This statement by one stream of our American counterparts could well be embraced by us here at Wembley Downs.
A fascinating, if brief taxonomy, that surely has counterparts amongst the vast spectrum of theists. Although running the usual risk of “boxing” people in rather than focusing on engagement in open conversations, such categorising can, ironically, help guard against simplistic assumptions.
Theologies confessed conservative and progressive views.
Ancestries bore Asian, Anglo-Saxon, Indigenous and Middle Eastern perspectives.
Close to one hundred delegates gathered from city and country, together with observers and invited guests.
Daily worship drew on the full range of traditions present and held all together.
Conversations were honest, bold and respectful, enabling discernment between converging positions and a mutual holding of divergent viewpoints.
This eclectic gathering of leaders from Anglican, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Uniting Church and other Christian bodies set the agenda for the next three years of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
Amongst some significant decisions were:
- the addition of the priority of peacemaking as a core ecumenical activity
- support for the recognition of indigenous peoples in the Australian Constitution
- the launch of a combined churches Refugee Action task force
- support and cooperation for the Royal Commission into institutional sexual abuse and support for continuing work in establishing accountability, safety, welcome and healing in general church life.
- ongoing work in talking with stakeholders and government in working towards a peaceful solution re Palestine-Israel
These few details will be filled out as fuller reports appear on the NCCA site.
I attended this forum wearing four hats: a Churches of Christ delegate, state Council of Churches observer, minister of a local church that has been driven by a strong ecumenical vision and a wondering pilgrim. It was a delight to discover I could wear them all at the same time. It was with some parochial pride that I listened to the words of Dr Michael Kinnamon, keynote speaker and prominent ecumenical and Disciples leader, as he succinctly and eloquently summed up the opportunities and challenges for churches working, speaking and being one today. Far too many thoughts to jot down here as I wait to fly out to Adelaide – but watch this space!