Christian Unity and Dialogue
International Reformed–Anglican Dialogue Communique 2018
The International Reformed–Anglican Dialogue (IRAD) between the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Anglican Communion has met for the fourth time, between 24 and 30 August 2018. IRAD met at Vancouver School of Theology, Vancouver, Canada, under the leadership of Co–Chairs: the Revd Elizabeth Welch (WCRC) and the Rt Revd Howard Gregory (Anglican Communion).
This bilateral dialogue, the first that the Anglican and Reformed Communions have had globally since 1984, which then led to the report God’s Reign and Our Unity, was mandated to take as its theme a study of the nature of communion (koinonia) and the pressing issues which emerge for both Communions out of such reflection. Preparations for this round of the Dialogue consisted of work on a first draft of a report which drew on the many and rich contributions received in earlier rounds around the mandated theme.
The scope of the theme is both exciting and challenging. Koinonia is adopted within the New Testament to push in a number of ways the commonality of inheritance and calling through faith. It introduces both experiences of blessing (with potential for more) and at the same time a keen, and at times immensely painful, realisation of the distance yet to be travelled – since exclusions and partisanship are forever re–forming. In the Canadian context, the loss of koinonia with the land and creation as well as between peoples was an acute reality being borne witness to. But still, by the working of the Holy Spirit, there was witness to healing and new horizons of hope. As the Dialogue worked on this first draft of a report, a tripartite structure was discerned, namely where does koinonia come from? How has it been embodied? And how can koinonia shape the priorities of church and world?
As at earlier meetings of the Dialogue (Kochi, India, 2015; Cambridge, UK, 2016; Durban, South Africa, 2017), the local context gave both welcome and necessary insights to the substantial issues under discussion. In Vancouver, we were welcomed with a ceremony of the Musqueam people on whose land we were meeting, and we also heard memories and experiences of church leaders from Cree and Gitxsan First Nations. The Canadian churches continue a journey from colonial oppression of indigenous people toward reconciliation. On Sunday, IRAD attended a worship service at The Longhouse Council of Native Ministry of the United Church of Canada in eastend Vancouver, a ministry that includes indigenous persons. We were also joined by the Co–Chairs of the Canadian Anglican Church of Canada—United Church of Canada Dialogue, who attended as observers throughout the week.
The Dialogue opened with a celebration of Holy Communion in the Reformed tradition and closed with a celebration of Holy Communion in the Anglican tradition. The members of the Dialogue prayed together mornings and evenings. This fourth round of the Dialogue was generously hosted by the World Communion of Reformed Churches. The hospitality of Vancouver School of Theology was greatly appreciated.
The next IRAD meeting is scheduled at the end of August 2019 in Hiroshima, Japan.
The Rt Revd Howard Gregory, The Church in the Province of the West Indies
Dr Clint Le Bruyns, The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Revd Dr James Hawkey, The Church of England
The Revd Prof Dr Renta Nishihara, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Communion in Japan)
The Revd Helene T Steed, The Church of Ireland
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut (Co–Secretary)
The Revd Neil Vigers, Anglican Communion Office
The Revd Elizabeth Welch, United Reformed Church (UK)
The Revd Dr Peter Donald, Church of Scotland
The Revd Professor Priscille Djomhoué, Eglise Protestante Unie de Belgique
The Revd Professor Roderick Hewitt, Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
The Revd Professor R Gerald Hobbs, United Church of Canada
The Revd Aimee Moiso, Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Dr Royce M Victor, Church of South India
The Revd Dr Hanns Lessing (Co–Secretary)
Miss Eri Yoon, WCRC intern
The Revd C. Nolan Huizenga (Minutes)
The Revd Dr Sandra Beardsall, United Church of Canada
The Revd Lynne McNaughton, Anglican Church of Canada