International Reformed Anglican Dialogue
The Chair of the International Reformed Anglican Dialogue Elizabeth Welch, from the UK, reports on its' meeting in August:
"The International Reformed–Anglican Dialogue (IRAD) between the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Anglican Communion 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."