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One Church, indivisible: Aimee's blog from Crete

Once every five years or so, a group of about 120 men and women, pastors, laypersons, academics, and church leaders get together to talk about the issues that still divide the churches. It's called the Faith and Order Plenary Commission, and its next meeting will take place at the Orthodox Academy of Crete, Greece, 7-13 October 2009.oac

This year, I've been invited to go. 

And I'm writing a blog.


The Big Crete Meeting

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We are the church

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

In the past 24 hours, I’ve met dozens of new and old friends: Janet from Belfast, Christian from Hamburg, Lucy from Nairobi, Alfred from Paraguay, Bruce from Quebec, Odair from Brazil, Nevell from Florida. It’s always such a privilege to be in an international setting and to connect with people from all over the world. It makes the earth seem somehow a lot bigger and a lot smaller at the same time.

We just heard an address by His All Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch. I posted about him earlier. It turns out this is a Big Deal for Crete – like having a papal audience. Bartholomew came with a host of police and secret service types (they even had those little ear buds with the curly cord running down their backs), news cameras, and a lot of Orthodox priests dressed to the nines. I’ll try to post some photos of the various liturgical garb later.

Bartholomew has been a long supporter of ecumenism and the unity of the church, and his address was great. As I mentioned, he's known as the Green Patriarch for his environmentalism. “We must never forget that the world is inherited,” he said. “It is a gift from above, offered as a means of communion with God.”

We were also asked to pray for the next round of Roman Catholic/Orthodox dialogue in Cyprus, which will deal with the thorny issue of papal and patriarchate authority (otherwise known as “who’s in charge?”). These questions - which have kept the churches separated for 1,000 years - won’t be solved quickly or easily.

But it’s nice to know even if it takes a thousand years, we can and do look back at our past (the word repent, by the way, means “to turn around”) and do what we can to make amends. Praise God that in Christ, there is always, always the chance to start life anew.

Comments Comments

Jack Treacy SJ said on Oct 7, 2009
Hi Aimee, We are supporting you and all those who participate in the conference with our rpayers from Santa Clara University. As our university gathers for the Mass of the Holy Spirit today, I'll be holding you in my heart and rpayers. Blessings! Jack
Irene said on Oct 7, 2009
That's awesome. I am glad you're experiencing something like that and being reunited with folks. I, on the other hand (if you want my mini-update) am currently waiting for more ords to grade and just sitting here until they tell me we can go home. We were super efficient and will finish early. WOOHOO!
Becca said on Oct 7, 2009
Hi Aimee - thanks for doing this! Here's my question: What does the future of the christian church look like? How will it hold the boomers' focus on the inward journey, generation x - only interested in the practical, and the millennials - driven by creating community?
rachel said on Oct 7, 2009
yay! ask christian from hamburg if he was at an Euro Youth Ecumenical thing in Strasbourg in 2003/2004. : ) have a great meeting - i'll be thinking of you!
Aimee said on Oct 8, 2009
Becca - your question is the right one to be asking...and gets even more complicated in a global context where the booomer/gen x/millenial categories don't always apply, or apply in different ways. For example, the question of the future of the church is different in places where the church is still connected to the state, like in Greece or England or Germany. In places where the church is not always free to practice its faith, or is a significant minority, the questions are different still. How do we hang on to tradition while responding to modern concerns and issues? How do we learn anew from our history, from our mistakes, from our moments of grace? So I'm not answering your question...but I'll do what I can to paint pictures from around the world, and maybe they can give us some ideas for the church in the U.S...
Bud F said on Oct 8, 2009
Aimee.. how gracious it is for you to be among those from around the world seeking to find those bit of commonality for encouragement.. as you meet these sisters and brothers of faith. I'm reminded of the wide diversity among Jesus' own 12... some of whom I'm sure did not hold "fine views" of each other, or as Dick Rohbaugh said, "they probably hated each other's guts".. those on the left and the right..the workers with fish and the egg heads or taxing their sisters/brothers for their own gain... oh how I would hope that we could realize the fact Jesus even chose his betrayer... We don't have to be same, just equal because of His faith in us! May you find rest and renewal in the curve of His smile, Bud
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