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Four Nations Faith and Order Consultation considers current issues

Posted on: June 18, 2015 11:09 AM
Representatives from the four Anglican churches in Ireland and Great Britain
Photo Credit: Church of Ireland

[Church of Ireland] The Four Nations Faith and Order Consultation met in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute in Dublin from 26 to 28 May 2015. Hosted by the Church of Ireland, the consultation welcomed representatives from the Church of England, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church. 

The consultation addressed a wide range of issues affecting the churches in each of the four nations. There were many points of commonality but there were also opportunities to learn from others.

The relationships between churches and civic society were examined under a number of different headings. The consultation took place in Dublin in the week following the Referendum on Marriage Equality and there was discussion on how each of the Churches was approaching the issue of same sex marriage. Underlying some debates was that the feeling that the church has been pushed onto the wrong side of moral arguments where the church is often seen as immoral rather than moral.

Developing ecumenical relations were considered. The group addressed the issue of transitivity between Anglican Lutheran Agreements specifically in North America together with the coherence of other agreements, especially with Methodists and Moravian Churches.

The consultation also looked at changes in patterns of ministry and the different understandings of the theology of ministry. They spoke about pioneer ministry and fresh expressions as well as liturgical developments.

Church leadership was debated and the discussions on episcopacy in the Church of Ireland were examined. They also focused on the management of disagreement and how best to equip bishops and resource parishes.

Anglican responses to the Lutheran 500 Commemoration of the Reformation were shared and suggestions of mounting a conference and/or advancing research possibilities were aired.

The next Four Nations Faith and Order Consultation is due to take place in Scotland in May 2017. Its shape and content were discussed and possible upcoming issues suggested – other faiths, theology and nationhood, ACC 2016, migration. It was agreed that our ecumenical officers should be present, perhaps meeting a day or two before to prepare for the consultation.

Representing their Churches in Dublin were:

Church of Ireland: The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and the Revd Niall Sloane, Hon Records Secretary for Commission for Christian Unity and Dialogue.

Church of England: The Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough; the Revd Canon Jeremy Worthen, Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Theology; and Dr Cathy Ross, Member of the Faith & Order Commission.

Church in Wales: The Revd Canon Gwynn ap Gwilym, Adviser to the Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales; the Revd Matthew Hill, Secretary of the Doctrinal Commission; the Revd Dr Rhiannon Johnson, Member of the Doctrinal Commission.

Scottish Episcopal Church: The Most Revd David Chillingworth, The Primus; the Revd Canon John Lindsay, the Convener of the Inter Church Relations Committee; and the Revd Dr Harriet Harris, the Convener of the Doctrine Committee and Dr John Davies, the Convener of the Liturgy Committee.