Service of Celebration and Commitment
Friday 18 January 2008, Westminster Abbey, 5 pm
This national event was led by the four ecumenical Presidents of Churches Together in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Primate of the Armenians in Britain and the Commissioner of the Salvation Army.
The Society was involved in making arrangements for the service, which imaginatively combined the liturgical structure of Orthodox and Western worship with opportunities for open prayer true to spirituality among Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians. The service was an act of thanksgiving for the many prayers answered in the last hundred years and rededicated the churches of England to finding their unity according to Christ's will and prayer. It was also the occasion for the commissioning of the new General Secretary of Churches Together in England.
With workshops and worship from the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Greek Orthodox community and an introduction on the Week of Prayer from Mark Woodruff
Follow this link to visit a dedicated website for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, its history, work and continuing urgent purpose, set up by the Society to mark the Centenary.
A number of members voiced a need to have a discussion on the way the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has contributed to ecumenical dialogue, first in Dominus Iesus and then in the wake of the restoration of the 1962 Tridentine Rite, the "Responses to Questions concerning Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church". Professor Nicholas Lash, emeritus Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, offered his analysis of these developments and how they relate to the teaching set down at Vatican II on the Catholic understanding of the Church and the consequences for relations beyond the Roman Catholic Church. Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon Theologian at the Abbey responded in dialogue. Click here to read the report of the seminar.
Nicholas Lash's address was based on a chapter of his new book, Theology for Pilgrims. This is available from Darton, Longman and Todd, price £14.95.
The Annual General Meeting of the Society took place before the debate. Click here to view the Minutes.
The atonement and the Christian doctrine of sacrifice - are they serving reconciliation in Christ, or are they Touchstones of Disunity?.
The doctrine of the Atonement has been controversial within Anglican thinking in recent years, marking out the different principles held by Evangelicals, Anglican Catholics and those in the liberal traditions. It also goes to the heart of Catholicity and the nature and purpose of the Church in other Churches and Communions. Again, the understanding of Christ's sacrifice in the Eucharist for the Orthodox and Catholic Churches remains a point of profound difference with Evangelicals and Reformed Christians, however much dialogue has incread mutual understanding and thinking in common.
And what of the Jewish origins of our concept of sacrifice, and our relations with contemporary Judaism? And seeing that self-sacrifice and martyrdom are at the core of Christians' common faith in Christ, how does that reflect on our understanding of Islam in the contemporary world where similar ideas remain potent?
For further background from the Evangelical Alliance, which hosted a conference on the Atonement from an Evangelical perspective in 2005, follow this link to their website.
Canon Nicholas Sagovsky generously hosted the Society in its return to the Abbey for the day. The speakers were
Dr David Cornick, the new General Secretary of Churches Together in England, was the speaker. His address is here.
The European Society for Ecumenical Research, Societas Oecumenica, and the Faculty of Theology's Centre for Ecumenical Research at KU Leuven's biennial consultation. For more information in English, German and French on this event, please visit the Societas Oecumenica webpages for this event.
This was a collaboration between the Society and the Ecumenical Centre in the Cambridge Theological Federation. The speakers were: