God’s Church in the World: The gift of Catholic Mission
This week over 150 people participated in a conference on catholic mission within the Church of England co-sponsored by Forward in Faith and Anglican Catholic Future. Part of the conference took place at Lambeth Palace at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who welcomed participants and encouraged them to consider what it means to give light and salt to the world.
Keynote speakers included Rowan Williams, Alison Milbank, and Luke Miller. Focussing on mission as gift, Dr Williams spoke of the catholic tradition as offering an ‘awareness of the already-happening nature of the kingdom’, and reminded delegates that to engage in mission is to extend the invitation to creation to engage in God’s very being. Dr Milbank reminded participants that mission does not proceed from lack or scarcity, but from sharing in the inexhaustible riches of God’s abundant life; and that in mission we invite everyone to share the Trinitarian exchange of love and self-giving. Archdeacon Miller drew attention to the practical ways in which mission is already being carried out in catholic contexts, highlighted the intrinsic connection between mission and personal holiness, and reminded participants that catholic practice done well is inherently evangelistic and will lead to growth.
Forward in Faith and Anglican Catholic Future co-sponsored the conference to highlight existing excellent catholic practice in mission, and to facilitate discussion on ways in which this outstanding practice may be further enhanced. It was also a way of living out the commitment to the mutual flourishing of the different integrities of the Catholic tradition within the Church of England, as embodied within the the Five Guiding Principles set out in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests in 2014.