I have just returned home from a week in Erfurt, Germany with the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC).
In recognition of the 500th Anniversary of the reformation under Martin Luther, the Commission chose to meet in Erfurt rather than meet in a city that has both Anglicans and Roman Catholics in ministry. Staying at a retreat centre attached to a small convent of Ursuline nuns, we visited the Augustinian monastery and church where Martin Luther took his vows as a monk and saw the chapel where he was ordained a priest.
In a way, the town of Erfurt offered us a snapshot of the current situation for all Christians. We were in the part of Germany, formerly the GDR (East Germany), where the Christian population is only 15% of the total. Lutherans and Roman Catholics are faced with sharing God`s Good News with people who have no knowledge of the Christian faith or scriptures. A church is literally a foreign land. Yet – the church bells ring out strong and clear across the town at many times in the day – a sign of their continuing presence and invitation.
In this town Lutherans and Catholics, whatever the history that lies between them, are friends in witness to the Gospel. They work together and live in harmony. In this town ARCIC continued its work to finalize a document on ecclesiology that will ground further work on discernment of right ethical teaching. Using the method of receptive ecumenism in which we seek to learn from the other, we were surrounded with the signs of the Reformation, ongoing friendship in Christian witness and the perseverance necessary in a world that has lost the story of Christian faith.
That is the reason that Lutherans, Anglicans and Roman Catholics continue in dialogue together through LARC here in our own diocese. We need each other as friends in the Gospel and as partners from whom we can learn. As Lutherans commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are aware that all Christians have been affected by it. We commemorate together what has been learned and changed and grown in the past 500 years.
LARC invites all to share in special events to Commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017.
CLERGY are invited to a day with Dr. Catherine Clifford, ecumenist and theologian from St. Paul`s University – 9:30 .m. – 4 p.m. at Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, Guelph. Cost: $25.00
ALL are invited to a public Ecumenical Service at 7:00 p.m.!!
Pray for our ongoing journey towards Christian unity!
(Photos: Bishop Linda Nicholls)