OUR ARCHBISHOP’S VISIT TO JAPAN
The International Reformed–Anglican Dialogue (IRAD) between the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Anglican Communion met for the fifth time, between 23 and 30 August 2019 in Hiroshima, Japan, under the leadership of Co-Chairs: The Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch (WCRC) and The Most Revd Dr Howard Gregory (Anglican Communion).
This bilateral dialogue, the first that the Anglican and Reformed Communions have had globally since 1984, which then led to the report God’s Reign and Our Unity, was mandated to take as its theme a study of the nature of communion (koinonia) and the pressing issues which emerge for both Communions out of such reflection. After meetings in India (2015), England (2016), South Africa (2017) and Canada (2018), this meeting in Japan concluded our focus on koinonia as God’s gift and calling.
Engaging with the theme has been both exciting and challenging. The report examines the foundations of koinonia in scripture, theology and history, and how it is expressed in ecclesiology and mission. We looked at what our understanding of koinonia is, and how we see koinonia lived out. We have explored how koinonia helps us address the diversities within and between our communions.
Meeting in Hiroshima, we were deeply moved to hear atomic bomb survivor Ms Keiko Ogura share her story of 6 August 1945, and to visit the Peace Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
The dialogue opened with a celebration of Holy Communion in the Anglican tradition and closed with a celebration of Holy Communion in the Reformed tradition. The members of the dialogue prayed together mornings and evenings. The Commission participated in the Anglican Eucharist at the Church of the Resurrection where we were welcomed very warmly.
This round of the dialogue was generously hosted by the Anglican Communion. The hospitality of the diocese of Kobe was greatly appreciated. Greetings were brought from the Church of Christ in Japan and the Korean Christian Church in Japan. We were kindly received by the Primate of the Anglican Church in Japan, The Most Revd Nathaniel Makato Uematsu, and the Bishop of Kobe, The Rt Revd Augustine Naoaki Kobayashi. The Commission is particularly grateful to The Revd Dr Renta Nishihara, The Revd Shintaro Ichihara and Mrs Miki Hamai for their work setting up and supporting the meeting.
Present at the meeting:
The Most Revd Dr Howard Gregory, The Church in the Province of the West Indies
Dr Clint Le Bruyns, The Anglican Church of Southern Africa
The Revd Dr James Hawkey, The Church of England
The Revd Prof Dr Renta Nishihara, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Church in Japan)
The Revd Helene T. Steed, The Church of Ireland
The Revd Canon Elaine Labourel, The Church of England (Diocese in Europe)
The Revd Neil Vigers (Co-Secretary)
The Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch, United Reformed Church in the UK
The Revd Dr Peter Donald, Church of Scotland
The Revd Professor Priscille Djomhoué, Eglise Protestante Unie de Belgique
The Revd Professor R Gerald Hobbs, United Church of Canada
The Revd Aimee Moiso, Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Rt Revd Dr Royce M. Victor, Church of South India
The Revd Dr Hanns Lessing (Co-Secretary)
The Revd C. Nolan Huizenga (Minutes)
The Revd Shintaro Ichihara, The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Church in Japan)