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Catholic-Reformed Dialogue Begins To Explore Mission, Identity Of Church In Modern World

February 4, 2013

WASHINGTON—Participants of the Catholic-Reformed Dialogue gathered in Austin, Texas, January 28-29, to begin a multi-year study on the mission and identity of the church in the modern world. The dialogue is chaired by Bishop Tod Brown, retired bishop of Orange, California, and the Rev. Cynthia Campbell, Ph.D., pastor of Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and former president of McCormick Theological Seminary.

The dialogue will draw from the 2012 report "The Church—Towards a Common Vision," by the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission. Topics that will be addressed include unity and diversity in the church, and the origins and current interpretations of ministry and ordination, and the nature and role of authority and the episcopacy. The last topic is a direct response to Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, in which he invitedother Christian leaders to help the pope think about the ministerial role of the bishop of Rome.

"There is an opportunity for greater cooperation between Catholics and Reformed in this study of the church precisely because the identity of church as a mission entails a shared understanding of identity that both are called to serve," said Bishop Brown.

"What a privilege it will be to work on this eighth round of the dialogue as we build on the truly historic consensus achieved on baptism," said Rev. Campbell. "We now have the opportunity to reflect together on what it means to be the Church, Christ's body in and for the world. I know that this will be an opportunity for spiritual growth for the participants, and we pray for the Church as a whole."

"Our work together has been and will be of service to all Christian communities in ways that we cannot foresee. The Holy Spirit continues to guide us in ways unseen," said Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, who chaired the USCCB's Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the time that the dialogue reached a common agreement on the understanding of baptism.

The next scheduled meeting will take place September 16-17, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Other Catholic dialogue participants included Bishop Denis Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and USCCB chairman of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, executive director of USCCB Doctrine; Msgr. John A. Radano; Kristin Colberg, Ph.D.; Oblate of Saint Francis De Sales Father John Crossin, executive director of USCCB Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; and Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D. of USCCB Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Reformed Church in America participants included Rev. Wes Granberg-Michaelson, Rev. Leanne van Dyk, Ph.D., and Rev. Dr. Allan Janssen, Ph.D. Christian Reformed Church participants included Sue Rozeboom, Ph.D., Rev. Peter Choi, and Rev. Ronald Feenstra, Ph.D. Presbyterian Church-USA participants included Rev. David Gambrell and Rev. Robina Winbush. United Church of Christ participants included Rev. Sidney D. Fowler, Ed.D., Rev. Dr. Randi Walker, and Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson.


Keywords: Catholic-Reformed Dialogue, Catholic Church, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Reformed Church in America, Christian Reformed Church, Presbyterian Church-USA, United Church of Christ, Bishop Denis Madden, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II, Bishop Tod Brown, Rev. Cynthia Campbell, Ph.D.

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Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206

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