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INTERCHURCH FAMILIES AND CHRISTIAN UNITY: Rome 2003

11th International Conference
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
18-21 August 2005

Rev. Dr Chris Budden

The following represents issues and questions as I read the document:

• I appreciated the comment (C2) that dialogue will reveal our poor understanding of the other, and the polemical way we have often related (with tones of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation).

• Is conversation only possible where relationship and hospitality is more crucial than maintaining our position; and where we accept that genuine dialogue may change our identity, rather than bring another to our truth? That is, must we now face the challenge of moving beyond clarification of positions, to real change and agreement?

• (Page 1, B1): What is it that enables people to move churches (which people do more easily these days), and what leads people to hold their separate Christian identities when it is so hard to do? Is this issue really important in a post-modern world where loyalties are different, and people hold various positions in tension?

• Eucharistic sharing (D7): It is good that this possibility is becoming more common, and I would support the position of the families that their situation may be exceptional and they should always be allowed to share the eucharist together. It was helpful to see the RC position on their members attending the eucharist in their partner’s church.

• The list of practical engagements (C4) is helpful.

• How can this conference offer suggestions about the way interchurch families can contribute positively to our church communities (D2)?

• Given the way in which our churches deal with divorce and remarriage, is it possible to see a church like the UCA as offering care on behalf of both churches in a situation where there is little space to move, but there is an open pastoral heart? (D4)

• (D6): How are the partners the minister of marriage when the marriage is a sacrament?

• (D6): The statement on adult baptism still seems to give only grudging recognition to the fact that adult baptism is good. It still speaks of delaying the baptism of a child, rather than recognizing the many issues around the baptism of children.


Chris Budden
August 2005