On Sunday the 26th of January nearly 100 clergy and laity gathered at Saint Helen's Roman Catholic Parish in Burnaby for the first of three sessions entitled 'Meet Your Relatives: Grassroots Ecumenism'. This event has arisen after the clergy of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (Roman Catholic) and the Diocese of New Westminster (Anglican) met for a study day two years ago. The ecumenical officers and committees of the two dioceses were charged with crafting an event for laity and clergy to build upon the success of the clergy day.
After an opening liturgy and refreshments, Dr Christophe Potworowski Professor of Theology at Pacific Redeemer College in Langley and the Rev. Dr Richard Geoffrey Leggett, Rector of Saint Faith's Anglican Church (Vancouver) and Professor Emeritus of Liturgical Studies at Vancouver School of Theology shared their reflections on ecumenism as friendship. Dr Potworowski and Dr Leggett have been meeting for the past several months for lunch to become friends and to begin to discuss both what unites Anglicans and Roman Catholics, what is distinctive about our traditions and what issues continue to divide the two traditions. Their conversations have been based on 'Growing Together in Unity and Mission'
, a statement of the international Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.
After a half-hour conversation moderated by Ms Anne Larochelle of the Ecumenical and Multi-Faith Unit of the Diocese of New Westminster, an opportunity was given for each table to participate in a conversation by responding to three questions
•What attracted you to attend this gathering?
•What was the most important thing you heard today? Why?
•What questions have arisen for you?
Ms Marjeta Bobnar, ecumenical officer of the Archdiocese, and Archdeacon Grant Rodgers, Chair of the Ecumenical Multifaith Unti of the Diocese, brought the gathering to close with the announcement that the second session will be held on Sunday, the 23rd of March 2014, from 2 to 4pm. The proposed location will be Holy Trinity Cathedral (Anglican) in New Westminster.
Stay tuned for more information and for a full feature article on this event in the March issue of Topic the monthly publication of the Diocese of New Westminster.
The preceding report first appeared on the LITURGY PACIFIC BLOGSITE, January 27th, 2014.
Download an audio recording of the OPENING CONVERSATION
Images: Top, the Venerable Grant Rodgers welcomes the participants to the first dialogue session in the Parish hall of St. Helen's Parish, North Burnaby. Homepage and below, Moderator, Anne Larochelle, the Reverend Dr. Richard Leggett and Dr. Christophe Potworowski