From 29 August to 2 September in Neustadt/Weinstrasse, Germany close to 50 scholars from the Old Catholic and Anglican Churches gathered for a conference on "Ecclesiology and Mission in Today's Europe". Papers were presented on aspects of the nature of the Church (ecclesiology), the way the Church lives her life in obedience to Our Lord's mandate (missiology), and the challenges for Christians and Christian identity in modern Europe.
In addition, some participants presented their own current areas of research. Among those was the Revd Mark Collinson, the Area Dean of the Netherlands, and the Chaplain of Christ Church, Amsterdam (pictured above). Mark shared his work under the theme "Making a Dwelling in Europe", in which he is exploring some aspects of the Anglican presence on the European Continent. Mark raises some challenges for our Church as to how we can be more incarnational in our life and mission, expressing more fully our connection to the local countries and contexts where we are ministering. Among the questions he poses is "should we be promoting a more indigenous leadership?" We are sure to hear more from Mark on this theme!
The conference also discussed a draft statement which has been prepared by the Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council (AOCICC) entitled "Belonging Together in Europe". This statement seeks to deepen our understanding of the nature and implications of the 1931 Bonn Agreement which established "Full Communion" between the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. "Belonging Together in Europe" will be finalised at the AOCICC meeting this November in York and then submitted to the authorities of both Communions for evaluation. The AOCICC hopes that it will point towards ways that Anglicans and Old Catholics can make our relationship of "full communion" more visible and help us to express together our common task and mandate to proclaim the Gospel.
(Photos are courtesy of the Revd Dr Peter Feenstra)