Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion
November 1-3, 2008
Consensus Statements on the Church: What Remains Divisive?
This was a session exploring fundamental themes and issues of contemporary ecumenical importance. Included was discussions of bilateral and multilateral documents that attempt to discern where churches dwell in common and to identify remaining causes of division. Historical, methodological, conceptual, and comparative treatments also featured. Some speakers offered constructive explorations of ways to offset the churches’ non-reception of consensus statements and of obstacles (theological and otherwise) to reception; while other presenters focused specific treatments of key concepts (e.g., apostolicity, denomination).
Barry A. Ensign-George, Presbyterian Church (USA): Denomination as Ecclesiological Category: Sketching an Assessment
Pieter De Witte, Catholic University of Leuven: The Church as the Communion of Justified Sinners: Lutheran–Roman Catholic Ecclesiological Dialogues in the Wake of the “Joint Declaration”
Dennis M. Doyle, University of Dayton: Eucharistic Hospitality as an Ecumenical Sticking Point: The United States’s United Methodist–Roman Catholic Document Through Divine Love
Phyllis Zagano, Hofstra University: Consensus Statements on the Church and Women’s Ordination
Miriam Haar, Trinity College, Dublin: Apostolicity: Continuity and Discontinuity
Twenty-first Century Church
This session was exploring contemporary reality and future prospects for the church in general and ecclesiology in particular. Papers shared an engagement with broader thematic reflections and discussion (e.g., on postmodernity); each speaker offered more specific treatment of a particular ecclesial phenomenon, development, or debate (such as the challenges and prospects for the church in pluralist contexts, the “Emerging Church” phenomenon, the interrelation between ecclesiology and ethics in ecumenical ecclesiological discourse and practice, and ecofeminist challenges to ecclesiology today). Thus the session encompassed both studies of developments at grass roots/regional level as well as more comparative and systematic surveys and projections of where ecclesiology is presently “at” and in what directions it is likely to or might best develop.
Ann K Riggs, Earlham School of Religion: “Ecclesiology and Ethics”: An Under-attended Trajectory of Ecumenical Ecclesiological Investigation
Doug Gay, University of Glasgow: Theorizing “Emergence” as New Wave Ecumenism
Paul Pullikan, University of Calicut: Church in Pluralist Society of India: Encounter with the Hindutva Forces
Jane Carol Redmont, Guilford College: Earth’s Body, Women’s Bodies, and the Body of Christ: Ecofeminist Challenges to Ecclesiology
Paul F. Lakeland, Fairfield University: Toward a More Inductive Ecclesiology: Listening to the Spirit