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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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Friday recap

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

Today we heard five presentation from theologians around the world. Some highlights:

  • a teacher from Finland told of the students in her religion classes, who, steeped in pluralism, wonder why they should be concerned about church unity. "Aren't difference, diversity and independent thought things we should value in Christianity?" they ask
  • a pastor from the Episcopal church in Cuba shared stories of the church's work to connect with and learn from practioners of local traditional religions. A community leader told her that she believes Afro-Cuban traditions were the way God spoke to her ancestors in Africa, and for her that is the same God she now worships in the Episcopal church
  • a Catholic sister from Hong Kong reminded us that Christianity, though born in Asia, "is still today regarded in most Asian countries as a 'foreign import,' and that Christian churches are still looked upon as 'bonsai-churches,' trees planted from abroad and still growing in borrowed pots"
  • a Presbyterian professor from South Africa recounted the painful story of churches divided by apartheid and their struggle for reunion that still continues today - though the split over race is not even ecumenical but within the Presbyterian family in South Africa
  • an Orthodox Metropolitan expressed his belief that unity of the Church will be achieved only through repentance, humility and return to our common roots - though it is hard to say which roots all these bodies would consider "common"

I don't have time for commentary on all these presentations, but suffice it to say the global church is fascinating in its breadth and desire to be faithful in each time and place. All the presentations were designed to get us thinking about our own contributions to the unity of the church - as well as, perhaps, our own need for repentance and renewal. 

Tomorrow, we break into our small groups to tackle the issues of authority and moral discernment.

Comments Comments

angela said on Oct 10, 2009
Beautiful word pictures of these different world views. Thanks for putting this all down--I like knowing more about what's happening in the Body that is the world.
Bud F said on Oct 11, 2009
Aimee.. how wonderful to be exposed to the wide variety of views of faith within the Christian community even though the other religious beliefs or non-beliefs are not represented in a Christian context. I well remember Lenore's work with SOAR and the multitude of different expressions both of Christian and non-Christian faith she experienced. But through those literally thousands of refugees from all over the world, what they shared was their humanness as parts of God's wonderful plan for diversity. There are times when some of the expressions of Christian faith causes me to tremble in the awkwardness of their positions.. i.e. "Pastor you have to have speaking in tongues" - similar to yours... but then Lenore took me to a glossolaia speaking Romanian church for a service... made me set aside some of my pre-conceptions. Continue your exceptional journey through all its waters..or lack there of at appropriate "hungry times".... bud
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