Anglican and Old Catholic theologians and church people met at Neustadt an der Weinstrasse in Germany from 28 August to 1 September to discuss sacramental theology and the Church’s mission in contemporary culture. This was one of a regular series of theological conferences bringing together Anglicans in Europe and one of their oldest ecumenical partners, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, between whom a relationship of full communion has existed since 1931.
Anglican – Old Catholic Theological Conference 2023
“Sacramental theology and the church’s mission in contemporary culture”
28 August – 1 September 2023 in Neustadt/Weinstrasse (Germany)
In the light of the Bonn Agreement of 1931 which brought our two church families into full communion, the Anglican – Old Catholic Theological Conference has been meeting approximately every five years, alternating between mainland Europe and the United Kingdom.
The recent conference met at the hospitable Bildungs- & Gästehaus Kloster Neustadt/Weinstrasse (Germany) from 28 August to 1 September 2023.
The theme was “Sacramental theology and the Church’s mission in contemporary culture”. The purpose of the conference was first to reaffirm the ecclesiological basis of the sacramental communion between the two families of churches, and then to explore how the theology of the church as communion could energize the witness and mission of both our communions in our time.
Although most participants were from an Anglican Communion or Old Catholic background, the conference also welcomed members from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), the Church of Sweden and the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. The participants felt that they had taken part in a stimulating and encouraging event. They testified to having enjoyed a rich experience of communion and friendship.
The Archbishop of Utrecht, the Most Revd Bernd Wallet, and the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, the Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, gave introductory presentations on recent developments in the respective communions.
Key note papers were given by: the Revd Professor Dr Peter-Ben Smit (Utrecht) on the sacramental basis of communion; the Revd Dr Jeremy Worthen (Canterbury) on missional ecclesiology; the Revd Dr Mattijs Ploeger (Utrecht) on liberal catholic missiology; and the Revd Professor Dr Paul Avis (Edinburgh) on liturgy and proclamation. Responses to the key notes were given by the Revd Dr Edda Wolff (Bern) and the Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis (Bern). Shorter presentations on diaconal mission were given by the Revd June Yañez (IFI, Antwerp), the Revd Dr Christopher Meakin (Church of Sweden, Växjö) and the Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris (London). Workshops on related subjects were given by: Dr David Grumett (Edinburgh, in absentia online); the Revd Dorothee Hahn (Vienna); the Revd Lenz Kirchhofer (Aarau); The Revd Dr Ruth Tuschling (Berlin); and The Revd Canon Professor Dr Charlotte Methuen (Glasgow). The Revd Canon Dr Stephen Spencer (London) was unfortunately unable to attend, but made his paper available.
The conference took place in the context of the daily office and the celebration of the Eucharist. An excursion to the former monastery of Limburg was generously supported by the Catholic Diocese of Old Catholics in Germany.
Publication of the papers is expected in Ecclesiology and in Internationale Kirchliche Zeitschrift.
1 September 2023
The participants of the Anglican – Old Catholic Theological conference 2023