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Eucharist and Peacemaking dialogue

November 24, 2009

Sunnyside Mennonite Church was the site of the fifth public dialogue between Mennonites and Orthodoxy in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The gathering on November 14 focused on the theme of Eucharist and Peacemaking.  Forty-four participants came together to hear presentations by John Rempel (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminaries), Alex Patico (Orthodox Peace Fellowship), and Andrew Klager (visiting scholar at Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietiest Studies).  The presentations were followed by lunch and table discussion in the afternoon. 

The 2009 dialogue was sponsored by Anabaptism and Orthodoxy in Conversation, a grassroots friendship that is nurturing this conversation.  The group gathers monthly for prayers and discussion of various readings.  The Eucharist and Peacemaking dialogue was also sponsored by MCUSA Interchurch Relations.  Other financial gifts towards the expenses of this event were received from Lancaster Mennonite Conference, Anunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and various individuals from Sunnyside Mennonite Church. 

Here are a few snippets and highlights from the presentations:

  • How do we understand unity in the body of Christ in relation to doctrine, order, experience, and action?  (Rempel)
  • Anabaptism was a corrective movement.  In its assessment the existential dimension of being Christian was greatly lacking in the regions where Anabaptism arose.  The practice of believer’s baptism embodies this conviction.  This led to a church in which the Bible was known and lived out, costly discipleship, and missionary commitment.  But Anabaptism was also a church that lacked the riches of that from which it came and which it sought to reform, the larger Christian tradition, including comprehensive doctrine and sacraments that expressed divine initiative as well as human response.  My interest on behalf of our community of faith is to regain the riches we have missed integrated with the existential dimension of faith as indispensible to Christian identity. (Rempel)
  • Marpeckite Christology and ecclesiology constituted the most sophisticated Radical Reformation rebuttal of Spiritualism.  It made the case for a believers church and its actualization in sacramental form on the grounds of the incarnation.  Underlying the practice of a visible church of believers lay the principle of the incarnation…(Rempel, 12)
  • It is the surpassing merit of Marpeckite Anabaptism that it attempted the daunting task of re-uniting dogma and discipleship.  (Rempel, 12)
  • Marpeck became aware of the fact that Anabaptist beliefs about the church, and with it, baptism and the Supper, were untenable without a belief in the incarnation.  As much by instinct and imagination as by formal training Marpeck was able to extend the meaning of the incarnation not only to the church but also to the sacraments. (Rempel, 14)

The papers that were presented are available to be downloaded here.  Also, video of the presentations is now available:

John Rempel (Part 1)   

John Rempel (Part 2)   

John Rempel (Part 3)   

John Rempel (Part 4)

Alex Patico (Part 1)   

Alex Patico (Part 2)    

Alex Patico (Part 3)

Andrew Klager (Part 1)   

Andrew Klager (Part 2)   

Andrew Klager (Part 3)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2009 3:30 am

    Wish I could have been there!

    As an Orthodox Christian I feel more at home among Anabaptists than among most other varieties of Western Christians.

  2. March 24, 2010 8:59 pm

    This makes me so HAPPY! I love Mennonites! Used to be one as a matter of fact. Now I”m Orthodox, and I’m so excited to see such dialogue take place.

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