Monday, July 19, 2010
"Practice what you preach"
The Anglican Archbishop Williams is a friend of the Lutherans
The Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams is one of the keynote speakers (22nd July) at the General Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Stuttgart.
What is the most important message that you bring to your Lutheran sisters and brothers?
Rowan Williams: My paper will relate to the theme of the General Assembly: "Give us this day our daily bread." I link this request in the Lord's Prayer to the subsequent request: "Forgive us our trespasses". We get our daily bread from God when we learn to forgive and receive forgiveness. And this reconciliation process is the sharing of daily bread. So I hope to link the command to feed the hungry with the command for reconciliation. Both divine commandments meet eachother in the communion service.
How would you describe the relations between the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD), and your church, the Church of England?
Rowan Williams: They were significantly advanced when the Church of England (CofE) and the EKD signed the Meissen Declaration in 1991. The full interchangeability of ministries is currently not yet possible. Nevertheless, the churches have committed to common mission and shared life. The members of the Church of England and the EKD are invited to participate inthe Eucharist in the other church. The exchange between the churches and fruitful partnership relations are evidence that our ecumenical community has become stable. The symbol, that the community accepts this is based, among other things on our mutual recognition as churches in which the vision of full, visible unity of life is received.
So you think that churches can come more together?
Rowan Williams: The relations between the EKD and the Church of England are an example of relations between church and church a lot of progress is possible. We need to keep all possible communication channels open, to say what exactly is needed now. We need to debate theologically with each other, encourage each other and create greater understanding of each other
Some Lutheran churches, and your church have a common problem: the ordination of women. In Lithuania, for example, no new pastors are ordained. Also in your church, there is resistance to the ordination of women. When will there be the first woman bishop in the UK?
Rowan Williams: Our talks are at a very important point: The General Synod considered just how the legislation should look to make it possible that women could become bishops. If we decide to go ahead, this will take at least several more years, where the dioceses must examine in detail the legislation and then refer back to General Synod for a final decision.
Should not the churches raise their voices more clearly in public? How could you take a bigger role in society?
Rowan Williams: The churches must practice what they preach to politicians and the public. They must be ecologically responsible inside and outside their church buildings. They must take in with kindness refugees and people on the fringes of society. You must know the internal reconciliation requires the patience and feeling for each other, which creates peace. You must be very careful with the way and manner in which power is exercised within their church, so that this reflects Christ's selfless service.