There will be a strong ecumenical presence at the 2008 Lambeth Conference which begins next Wednesday. The Archbishop of Canterbury will welcome more than 75 representatives from a wide variety of churches and Christian communities. Two of the principal speakers at the conference will be Vatican Cardinal Dias and Evangelical Brian McLaren. Cardinal Ivan Dias is head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and deeply involved in the mission work of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Dias has served not only in his native India, but also in Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Madagascar, Poland, and Albania. A frequent speaker at Vatican-sponsored events, the Cardinal continually stresses the need for a "strong witness to the Christian faith, in every situation". Brian McLaren is an American evangelical, the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, a prolific author, and an internationally recognised contributor to post-modern thought and culture. Dr McLaren is also an activist, serving as chair of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, a US-based evangelical social justice ministry. He is also a founding member of Red Letter Christians, a group of evangelical leaders who work to apply Christian values to issues such as poverty, environmental care, and peace. The Anglican Communion has a longstanding commitment to the ecumenical movement, and is presently involved in dialogues at the international level with the Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Old Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. Recent international bilateral ecumenical agreements include The Church of the Triune God with the Orthodox Church, and Growing Together in Unity and Mission with the Roman Catholic Church. Both documents were issued only last year and will be discussed at the Lambeth Conference. Among other ecumenical participants at the conference are: Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Armenian Church; The Revd Dr Canon Joel Edwards, Evangelical Alliance, UK; The Revd Prof Robert Gribben, World Methodist Council; Metropolitan Kallistos of Diolkeia, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople; Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; The Revd Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; The Revd Dr Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation; Patriarch Theophilus III, Patriarchate of Jerusalem; The Very Revd Prof Iain Torrance, World Alliance of Reformed Churches; The Revd Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, Director of the World Evangelical Alliance. A full list of ecumenical participants will be available at the conference. In addition to these ecumenical relationships, some member churches of the Anglican Communion have established full communion agreements with churches of other traditions, involving a complete mutual recognition of ministry and sacraments. Several representatives of these full communion partners will also participate in the conference: Archbishop Joris Vercammen and Bishop Joachim Vobbe, Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht; Bishop Ernst Baasland, Church of Norway; Metropolitan Mar Basilios, Malabar Independent Syrian Church; The Most Revd Godfredo David, Iglesia Filipina Independiente; Bishop Mark Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Archbishop Jukka Paarma, Finnish Lutheran Church; Bishop Ragnar Persenius, Church of Sweden; Archbishop Karl Sigurbjornsson, Icelandic Lutheran Church. The Lambeth Conference occurs every 10 years and comprises some 650 Anglican bishops and their spouses. It will be held 16 July-4 August 2008 at the University of Kent at Canterbury and Canterbury Cathedral. Source: ACN
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