Several things impressed me about the Intra-Orthodox Pre-Assembly Consultation.
- Discussion of the assembly theme, with its focus on Christ’s love, was sustained and theologically profound. The presentations at the consultation demonstrated how Orthodox insights give depth to the theme, and I expect that this Orthodox contribution will be appreciated by delegates from other churches.
- Orthodox delegates at the consultation spoke honestly with one another about difficult issues, including the war in Ukraine, while also striving to preserve and manifest their unity. This approach–speaking truthfully, maintaining unity–will be important as churches gather in Karlsruhe.
- Women, including several young women, played a significant role in the discussions of the consultation and in the drafting of its report and communique. I expect that Orthodox women will have a noteworthy–and, to some, surprising–impact on the upcoming assembly.
- Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox participants seemed to be equally valued in the dialogue of the consultation; persons from both streams presided over sessions, presented substantial papers, and contributed to plenary discussion. My hope is that this heralds the day when theological convergence, achieved over the past two generations, will result in full communion between the two parts of Orthodox Christianity.
- Speaking personally, it was an honor and a privilege to be invited to serve as a theological consultant at this consultation. I was warmly received by the Orthodox participants as a brother in Jesus Christ. What I long and pray for is the time when, through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will live together as one church, bearing witness to the reconciling power of God.
Rev. Michael Kinnamon, Ph.D.