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Tuesday, 01 March 2016 11:22

Message of NCCA to NZ National Dialogue for Christian Unity

Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS

What a joy it is to be with you today.

On this very significant day for churches and the ecumenical movement in Aotearoa New Zealand and world-wide, I bring the greetings and the prayers of the member churches of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

During the past several weeks, as General Secretary of the NCCA, I have been reflecting on the idea and experience of journey:

  • reflecting on God's invitation to embrace the Lenten journey
  • exploring the journey of the National Council of Churches in Australia - a journey that for 22 years has taken up the path from the Australian Council of Churches, and
  • both remembering and discovering significant steps - milestones - in the ecumenical movement worldwide.

Today, during the inaugural annual forum and this Service of Celebration of the National Dialogue for Christian Unity the words 'journey' and 'pilgrimage' have permeated our prayers, deliberations and papers. We have heard the various steps that have formed the journey over almost eight years that have brought churches in Aotearoa New Zealand to the table and to this Service of Celebration today.

Those on the journey, like travellers and pilgrims generally, have experienced both disappointments - named tonight as trials and tribulations -and joys. However two aspects of the journey of the National Dialogue for Christian Unity impress themselves on my mind and in my heart.

The first is the respect for, understanding of, and largeness of heart towards each other that has characterised today's events - and I suspect - each of the meetings that have led to this day. In fact, I think that the word for these is LOVE. You have surely walked in love.

The second characteristic is the hope which is the foundation on which the National Dialogue for Christian Unity is built. This foundation of hope is evidenced in the steps over these eight years and in the very name- National Dialogue for Christian Unity.

More importantly, hope permeates the Constitution which you have accepted today - and therefore will continue to characterise your relationships and your undertakings. This hope is faith-filled and lived out in communion and fellowship with others.

For the witness of this love and hope, I thank you!

So may you, as the National Dialogue for Christian Unity, truly continue to have as your goal the search for Christian Unity. May you experience the company of others on this journey and may you know that along each step the Holy Spirit is your guide.

This is the prayer of the National Council of Churches in Australia for you, our friends in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary
National Council of Churches in Australia

26 February 2016

National Council of Churches in Australia