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Anglican-Baptist conversations in London begin 5-year process


WASHINGTON (BP)–The first of what is expected to be a five-year period of conversations between the Baptist World Alliance and the Anglican Consultative Council located in England was held at London’s Norwich Cathedral from Sept. 21-24.

The Baptist team was led by Tony Cupit, BWA director of study and research. The panel of Baptist leaders addressed such topics as Baptist life in Europe and baptism during the meeting.

The talks are the result of decisions of the BWA General Council and the Anglican’s Lambeth Conference in 1998 to hold such discussions.

The objectives, according to a BWA news release, are:

— to enable Anglicans and Baptists to learn from each other and to deepen mutual understanding of the relationships between the communions in the light of their histories.

— to share with each other the understandings of the faith and to work towards a common confession of the Apostolic Faith;

— to identify issues of doctrine and of the nature of the Church to be explored further in possible future conversations;

— to look for ways to co-operate in mission and community activities and increase fellowship and common witness to the Gospel.

“It is clear,” Cupit said, “that Baptists and Anglicans speak a different language. But the whole purpose of these conversations is to see what we have in common and how that can be used to further the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

As they look ahead, the meetings will be held in Asia, Africa the Caribbean and the United States and on each continent will feature leading theologians from the area.

Among the topics likely to be explored are questions related to statements of faith or confessions, common Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper, recognition/reconciliation, the meaning of “local church” and approaches to mission, evangelism and pastoral care.

Timothy George, dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Ala., was among the members of the Baptist delegation in London, as was Karl Heinz Walter, a former European Baptist Federation president.

Other Baptist representatives from this team, like Walter, were from Europe: Paul Fiddes, Myra Blyth and Christopher Ellis of England; Gethin Abraham-Williams, Wales; Kenneth Roxburgh, Scotland; and Anna Maffei, Italy.
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