In Joyful Hope: The Next Step in a ‘New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship’, March 7th in St Mark’s, Newtownards

image The next step in the ecumenical initiative, ‘In Joyful Hope: A New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship,’ will take place on Monday 7 March at 8 pm in St Mark’s Church of Ireland in Newtownards.

It builds on two previous events, held at St Bernard’s Catholic Church in Glengormley and Knock Methodist Church in Belfast.

In previous posts, I’ve explained the rationale behind the initiative. Headed up by six clergy from various denominations, its aim is to provide all Christians with an opportunity to fellowship with each other around the communion table – even if they are prevented by the official discipline of their churches from eating the bread and drinking the wine together.

As the group’s promotional flyer reads:

‘…we firmly believe that the joy of being present at the Eucharistic worship of another Christian tradition is greater than the pain experienced by observing this Eucharistic discipline. Thereby we hope that we will contribute to bringing nearer the day on which we may share in a common Eucharist.’

I think that the initiative bears a powerful witness to the desire of these Christians to break down what they perceive as the unnecessary walls that prevent full communion. They also believe that prohibitions on shared communion unnecessarily damage Christian witness to the wider world.

If Christians can’t love each other enough to find a way to share a common Eucharist, what does that say to those outside the church looking in?

My post about the event at St Bernard’s, ‘Surprised by Ecumenism,’ conveys a sense of the spirit and enthusiasm that surrounded that event, held during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Christine Dawson, a student on our Master’s in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, wrote a guest post about her experience at Knock Methodist, including this quote from Fr Gerry Reynolds:

Words spoken by Fr Gerry Reynolds were brief but wonderfully concise and they ended on the subject of all Christians needing to hold Christian unity as their ultimate aim and needing to say to each other ‘without you I’m less than I really am.’

My original post about the initiative contains a fuller explanation of its purpose and rationale.

14 thoughts on “In Joyful Hope: The Next Step in a ‘New Step in Eucharistic Fellowship’, March 7th in St Mark’s, Newtownards”

  1. Thanks for info Glayds – I will go to this

    It is time to escape before bad old Martin and cohorts arrive for the usual their usual negative rants!


  2. That’s not very nice Rodney. You’ll notice that I deliberately didn’t comment on this post and I won’t be making any comment about it. Why do you have to be so mean-spirited and judgemental?

  3. Martin, you and your ilk have said far worse about Fr Brian D’Arcy. I can understand where Rodney is coming from.

    I am sure you would have written some long comment here about the evils of shared Eucharist, if Rodney hadn’t made that comment first. I just can’t imagine that you ‘deliberately didn’t comment’ on this post, especially when you commented on previous posts about this initiative.

    It is sad that this blog has been reduced to name-calling, etc, but I trace the poisoned atmosphere to the attitudes of people like you, Martin, and your insistence that your interpretation of the catholic faith is the one true one.

  4. You know what, Rodney and Paul – I suspect you both are the same person. Maybe Gladys can check the IP addresses if that is possible.

    In the meantime, look at the facts: I declined to comment on the Thomas Merton post and on the latest post about ‘the emerging church’. Is it unimaginable that I may also have chosen not to comment on THIS post, and indeed have not actually commented ABOUT it? Do you actually know better than I do about what I am doing online? That’s impressive! Are you God?

    You talk about name-calling and then apply the horrible ‘ilk’ word to me! How ironic!

    Tell me, Paul, just how many interpretations of the Catholic faith are there? I thought the diverse opinions thing was the Protestant concept of 30,000+ varieties? I was convinced there was just one ‘Catholic interpretation’: the CATHOLIC one – you know, the one that finds a concise summary in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is the rule of faith upon which the Anglicans must sign on the dotted line when they convert to the Catholic Faith. Am I wrong, Paul?

  5. I should say also: not just the Anglicans, but anyone who converts. I just have the Anglican Ordinariate in my mind at this time – I was reading about it last night. I read also that the Lutherans are asking if a similar arrangement would be possible for them.

  6. Wow, Martin, I am even beginning to feel a little sorry for you. Paranoid and delusional, thinking Rodney and I are the same person. What kind of person even thinks of something like that? The type that doesn’t even use his full name when he makes comments on a blog? The type that has no other life outside of the blogosphere? I have better things to do with my life than to make up fake online personas. At times I regret even trying to engage with you on this blog because you don’t actually engage – you just assert your point of view.

    Yes, I do think you are wrong in the way you interpret Catholicism. You have your own individual version of faith, just like everyone else in the world, but you claim to speak for all Catholics everywhere. It reminds me of the Pharisees – and I am sure you know what Jesus thought about them.

  7. lol at everything you just wrote Paul.

    But seriously, on the other thread, you said I rejected aspects of Vatican II – can you clarify which bits of vatican II I reject, remembering that Vat II defined no new dogmas?

  8. Well, Martin, you just told me that I can’t read your mind (I’m not God, after all), so the better approach is probably if you tell me what you think is GOOD about Vatican II, it being an official Church council and all.

    Perhaps I got you confused with Shane (note, I don’t accuse you and Shane of being the same person!), who said: “Ugh….I hate Vatican II. The 60s destroyed the Church.”

  9. lolz. Paul, when the dust finally settles (which will probably be when I am long dead, sadly), I hope that Vatican II will have proven itself to be a good thing. I am an optimist. Cardinal Ratzinger said (I can’t find the quotation just now), that in the final analysis, some Councils of the Church have been a waste of time. He pointed out also that Vatican II defined no new dogmas, and as a Council chose to remain at a modest level. He also criticised the idea proposed by some that Vatican II was some kind of super dogma. You’d certainly get that impression from listening to those who talk about ‘the spirit of Vatican II’. To conclude, I don’t reject Vatican II, nor any of the few, evident good fruits of that Council – particularly the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I have several copies at home. I recommend the Christmas Address to the Roman Curia which Pope Benedict XVI gave in 2005 – it outlines the Papal thinking on the Council and what happened next.

  10. Sorry, you asked me what was good aobut Vatican II. I didn’t really answer your question. I think maybe the whole point of the Council was an effort by the CHurch to present the Catholic faith in a new way to the modern world, as well as a call to live the faith authentically and to shake us out of any ruts we had fallen into.

    Rather than me tell you what I think Vatican II was supposed to achieve, perhaps you might look at the opening address by the Pope who opened the Council, who said:

    ”The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously. That doctrine embraces the whole of man, composed as he is of body and soul. And, since he is a pilgrim on this earth, it commands him to tend always toward heaven.”

    Read the opening address by clicking on my name ‘Martin’ on this post!

  11. This service is a real landmark event in a staunchly Protestant town where many church goers would not attend on principle as the Catholic church is still regarded as the evil Whore of Babylon ( i use such unfortunate language to spell out the reality of the depth of antipathy towards the Catholic church). The shared Eucharist illustrates an alternative witness to this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    As a protestant many of the imperiastic Roman Church Triumphant statements made by some people on this blog are to me but a mirror image to the sad and depressing attitudes of the above. We can fight the reformation wars again and betray Christ yet again.


  12. I would note that I appreciate Eric’s generous comments as a conservative catholic to some of my comments – he has not compromised his beliefs yet has shown a respect for those outside the catholic church.


Leave a Reply