June ~ 2018 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in northern Alberta say they’re looking forward to repeating this fall a conference held last November involving clergy from both denominations. More than two dozen clergy from the Anglican diocese of Athabasca and the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan gathered in November 15, 2017 at Slave Lake, Alta., for a one-day conference, to get acquainted and share thoughts and experiences about doing ministry in Alberta’s north. “We thought it went very well, and I think the clergy found it quite valuable,” says Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca. “I think they appreciated just getting to know one another.”
What’s the role of the deacon in the Church and is it still relevant?
Deacons have been a tradition in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic faith communities since the early days of both churches. Experts debated their future role at the International Anglican-Roman Catholic-Ukrainian Catholic Conference on the Diaconate, held May 10 – 13 at Campion College in Regina.
“It’s a privileged moment to have representatives from different Christian churches, most notably Anglican, Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic, and the Eastern voice, to share their reflection on the diaconate. It will be exciting to watch where the seeds planted here will go,” said Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen, who co-chaired the conference with Anglican Bishop Robert Hardwick.
“I think it will strengthen our ecumenical partnerships,” Hardwick said.
Bolen is co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue sponsored by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and continues to work internationally on Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue.
Among the most vigorous debates at the conference was the role of women.
“I belong to an order of preachers and have done some preaching, but I am not allowed to preach in a Catholic Church,” said Dominican Sister Gloria Marie Jones of Mission San Jose, Calif. Permanent deacons, however, can preach at Mass and administer some sacraments.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has spoken of the danger that “fear of the other” poses to “Christian witness and presence”. Speaking to the General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, meeting in Novi Sad, Serbia, he said that churches working together can help to break down the walls that others seek to build. “The Church breaks across boundaries and frontiers as if they did not exist,” he said. “By being in Christ, I am made one by God in a family that stretches around the world and crosses cultural, linguistic and ecumenical frontiers, driven by the Spirit who breaks down all the walls that we seek to erect.” He began his address by saying that “fear is the greatest danger that afflicts Christian witness and presence.” He added: “It is fear of the other that causes us to put up barriers, whether within churches, between churches and for that matter between nations. It is fear of the Other the causes us to build walls, whether spiritual or physical. It is fear of the Other that leads to divisions and eventually to the fall of civilisations.”
Thousands of Christians from Uganda and neighbouring countries are arriving in Namugongo for special services to commemorate the Ugandan Martyrs. In 3 June 1886, the Kabaka – or King – of Buganda, Mwanga II, killed 32 young Anglicans and Roman Catholic men – who worked as his pages – by burning them alive at Namugongo. They were among 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics who were put to death by the king for refusing to recant their faith between 1885 and 1887.
Yesterday, services were held at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines in Namugongo, led by bishops from both Churches. Other similar events will be held in the coming days, leading up to national commemorations on Sunday.