Ecumenical relationships assisted by Lambeth Participation

25 July 2008 • Persistent link:

The inclusion of ecumenical partners in the full participation of the Lambeth Conference marks a high point in ecumenical relationships between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church, according to Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayah of Haifa and the Holy Land.

Archbishop Sayah joined Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at a media conference today to explain some of the progress and challenges facing ecumenical relationships. The Maronite Church is an Eastern church which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

“Since 1966 when ecumenical dialogue really began between our Communion and the Anglican Communion, [various] declarations have affirmed this unity, a unity for which we work and for which our Lord prayed before he died,” Archbishop Sayah said. He praised the efforts of bodies such as ARCIC (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission) and IARCCUM (International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission) in furthering the relationship.

“The discussions are not always without difficulties, but what we share makes it possible to keep going forward… it is of utmost importance that I join in prayer for the Anglican Communion,” he said. “Unity will come as a gift from above.”

Rather than being simply observers, ecumenical partners at this Lambeth Conference are participating fully, including in the Bible studies and the Indaba groups.

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said that he was hearing from the ecumenical partners a message that “your issues are everyone’s issues,” when it came to concerns about authority, the interpretation of scripture, and orthodoxy.

According to Archbishop Philip Aspinall, Primate of Australia and spokesperson for the conference, there are eight Lutheran bishops in attendance, eight Orthodox, four from Oriental churches, eight from the Roman Catholic Church, and eighteen representatives from non-episcopal churches.