Thinking Anglicans

A Common Word

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday convened an ecumenical gathering to discuss ways in which Christian-Muslim engagement might be strengthened and deepened.

It brought together more than 40 participants from a broad range of geographical, cultural and denominational settings.

In his welcome to the participants the Archbishop expressed his gratitude that so many had taken the “opportunity for church leaders and scholars representing something of the geographical and confessional diversity of Christianity to discuss together the current experience of dialogue with Muslims – situating the significance of the open letter A Common Word within it, and determining what degree of consensus might be possible as we look forward.”

During the discussions church representatives from around the globe, including Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria, Malaysia – alongside those from Western countries where Christianity is the majority religion – shared their experience of engagement.
Dr Williams said, “It has been tremendously important to me personally … that we have heard such a range of perspectives. As well as deepening our shared understanding of the challenge before us it has, I think, renewed for us all the significance of the church’s work in this area of cooperation with other faiths for the sake of peace in our common home.”

Read the whole press release from Lambeth Palace Archbishop – Christian-Muslim engagement ‘for the sake of peace in our common home’.

See the website for A Common Word here.


  • Delightful to see Christians and Muslims acting in the way religious people should, rather than wrangling, wrangling, wrangling.

  • Pluralist says:

    The attitude of diversity without only really works when there is an attitude of diversity within. Do we have this from the top?

  • Cheryl Va. says:

    It’s an interesting point Pluralist, and one that would not have a clear answer.

    Funnily enough, it is dealing with the dialogue from both within and without, from top and from bottom, that the attitude towards diversity becomes clarified.

    As one seeks to present a hospitable image to the stranger from without, one can be confronted with the dissonance that one has not provided hospitality within (and vice versa).

    One wry joke of recent weeks is that it is lucky that Jesus’ mansion has so many rooms, he needs to keep separating the squabblers who are upset by who else is there. So we have Catholics in one room, Orthodox in another, gnostics…

    The bible is clear that redemptive times include hospitality and the sharing of gifts, wisdom and abundance throughout creation e.g. Zechariah 3:10, Joel 2:28 The Lord will “will pour out my Spirit on ALL people. Your sons and daughters…” Zecheriah 12:8 “the feeblest among them will be like David” Ezekiel 34:21-22 “Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered…”

    Read also Matthew 25. The goats are those who refuse to provide hospitality, to feed or provide for the weak.

    God is just not and has never been just for his “chosen” ones. See Romans 2:14-16 “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

    By Jesus’ own words, Jesus’ heaven does not contain all of Creation. Therefore God can be trusted to provide suitable dwellings for all Creation’s occupants. God has always been the light to both the “chosen” ones and the Gentiles. e.g. Isaiah 49:6 or Hosea 2:23

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