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Sacraments and Mission the focus of 4th Porvoo Theological Conference: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012, p 6. December 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland.

The interplay between sacraments and Christian mission was the focus of last month’s meeting of the 4th Theological Conference of the Porvoo Communion of Churches hosted by the Church of Denmark.

Conference presentations focused on the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, making the church itself a sign to the world of the Kingdom of God. Canon Paul Avis offered a keynote address on Baptism that dealt with the essential identity of the church, which comes from God in word and sacrament and is an instrument of the mission of God. The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Michael Jackson offered a paper also on the Eucharist as a sacrament of unity and mission in Christ.

In light of the papers on Baptism and Eucharist, the delegates examined the place of the sacraments in light of declining Christian confidence in a multicultural, multifaith and increasingly secularised Europe.

Delegates noted that the church was now working within a culture where many people were estranged from the Christian faith or had no contact with the church.  This led to situations where some who had not been baptised sought to receive Holy Communion, they noted, raising questions of whether the sacraments should be seen as a tool for mission.

The delegates adopted a closing statement highlighting the the vital link between sacraments and mission, “since sacraments are the life blood of the church, and mission is the core mandate of the church.”

Representing the Church of England were Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, Dean Frances Ward, Canon Robin Ward, Dr Rachel Jordan, Bishop Martin Wharton and the Rev. Leslie Nathaniel, Canon Nigel Lloyd, and Canon Avis.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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