Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Cardinal Dew

This is a busy time for many churches. Here Down Under it is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (disunitedly observed in January by the Northern Hemisphere!!). It is also the period, between Ascension and Pentecost of #ThyKingdomCome, a burgeoning movement of prayer and missional action for God's Kingdom to ... Come!

Today I want to concentrate on praying for Christian Unity, a prayer our Lord himself prayed (John 17). The other day I came across this lovely encouragement from Cardinal John Dew of the Catholic Church in NZ and Archbishop of Wellington.


Message for parish bulletins for Ascension Sunday

Dear friends

As we gather in our parish each weekend for Mass other Christians are gathering in churches in our area for their Sunday worship. They are our neighbours, friends, people we meet in the supermarket, perhaps even our relatives.

We gather separately because of events that happened centuries ago. We have moved on from wars among Christians, hostility and bitterness, to respecting one another and being able to honestly acknowledge the many things we have in common – at the heart of which is our shared belief in Jesus Christ.

We have also found many practical ways to work together for the common good of our community.

The feast of the Ascension this weekend marks the beginning of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which extends until Pentecost Sunday next weekend.

It is a time to reflect upon how we each might do some small thing for Christian unity, prayer, reaching out to someone from another Christian church, contributing to food banks supported jointly by churches, taking part in an ecumenical service.

Nothing is too small in the work of promoting Christian unity. We are restoring that fractured unity piece by piece, and each of us has one or more of the pieces to put in place.

John A Cardinal Dew
Archbishop of Wellington
Catholic Bishops Committee for Ecumenism"


Father Ron Smith said...

What is most interesting, Peter, on this thread, is the FACT that there is more energy on the part of other Churches to be 'at one' with each other, than there appears to be withn the different factors of our own Anglican Church in Aotearoa/New Zealand. A sad commentary on what appears to many of us to be a non-First Order doctrinal dispute.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter; I perceive that we Romans are far more interested in the universal church than Protestants or Orthodox. It could be said for example that Anglicans are adventurous on modern secular causes célèbres, but very 16th century on small steps such as addressing the minor step (James) between salvation by works/grace. The Orthodox outside Constantinople seem obsessed with episcopal jurisdiction which saved no soul. We Romans have our own problems, but we do at least consider the rest of you as brothers and sisters. The lack of comment here is truly remarkable. Archbishops Dew and Richardson have made several public appearances and have sung from the same song sheet. Does no one in Down Under land know or care?


Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Nck. I just can't lert you get away with your last comment. How is separation from one another at the Mass a sign of 'sister/brotherhood' when this Celebration is the premier sign of unity of all the baptized?

Cameron said...

Hello Fr.Ron. Many in ACANZP HAVE poured a great deal of energy (and prayer) in the direction of unity recently. Ask the Bishop who took from his sick bed to film a message for General Synod calling for as much. Or the 'conservative' Vicar who has not taken a day off in 4 months as she travels to various groups explaining the attempts of ACANZP's Working Group to maintain unity. Or the Working Group chair who alongside Deaning a Semniary, chairing a school board, and teaching NZ Chruch history at University level, has hardly been at home as he met and re-met... Who for the sake of unity, moved a motion at GS he probably felt was far from personally perfect.

It seems a FACT unity has been quite what ACANZP has been about for a while now. Lovely letter from RC's and it's noble sentiments aside, are you not perhaps being unfair. Not only to those alluded to above, but the many, many, who like you and I, have poured our prayers out to God for unity? Surely these are 'reaching out' actions worthy of Cardinal Dew's commission. 

Peter Carrell said...

Dear All
1. Thank you that there are comments. This is an important matter!
2. Fair enough to express our differences over unity and the quantity and quality of it hereabouts, but let us not become disunited over unity :).
3. I understand that we are sisters and brothers in Christ, Anglicans and Roman Catholics and other Christians. That we do not share the eucharist is (effectively) due to differences in understanding between us in the one family of God; differences we yearn to overcome, just as sisters and brothers may yearn to share Christmas together but recognise the need to overcome differences in order to do so (whether those are geographical or relational).
4. As Cameron alludes to, we Anglicans are currently in the extraordinary situation of wondering whether we are becoming more disunited over a matter which should not and need not divide us; as indeed we saw at GS when Polynesia stated its strong disagreement with blessings and its even stronger attachment to our church!

