Baptismal Water: Thicker Than Blood

As a fitting conclusion to this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (did you observe it in any way?!) I head off tomorrow to participate in the Church Divinity School of the Pacific’s “Epiphany West Conference — Baptismal Water: Thicker Than Blood.”

I’ll be teaching a class on the World Council of Church’s nascent text “Nature and Mission of the Church” (touted to be a successor to “Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry”) and my Associate Tom Ferguson will join with a member of our Lutheran-Episcopal Coordinating Committee, Jon Perez, to explore “Common Mission: what does it really mean?”

Led by Louis Weil, this conference aims to bring together a number of areas which have been central to my life and ministry over the years — liturgy, the ministry of the baptized, and ecumenism. Often these areas appear to be separate and people engaged in one are not necessarily involved in the other two.

I think that is a great mistake. Liturgical renewal, ministry development, and the search for church unity are all streams leading into one great river. It is no accident that the renewal of our church’s worship (best seen in our still-yet-to-be-rivaled 1979 Prayer Book with its centrality in the Baptismal Covenant) led pretty directly to the renewal of the diaconate and what we used to call “lay” ministry.

And we are not engaged in this journey alone — sisters and brothers in other Christian communions are making the same discoveries. And they are bringing us together!   

Not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging over this next week. I don’t want to miss anything! But I will try to post any insights I receive as soon as I can.

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