Between 25th-28th May 2017 21 Old Catholic and Anglican young people gathered in Echternach (Luxemburg) a place of symbolic unity. We took St. Willibrord´s example, and explored what unites our churches and the challenges we face. We have experienced and celebrated unity in practice during our pilgrimage, and have learnt, discussed, worshipped and prayed together despite our different languages, traditions and cultures.
We believe unity is best expressed through joint practical action. As a result of these experiences we challenge the Anglican Old Catholic International Co-ordinating Council (AOCICC) and the Churches it represents to take the following actions:
- Further promote this unity with opportunities for many members of each Church to meet, discuss and pray together. Unity is so often built from personal relationships and listening with humility. These opportunities must be open and accessible to all.
- Increase religious literacy and inter-faith/denominational dialogue, both inside Christian churches and our wider societies. This is crucial to countering ignorance, prejudice, and reduce misunderstanding and conflict.
- Radically act to address injustices in our world. We believe this must be done through careful and prayerful reflection, followed by bold Christ-like action. Significant injustices in our minds are:
- All forms of DISCRIMINATION both within and outside the Church.
- Lack of stewardship and disregard for our ENVIRONMENT, climate change and irresponsible agriculture.
- Continuing POVERTY and the exploitation of the most vulnerable in society.
- Lack of sufficient meaningful action regarding the REFUGEE CRISIS and the language of hate.
- Ongoing RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE leading to terrorism and war. We must candidly discuss the interplay of religion and violence in our collective history.
- Misuse of and ignorance towards TECHNOLOGY. As Christians, we should engage with the ethical implications of new technologies and the data they gather.
- UNETHICAL PRACTICES leading to inequality such as in business, fashion, education, politics, and in our Churches (both locally and internationally).
We believe a productive way forward is to form groups of people, both clergy and laity, from all Churches who are truly passionate about each individual injustice.
- All action taken must be informed by our common identity in Jesus Christ. We, as Christians, must stand for equality, justice, love and care, selflessness, honesty, and guard against judgemental attitudes.
- We, as the Church, must take ownership of our past failures, as well as celebrating successes, and with the help of God address the pain caused in our history. We must do this to move forward as disciples of Christ.
In undertaking these challenges, we must do so in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, inspired by his example. Each challenge cannot be addressed by the Church leadership alone. All people, lay and ordained, young and old, must be integral to this process.
For what does the Lord require of us, “but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Echternach, Luxemburg, 27 May 2017