By Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier
The National Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, coined ARC Canada, has begun exploring a new document entitled Walking Together on the Way – Learning to Be Church Local, Regional, Global.
ARC Canada’s mandate is to bring the Agreements and Study documents produced by ARCIC (Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission) to our Canadian context and find ways to share the gifts and insights in these texts with the people in our parishes as well as our local pastoral leadership. ARC Canada’s most recent project, completed last year, was an innovative collection of stories featuring lived Anglican/Roman Catholic experiences in Canada which was published online at https://churchesindialogue.ca/en/newstoriestotell
The new document Walking Together is unique in at least a couple of ways.
One, it is the longest, most substantial text ARCIC has produced in its 50-plus years of work. It also tackles the most complex and most contentious questions between our two traditions, i.e. the governance and authority structures in our two communions, with its respective processes of decision-making.
There is much that we agree on in matters of faith. The most visible and salient differences between Anglicans and RC’s reside in the governance and authority structures. Delicate and challenging as it was, ARCIC III has done incredibly important work in this new text which merits our utmost attention and engagement.
Two, Walking Together is the first ecumenical document that applies the methodology of Receptive Ecumenism, a concept that originated with the Roman Catholic theologian Paul Murray. Whereas traditional ecumenical dialogues would engage from a place of “this is what we do best in our church and you need this in yours.” Receptive Ecumenism reverses the question: “What are we lacking in our tradition that is much better developed/done in yours and that we can learn from?” Walking Together is illustrating how radically this can change the tone and direction of the conversation, providing new avenues for engagement.
In order to bring this significant document to the prairies, a modest study group has been formed of ecumenically-minded Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Saskatchewan.
The 20-plus participants come from Regina, Saskatoon, Fort Qu’Appelle, Humboldt, Muenster, North Battleford, Rosthern, and Kenaston.
The group is equally divided between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, including both clergy and lay representatives. The group calls itself SaskARC and was formed at the personal initiative of the two Anglican ARC Canada members from the prairies, Rev. Dr. Iain Luke and Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier.
At a recent meeting the group elected Abbot Peter Novecosky as its Roman Catholic co-chair. All Saskatchewan bishops (Anglican, Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic) have been informed of the group’s existence and have been invited to contribute input, prayers and direction.
To date the SaskARC group has met three times. Meetings include learning about the history of Anglican—Roman Catholic relations and dialogue, and beginning to explore Walking Together.
The large membership is deliberate, in order to accommodate life’s interruptions which can prevent attendance while still having a good group composition for each meeting. Participation via video-conferencing is a possible future avenue, and written reflections/responses are also welcomed.
The document Walking Together can be accessed online at https://iarccum.org/archive/ARCIC3/2018-05-21_arcic-iii_walking-together-on-the-way_en.pdf
The SaskARC group remains open to new participants. Those who are interested are asked to e-mail Rev. Marie-Louise Ternier at firstname.lastname@example.org