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

February 4, 2013 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—Participants of the Catholic-ReformedDialogue gathered in Austin, Texas, January 28-29, to begin a multi-year studyon the mission and identity of the church in the modern world. The dialogue ischaired 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 2012report "The Church—Towards a Common Vision," by the World Council of Churches(WCC) Faith and Order Commission. Topics that will be addressed include unityand diversity in the church, and the origins and current interpretations ofministry and ordination, and the nature and role of authority and theepiscopacy. The last topic is a direct response to Pope John Paul II's 1995encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, in which heinvitedother Christian leaders tohelp the pope think about the ministerial role of the bishop of Rome.

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

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

"Our work together has been and willbe of service to all Christian communities in ways that we cannot foresee. TheHoly Spirit continues to guide us in ways unseen," said Archbishop WiltonGregory of Atlanta, who chaired the USCCB's Committee for Ecumenical andInterreligious Affairs at the time that the dialogue reached a common agreementon the understanding of baptism.

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

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

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

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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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