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United Methodists, Catholics meet in Dallas

5/8/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York

By United Methodist News Service

United Methodists and Roman Catholics continued to explore how each denomination operates, both globally and locally, during a recent dialogue session in Dallas.

The April 24-26 meeting was the fifth in a round of dialogue that began in 2001. Officials with the two traditions have been discussing their faiths together since 1966.

The focus on "The Church in Each Place and in All Places" is being led by United Methodist Bishop Walter Klaiber of Germany and Roman Catholic Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, Calif. The United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops are assisting the dialogue teams.

In Dallas, Sister Barbara Reid of Catholic Theological Union and the Rev. Elaine Robinson of Bright Divinity School presented papers outlining Catholic and United Methodist theological understandings of the church's mission, as well as the relationship of mission to the understanding of the universal and local dimensions of church life. Different perspectives on sacramental life, such as baptism and the Eucharist, were presented by the Rev. Richard Gallarditz, University of Toledo, for the Catholics, and the Rev. Jarrett Gray, Saint Paul School of Theology, for the United Methodists.

Dialogue team members decided to begin drafting a text to be used as a report of the theological discussion for churches. They also plan to provide pastoral resources to help congregations and seminaries hold similar discussions.

During their gathering, the group members engaged regularly in prayer, celebrated a "love feast" on the model of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, and were joined one evening by two Dallas-area bishops, Catholic Bishop Charles Grahmann and United Methodist Bishop William Oden.

Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University also sponsored a dinner to bring together the dialogue team with its faculty. The Rev. Scott Jones of Perkins, a member of the international dialogue between the World Methodist Council and Roman Catholic Church, was a dinner host and joined in meeting discussions.

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