis : 8 mai 1993 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Bernard de Margerie, Christian unity, ecumenism, Summer Ecumenical Institute

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