The members of the Joint Commission for Dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church met 10-17 October 2014 at Pro Civitate Christiana, Assisi, Italy. This was the third meeting of the current phase of the dialogue, with the theme of grace and holiness in Christian life. Commission members discussed holy living and presented draft chapters on the topics of Christian anthropology, Christology and grace, Church and sacraments, and eschatology. The Methodist-Catholic dialogue began in 1967 and has produced reports every five years since that time, which are presented at the quinquenniel gatherings of the World Methodist Conference, and also to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. They will prepare a final report for the 2016 meeting of the World Methodist Council in Houston, Texas, U.S.A..
The Commission would like to record its gratitude to the many people who made a valued contribution to their work over the week, and in particular to those who strengthened the bonds of friendship and cooperation in contexts beyond the formal proceedings. Special thanks are due to the Oratorio di San Francesco Saverio in Caravita, Rome, which welcomed the Commission members for Mass on Sunday 12 October, which was followed by a gracious reception hosted by the British Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Mr Nigel Baker, and his family. The Commission was grateful to the Dominican community for the visit that same afternoon to San Clemente in Rome. The visit was followed in the evening by prayer at the Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church. In Assisi, the Commission visited the main sites associated with the life of Saint Francis and also of Saint Clare. On 13 October, the members had lunch with the religious community of the Society of the Atonement residing in Assisi. On the evening of 14th October the Commission visited San Masseo, the centre of the Ecumenical Community of Bose in Assisi, celebrating Methodist Eucharist in the chapel and taking part in the Vespers of the community. The next day, a Mass was celebrated at the Tomb of Saint Francis in the Basilica. The Commission would like also to record its appreciation to the staff of Pro Civitate Christiana for their warm hospitality and care during the dialogue meeting.
The Commission welcomed Reverend Dr Priscilla Pope-Levison, the new Methodist member who has been appointed to succeed Reverend Dr James Haire, who resigned due to health reasons. The group valued the presence for two days of Reverend Dr Robert Gribben, Chair of the Standing Committee on Ecumenical Relationships of the World Methodist Council. Unfortunately Bishop Jospeh Osei-Bonsu was unable to attend as he was representing the Ghanaian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome.
The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for next October in Kuala Lumpur, at which gathering members will share drafts of their work completed during the intervening year.
Methodist Commission Members
Co-Chair: Rev Dr David M. Chapman
Co-Secretary: Rev Dr Karen Westerfield Tucker
Rev Dr Edgardo Colon-Emeric
Rev Dr Young Ho Chun
Rev Dr Trevor Hoggard
Bishop Chikwendu Igwe
Rev Dr R. F. Leao Neto
Rev Dr Priscilla Pope-Levison
Catholic Commission Members
Co-Chair: Bishop Donald J. Bolen
Co-Secretary: Rev Anthony Currer
Sr Dr Lorelei Fuchs
Mons Dr Gerard McCarren
Bishop Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Rev Dr Jorge Scampini OP
Bishop John Sherrington
Dr Clare Watkins