Fairfield University hosts International Receptive Ecumenism Conference

Image: Paul LakelandA major conference about Receptive Ecumenism bringing together people of different Christian traditions from five continents is getting underway this afternoon at Fairfield University in Fairfield Conn. Receptive Ecumenism aims to develop among many different Christian denominational perspectives. Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and the Orthodox all will be well represented, among other traditions.

Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies is hosting the conference, which is being held from June 9 to June 12, 2014. The third such gathering in the past eight years - and the first in the United States - the conference is entitled, "Receptive Ecumenism in International Perspective: Contextual Ecclesial Learning." It is an invited conference. Attending are more than 100 distinguished religious leaders, activists, and academics - the most international participation to date.

"This conference will press the issue of Receptive Ecumenism in the more complex contexts of global Christian reality and in relation to some of the sharpest issues providing causes of tension and division within and between the traditions," said Paul F. Lakeland, Ph.D., the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield. Dr. Lakeland, an award-winning author, has organized the event jointly with Paul D. Murray, Professor of Systematic Theology at Durham University in the United Kingdom.

In addition to Fairfield University President Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., attendees will include Rev. Dr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator S.J., Provincial of the East African Jesuit Province; Most Rev. David Moxon, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See; and Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary. There will also be representatives from the Vatican, the South Australian Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Harvard University, and Trinity Theological College, Singapore.

Dr. Lakeland said a goal of the conference is to build on the two previous conferences.

"We will be learning from a much more international community that will include people from the global south, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, among other parts of the world," Dr. Lakeland added. "We're pushing the idea for Receptive Ecumenism further than at the other two conferences. Previously, those attending mainly came from Europe, North America and Australia, but this one will be more international."

Plenary sessions include "Church Decision-Making and Receptive Learning;" "Interchurch Families as Privileged Places for and Sacraments of Receptive Ecumenical Learning," and "Receptive Ecumenism and International Structures and Processes."

This conference is sponsored by generous grants from The Raskob Foundation, Fairfield University, the Episcopal Church and an anonymous donor. Additional assistance is provided by the Anglican Communion Office, the Commission for Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, and the Institute for Church Life of the University of Notre Dame.


Image: Paul F. Lakeland, Ph.D., Director of Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies and the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 9, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 321

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