Christian Unity since Vatican II - Memory, Present, Where Now?

Unity since Vat II picChurches Together in Westminster, in conjunction with The Society for Ecumenical Studies, hosted a day conference last Saturday, 15 November 2014 at Farm Street Jesuit Centre, London. The conference was sponsored by the Catholic League. Six speakers explored the impact that Vatican II has had on Christian unity.

Memory

Jack Valero, from Opus Dei in Britain and a founder member of Catholic Voices, explained that Vatican II was a very significant milestone in the history of ecumenism for the Catholic Church.  Following this,Canon Prof Nicholas Sagovsky, University lecturer and writer on ecumenism, and ARCIC III member, examined the enormous importance of Vatican II not only for Catholics, but for Christians of all traditions.

Present

Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England, looked at the effects increasing secularisation and successive waves of immigration have had on England’s churches and on ecumenism. The picture now is far more complex than it was fifty years ago.

Drawing on her considerable experience of Student Cross and church action on housing and homelessness, Alison Gelder, Chief Executive of Housing Justice, explored how denominations and individual congregations are working together and some of the ecumenical barriers and challenges they encounter.

Where now?

Revd Archimandrite Nikodemos Anagnostopoulos, Orthodox priest and lecturer, looked to the future from an Orthodox perspective on Vatican II’s ecumenical significance and on the Declarations on Religious Freedom and Ecumenism, stressing the importance of this year’s meeting of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. 

In conclusion

A closing summary of the day was given by the writer, radio contributor, and former Canon Precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Revd Lucy Winkett, who is currently Rector of St James’s Piccadilly.

The conference ended with Vespers in Farm Street Church. Fr Dominic Robinson sj, the Revd Canon Lucy Winkett and the Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch presided.


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