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A minor


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Princeton Proposal for Christian Unity, pp 48-50:

55. Against the present lack of reciprocity of membership and ministry, we urge the following steps. We envision two very different situations: where agreements of full communion are in place [as is the case between e.g. the ECUSA and the ELCA -jon], and where full communion does not exist [as is the case between e.g. Auburn Avenue and Grace Church in Monroe -jon]. In the first instance, church leaders in each place should work to implement existing agreements. In order to promote common ministry, lay members should be encouraged to worship and serve in congregations in partner denominations. Among ordained clergy, churches should identify a ministry of unity [emphasis mine], and seminary training should intentionally prepare ministers to work in partner churches. In the second instance, where theological agreements is only partial and no authorized reciprocity of membership and ministry exists, congregations of separated Christians should pray for one another [as is done by, among other churches, Trinity Reformed in Moscow and Auburn Avenue in Monroe -jon]. When baptism is mutually recognized, this should be plain in the manner of its administration. The ecumenical vocation of married couples from separated communions should be acknowledged and supported by the churches. [Interesting idea, huh? Does this necessarily involve a breach of marital headship? I don't think so, at least not the way it's framed here, but I'd be interested in your thoughts. -jon]. When full communion does not exist, churches from separated communions should acknowledge and support special vocations for the sake of unity [again, my emphasis]. God may call lay and ordained members of one church to sustained participation in the life and mission of separated churches, even if sacramental communion is not possible for a time. Such vocations do not deny real theological differences or disrespect canonical order but rather are a call to endure separation as a discipline which sharpens passion for unity. Such sacrifice is perhaps possible only for a few, and it will certainly take many forms, often partial and hidden. The churches should seek to identify and champion these vocations as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the divided churches.
I am very interested in this idea of "ecumenical vocations." If only my church(es) were zealous about "identifying and championing these vocations"...and if I were identified as someone fit for such a vocation...God, I'd love to do it. In the meantime I hope to be able to encourage such an interest in my church(es) and to find and be encouraged by other orthodox churches that already "acknowledge and support special vocations for the sake of unity."

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