Thoughts from a pastor who understands himself to be classically Wesleyan in theology and who embraces a Wesleyan/Anglican view of liturgy and the sacraments.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Baptized into Christ's Church
Anglicans and Roman Catholics are currently meeting together for the third Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. Part of these early days is being spent re-examining their goal of seeking "restoration of complete communion in faith and sacramental life" and discussing how that goal should be understood today. (I must confess, I would think this would be an interesting discussion given the new ordinariate!)
More about this meeting can be viewed in this article, and I'm sure the Anglican Communion News Service will continue to post updates.
What I found fascinating (and the reason for my post) was the report that Roman Catholic Biship Gabriele Mana of the local diocese of Biella visited with the Commission. During that visit, he stated that within his cathedral there is a baptistery [sic.] with a font that predates the division of Christianity in 1054. (Can you imagine!) He went on to say that he had "given permission for all Christians to use this baptistery [sic.], for baptism is common to us all. The more we love our Lord, he said, the easier it is for us to come closer to one another."
The Baptistery of Biella
I personally find this to be a powerful opportunity for Christians in that area to demonstrate what John Wesley called a "catholic spirit" (i.e., universal spirit) by taking advantage of the bishop's offer and reinforcing the truth that we are not baptized into a particular denomination, but into the Church of God.
What would be even cooler is if Christians from various denominations could (perhaps annually) hold a joint service of Christian baptism using this ancient baptismal font. - Way to go, Bishop Gabriele!