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Ecumenical participants grapple

31 July 2008

by Pat Ashworth

ECUMENICAL participants in the Lambeth Conference have told the Archbishop of Canterbury that all the Churches are grappling with the same issues.

“In the conversations I have had with a wide variety of people among our ecumenical friends, the same message has come through — from a Commissioner of the Salvation Army to a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. These are everyone’s issues,” he told a press conference last Friday.

Everyone had questions about authority, scripture, theology, and ethics: Anglicans just happened to be “dealing with them in a pretty acute way”. Dr Williams said this had been “helpful and encouraging for some of us to hear”.

Dame Mary Tanner emphasised the same thing in an introduction to the ecumenical day, “The Bishop and other Churches”. “I think our partners are watching us with great interest to see what happens, and I think many of our ecumenical partners are looking particularly at the Covenant. Much of what’s in it is, of course, also in many of our agreed statements with our ecumenical partners. . . There is no such thing any longer as a unilateral action. What one Church does affects the other; what the other does affects the other Churches.”

There are eight bishops at the Conference from Lutheran Churches, eight from Orthodox Churches, and four from the Oriental Orthodox; there are also eight Roman Catholic bishops, and 18 representatives from non-episcopal Churches. They are fully participating in the Conference and are in all the indaba groups.

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