St. Louis, MO (June 28, 2007)

The International Commission for Dialogue between the Disciples of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church held its fourth meeting in the fourth phase of its dialogue at the Pallottine Renewal Center in St. Louis, Missouri on June 24-28, 2007. The focus of this session was “the Relation between Word and Sacrament in the Church, with special reference to the Eucharist.”

Fr. Gosbert Byamungu (Catholic), from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome, led a bible study, “Walking Home with a Stranger: the Riddle of Emmaus” (Luke 24: 13-35). Two major theological papers were presented on the theme of “Word and Sacrament” by Dr. Robert Louis Wilken(Catholic), Professor at the University of Virginia, and by the Rev. Dr. David M. Thompson (Disciples), professor at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge, England.

From its discussion, the Commission identified several points of clarification and areas of common ground, as well as noting issues where there is still disagreement and topics needing further exploration. The Commission understands its work as a contribution toward realizing the dialogue’s long-range goal of full visible unity in one faith, one eucharistic fellowship, and common life in Christ.

Dr. William Tabbernee (Disciples), co-chair of the Commission, affirmed that “an important component of each of our dialogue sessions is the time we spend together in daily worship and prayer. In those moments we are reminded that the unity we seek is finally a gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The next session of the Commission will take place in June 2008 around the topic “The Priesthood of Christ in Church and Ministry.” In commenting on the choice of this theme for our next session, Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (Catholic), co-chair of the Commission, stated,

“This theme should help us further develop our understanding of Christ’s presence in the Church, especially in the eucharist.”

Members of the dialogue team include:

For Disciples of Christ: The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee (co-chair), the Rev. Dr. Merryl Blair, the Rev. Dr. James Duke, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, the Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, the Rev. Dr. Kay Bessler Northcutt, the Rev. Dr. David Thompson, and the Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh (co-secretary);

For Catholics: Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB (co-chair), the Most Rev. Basil Meeking, the Rt. Rev. Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, Fr. Aidan Nichols, Dr. Margaret O’Gara, Dr. Lawrence J. Welch, Dr. Robert Louis Wilken, and Fr. Gosbert Byamungu (co-secretary).

The Council on Christian Unity is the ecumenical office of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Our mission is to carry out the ecumenical witness that is our call as Disciples of Christ.