CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 1 December 2018

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Catholic and Methodist dialogue commission meets in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (SE): The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, formed by representatives of the World Methodist Council and the Catholic Church, met in Hong Kong from October 12 to 19 for the second time to look into the ministry of reconciliation and the unity of different Christian denominations. 
 
The second plenary meeting, hosted by the World Methodist Council with support from the Methodist Church in Hong Kong, took place at Wesleyan House in Wanchai.
 
Of the 16 members of the commission, eight were from the Methodist Council, while the others were from the Catholic Church. 
 
A number of papers addressing specific aspects of reconciliation had been commissioned during the first meeting in 2017. These were taken up for further discussion this time. 
 
The commission deliberated on subjects such as what the Bible says about reconciliation, the ministry of reconciliation in Churches worldwide and what the Methodist and the Catholic Churches have done to contribute to the unity of the Church. 
 
The gathering decided on preparing a preliminary draft of the report for presentation and discussion in next year’s plenary meeting. 
 
The joint commission will meet at the Mariapolis (Focolare) Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11 to 18 October 2019, hosted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The final report will be presented to the meeting of the World Methodist Council in Gothenburg, Germany, in 2021.
 
The commission members attended a Saturday Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Wanchai, on October 13, and a worship service on Sunday, October 14, at the Methodist International Church, Wanchai.
 
After the meeting on October 18, the commission held a seminar on the report of their first meeting titled, The Call to Holiness: From Glory to Glory. The Methodist co-chairperson, Reverend David Chapman, said that both the Catholic and Methodist Churches have the same need for evangelisation among the Hong Kong population where Christians are a minority and it is important for both to have dialogue and work on ecumenism.
 
Bishop John Sherrington, the Catholic co-chairperson and the auxiliary bishop of Westminster, the United Kingdom, said theological dialogue between Catholics and Methodists enables deeper understanding of the Doctrine of Justification, which is another achievement after the Catholic Church the Lutheran World Federation signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification in 1999
 
Reverend Lam Sung-che, chairperson of the Methodist Church in Hong Kong, told Kung Kao Po that, while theological dialogue can be difficult for lay people, they can communicate with the faithful from other Christian denominations during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity every January and through the forums in different Churches.
 
Pope Francis met with leaders of the World Methodist Council in October last year to mark the 50 years of dialogue between the Catholic Church and the council. 
 
During the meeting, the pope honoured the founder of the Methodist movement, 18th century preacher John Wesley, whose example of holiness brought many people to Christ. 
 
He said the work of the Holy Spirit in other Christian denominations could also help people grow closer to God.

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