Ecumenism Lives at Figel Address
For those who think Ecumenism is waning, they should have been with us last Thursday night at the Washington Theological Union. A truly ecumenical community of 70 plus gathered for the Prayer Service for Christian Unity at Washington Theological Union, followed by the Consortium Ecumenism Award and Figel address, given by Dr. Margaret O’Gara of the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Students from the Consortium Student Board planned and beautifully lead the Prayer Service, which featured a wonderful homily by Fr. James Gardiner of the Graymoor Friars, who founded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity over 100 years ago. During the service, two students were recognized for completing the Certificate in Ecumenism: Amy Feira of Luther Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, and Desiree Kameka, of Wesley Theological Seminary.
Dr. O’Gara gave an outstanding address, which focused on the mutual gifts received by churches who are involved in bilateral dialogues, which she framed as “Dialogues of Transformation.” This theologically rich and well documented account of how various communions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Mennonite, Anglican and Disciples–have corrected misunderstandings, exchanged gifts, and explored new forms of mission and authority was inspiring and hope-giving. Dr. O’Gara decades of personal experience and scholarship were apparent, and requisite for getting past significant impasses–like misunderstandings of Eucharistic tradition or understandings of grace–and forging new levels of understanding and at times consensus. The address will be available on the WTC website soon. Our thanks to Jack Figel who makes all this possible!