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, Peter and Cameron, for your comments on what, for me, is the most vitally important quest in the Body of Christ today - always was and always will be. In the immortal words of Jesus' prayer: "Father, that they may be one, as you and I are one - I in you and you in me".

The perception barrier - unfortunately - between many of us may be our basic mis-understanding of the sacrament of the Eucharist, which Jesus identified in Scripture "This is my Body; this is my Blood." and; "(He) who eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise (him) up on the Last Day". This 'Eucharist' - a ritual Thanksgiving for the 'Presence of Christ' amongst his disciples in the Holy Communion - may, sadly, not be recognised by some for what Jesus meant it to be: an earnest of our UNITY in Christ - an outward and visible sign of the mystical Body of Christ in the world.

I truly believe that; when each member of the Body of Christ takes full heed of the spiritual vitality of their Baptismal and Eucharistic empowerment for ministry; the Church will once again become salt and light in our needy world - rather than being more concerned for those second order peripheral matters that may have their proper place for overall discernment, but which can be left to God for evaluation, in God's way; through God's Love and by God's perfect and just judgement in God's time. That discernment, I sincerely believe, will only fully be brought into being for each and every person through their experience of the Love of God in Word and Sacrament. This is why the individual conscience is precious for God. Each is an individual child of God - loved and redeemed by God. The Church's task is to encourage that belief - in the God "Who so loved the world......." - with an unfathomable grace and power.

I suspect that our disunity stems from a reduction by some in evaluating the power available in and through the Christ-ordained Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist - given expressly by Jesus to keep us together in unity. Words from the pulpit - useful for teaching as they may be - can never replace the empowerment of a loving, believing reception (and due acknowledgement) of the transforming power of the 2 sacraments that are basic to our membership of Christ's Dody - The Church.

At this time when we celebrate the renewing power of the Holy Sirit at Pentecost, I pray that the Holy Spirit may refresh all Christians through the ministries of Word and Sacrament, remembering that the Word (Christ) had to become flesh in time and space, and has to be sacramentally renewed in us all in order to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to ALL - not just the 'righteous' among us.

"Come, Holy Spirit, renew in your faithful the fire of your love, Alleluia". AMEN

Lord Jesus Christ, you are risen and glorified, Alleluia!". You have sent your Holy Spirit into the world to empower us for ministry, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"For centuries male celibates have described, expressed, and celebrated their love of God in the language of sex, most prolifically and characteristically in a thousand years' commentarial tradition on the Song of Songs. After analysing the tradition, its logic and its imagery, Turner provides translations of commentaries by Gregory the Great, Alcuin of York, Hugh of Saint Victor, William of Saint-Thierry, Alan of Lille, Thomas of Perseigne, Thomas Galus, Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Nicholas of Lyra, Denys the Carthusian, and John of the Cross."


Andrei said...

It is all a show in any case - the American "all you need is love" preacher has now been upstaged by an electric E-Type Jaguar, a virtue signaling accessory for the glitterati.

Meanwhile in the real world the humble plastic bag so useful for stowing babies soiled nappies and used "wet wipes" is disappearing - not that will matter for Harry and Megan, they will have a nanny to deal with the logistics of any pooey babies they have

Anonymous said...

Cranky, but still interesting for the news content--


Andrei said...

'This time the disputants are the bishops themselves. Munich’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx and other German bishops seek to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive communion under certain conditions, so long as they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist.”'

Seems sensible to me Bowman

My own children were theoretically not in communion with one another until 2006 or so because some were baptised in the ROC and others into ROCCOR depending on where we lived when they were born

And I have seen other "irregularities" over the years in this regard.

The important thing is recieving communion in the right spirit because to receive in the wrong spirit is dangerous for your immortal soul

I would normally discuss it with the Priest before receiving in a new Church in any case and that is a requirement of this proposal as it reads - the affirmation business.

I am not for admistering Communion willy nilly to everyone as happens in Protestant Churches but this is an area where the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law is applicable I think