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 — February 20, 201520 février 2015
 
Participants of the trilateral dialogue in Elspeet. Photo: Alfred Neufelt/MWC
Participants of the trilateral dialogue in Elspeet. Photo: Alfred Neufelt/MWC
LWI

Commission Studies Baptismal Practices and Traditions

The five-year trilateral dialogue between Lutherans, Roman Catholics and Mennonites focusing on baptism has reached its halfway point, with the continued study on “Baptism and Incorporation into the Body of Christ, the Church.”

The trilateral dialogue commission of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Mennonite World Conference (MWC) and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), held its third meeting, 9-13 February at Elspeet, Netherlands, on the topic, “Baptism: Communicating Grace and Faith.”

Besides hearing presentations on the topic of the meeting from all three dialogue parties, the commission this time paid special attention to baptismal rites in the Mennonite tradition. It further reviewed the work of the two previous meetings, and agreed on an outline for a final report due in 2017. The members also had opportunity to meet with leaders of the local Mennonite community to learn about the life of the Dutch Mennonite church today, including their practice of baptism in a highly secularized society.

LWF Assistant General Secretary for Ecumenical Relations Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka, commission co-secretary, reflected on the dialogue process thus far. “From the perspective of the painful experiences that the three Christian communions had 500 years ago, it is remarkable that we are able to meet today to discuss in a respectful manner the issue of baptism, which at the time of the Reformation led into persecution of the Anabaptists—whose tradition the Mennonites are carrying today—both by Lutherans and Catholics,” she said.

At their meetings, commission members study the Bible together, helping to create an atmosphere of sharing and trust. “I believe this will help the commission to address the otherwise rather challenging issues relating to our different understandings of baptism and gives fresh impulses for the topic of the dialogue,” she added.

The MWC hosted this year’s meeting at the Mennorode Conference Center, an important house for international Mennonite meetings since the 1920s. The meeting was co-chaired by Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga of Colombia (Catholic), Prof. Friederike Nüssel of Germany (Lutheran) and Prof. Alfred Neufeld of Paraguay (Mennonite).

The fourth session of the trilateral commission is scheduled for 28 February to 4 March 2016 in Colombia, where it will discuss “Discipleship: Living Out Baptism.”

Communiqué

Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite, Trilateral Dialogue Commission on Baptism
Elspeet, The Netherlands, 9—13 February 2015

Representatives of the Catholic Church (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity), the Lutheran World Federation, and the Mennonite World Conference met in Elspeet, The Netherlands, 9–13 February, for the third meeting of the Trilateral Dialogue Commission on Baptism. The Commission developed the general topic of the dialogue “Baptism and Incorporation into the Body of Christ, the Church” through papers on “Baptism: Communicating Grace and Faith.” Professors John Rempel and Fernando Enns (Mennonite), Rev Prof. William Henn (Catholic), and Bishop Emeritus Dr Musawenkosi Biyela (Lutheran) made major presentations. The Commission continued also to study baptismal practices of the three Christian traditions, with special attention this year to Mennonites in a paper by Prof. Rempel and Dr Jonathan Seiling. In anticipation of the conclusion of the trilateral dialogue, members reviewed the work of the previous years and agreed on an outline of their final report. Each day began and ended in common prayer; morning prayers included joint reflection on biblical texts relating to baptism.

Hosted by the Mennonite World Conference, the meeting took place at Mennorode Conference Centre (Elspeet), an important house for Dutch and international Mennonite meetings since the 1920s. One evening commission members met with leaders of the national Mennonite community to learn about the life of the Dutch Mennonite church today, including their practice of Baptism in a highly secularized society. The final day, participants visited historic Mennonite sites in Amsterdam and Friesland, (northern Netherlands), where Menno Simons — from whom Mennonites take their name — was born and first ministered, initially as a Catholic priest, then as an Anabaptist reformer.

Participants in the meeting on behalf of the Catholic Church were Archbishop Luis Augusto Castro Quiroga, IMC (co-chair, Colombia); Rev Prof. William Henn, OFM Cap (USA/Italy); Rev Prof. Luis Melo, SM (Canada); Sister Prof. Dr Marie-Hélène Robert, NDA (France); and Msgr Dr Gregory Fairbanks (co-secretary, USA/Vatican). Lutheran delegation members were Prof. Dr Friederike Nüssel (co-chair, Germany); Bishop Emeritus Dr Musawenkosi Biyela (South Africa); Prof. Dr Theodor Dieter (France); Rev Dr KS Peter Li (Hong Kong, China); and Rev Dr Kaisamari Hintikka (co-secretary, Finland/Switzerland). Mennonites were Prof. Dr Alfred Neufeld (co-chair, Paraguay); Prof. Dr Fernando Enns (Germany); Rev Rebecca Adongo Osiro (Kenya); Prof. Dr John Rempel (Canada); Rev Dr Larry Miller (co-secretary, France); and Dr Jonathan Seiling (Canada/Germany) as a guest researcher.

The fourth meeting of the Trilateral Commission is scheduled to take place 28 February—4 March 2016 in Colombia where it will consider the theme “Discipleship: Living Out Baptism.” The Commission intends to conclude its work in 2017 with the submission of a final report to the Lutheran World Federation, the Mennonite World Conference and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Posted: February 20, 2015 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=9577
Categories: Communiqué, Lutheran World InformationIn this article: baptism, dialogue, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite World Conference, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Transmis : 20 février 2015 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=9577
Catégorie : Communiqué, Lutheran World InformationDans cet article : baptism, dialogue, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite World Conference, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity


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