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  • December 22, 2005

    Just an update on the good things going on in the Consortium these days:

    The Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches unanimously endorsed the Joint Statement on Love for the Poor written by the Consortium Faculty Group:

    • Dr. Shaun Casey of Wesley
    • Dr. Eric Crump of Gettysburg
    • Dr. Katherine Grieb of VTS
    • Dr. Beverly Mitchell of Wesley
    • Dr. Ann Riggs of Faith and Order and Catholic University, and
    • Dr. John Crossin of the Consortium

    The Statement can be downloaded from the Home Page of the National Council, www.ncccusa.org. The supporting Book of Essays will be published by Paulist Press in 2006. The Group presented its work at the Faculties’ Convocation at the Howard University School of Divinity in Northeast Washington on September 26–some 90 faculty members were in attendance.

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    The Consortium Ethics Group sponsored a luncheon on November 9 for faculty interested in thinking about next steps on Love for the Poor. Faculty and representatives of the Bread for the World non-profit organization met at Wesley Theological Seminary in Northeast Washington. The Group thinks that an educational strategy—both non-partisan ecumenical education for members of Congress and their staffs and internal seminary education are necessary. Bread for the World is willing to discuss partnering for this.

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    The Arts Group of the Consortium began with a planning discussion initiated by John Farina of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University in September, 2004. The talks led to plans for two Consortium Events in the Arts and Religion.

    • The first took place Tuesday evening, October 18 at the Shakespeare Theater’s performance of Othello. Over forty people from the Friends of the Consortium, Woodstock Theological Center and Virginia Theological Seminary attended the pre-performance lecture by Dr. Roger Ferlo of VTS and Patrick Page–Iago–of the Shakespeare Theater.
    • The second event is scheduled for March 14 at 7 p.m., at the Virginia Theological Seminary. A lecture on Theological Aesthetics by Dr. Peter Casarella of Catholic University will be followed by a String Quartet performance. A panel discussion featuring John Farina, Angel Gil-Ordonez and others will round out the evening.

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    “Evolutionary Emergence and Divine Causality” was the title of a lunchtime talk given by Dr. Harold Morowitz of George Mason University at Washington Theological Union on Friday, Nov. 4. The November public lecture is an annual event sponsored by the Consortium’s Science and Religion Faculty Group, the Montgomery County Science and Religion Group, and the Local Societies Initiative Project of the Metanexus Institute.

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    The Student Board conducted its first annual Ecumenism Essay Contest during the Fall semester. Response was very good for the innaugural with 21 complete entries. The winners will be announced after the holidays, most likely at the end of January. Winners will present their papers on Consortium campuses in the Spring semester.

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    Fr. Crossin will offer a course on Spiritual Ecumenism at VTS, January 9th to 13th from 2 to 5 PM (1.5 credits.) Looking ahead to Summer Session, he will offer the Introduction to Practical Ecumenism at WTU from June 5 to 16 from 9:00 to 11:30. Both classes are open to any interested Consortium student.

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    Consortium Leaders are working to plan the National Workshop on Christian Unity, which is set for Washington from January 30 to February 2, 2007. John Crossin, Consortium Board Chairman Rev. Thomas Prinz, and Dr. Mitzi Budde of VTS have been serving on the planning committee. Students, Faculty and Friends will be welcome to attend this outstanding annual ecumenical event. Plans are also being made to increase student attendance.

    What the above events show most of all is the Consortium’s committed orientation towards collaboration, both as a necessary aspect of any large project, as an expression of practical ecumenism. Ecumenism, in the end, is about worshipping together. How do we reach this goal? From what I’ve seen so far in my time here, the Consortium’s answer is that we make steps in the direction of Christian unity every day, by studying and working together.