Churches sign agreement for shared ministry at St. Michael’s Retreat

 — Oct. 5, 20045 oct. 2004

by Jana G. Pruden, Regina Leader Post

[Lumsden, SK] On a day that celebrates the life of St. Francis of Assisi, four Christian church groups came together in an agreement that would have made him proud.

Representatives of the Anglican Church, Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and Franciscan Friars met Monday on St. Francis’s feast day, to sign an agreement that gives them joint control over St. Michael’s Retreat, now known as St. Michael’s Retreat & Ministries Inc.

“Here is how peace begins,” said Friar Bob Mokry, provincial minister of the Franciscan Friars of Western Canada, after recounting a story about St. Francis meeting a Muslim leader in the midst of Middle East violence in the 13th century.

“Peace becomes a condition of a person; it is made with one individual at a time. It happens through personal presence, through on-the-ground action, and by the commitment of individuals who act to bring about unity and harmony.”

The St. Michael’s agreement, he said, may be a modern-day example of those principles.

The document formalizes a five-year working agreement that has significantly increased usage of the historic retreat, bringing in almost 5,000 people from a variety of faiths and churches in the last year alone.

Rev. Cindy Halmarson, bishop of the Saskatchewan Synod with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and one of the signatories of the historic agreement, says the spirit of communication benefits all the church communities involved.

“While we each remain in our traditions, we have all moved to a higher plain,” Halmarson said, calling the agreement “Christianity in action.”

Roman Catholic Archbishop Peter Mallon says the five-year trial showed the partnership can work well, and that the co-operative approach of the church communities is a positive step and a hopeful sign.

“None of us is giving up our identity or belief, yet we are able to see the larger picture and the greater challenge that Christ puts in front of us,” he said.

“To reach out to each other so we can reach out to the world together.”

Indeed, Duncan Wallace, bishop of Qu’Appelle for the Anglican Church of Canada, says the agreement shows what faith groups can accomplish together in changing and challenging times, and is a “a beacon that illuminates how people of faith and goodwill can multiply each other’s strengths for the good of the world.”

“What is common about us outweighs what is different,” he said.

Posted: Oct. 5, 2004 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Christian unity, ecumenism, shared ministry
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Christian unity, ecumenism, shared ministry

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