St. Thomas to Hold Conference on 'Conflict to Communion'

The University of St. Thomas will hold a "Conflict to Communion" conference on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m. in McNeely Hall to commemorate the fifth centennial of the beginning of the Reformation.

The conference will feature presentations from Dr. Dirk Lange, professor at Luther Seminary, and Dr. Christian Washburn, professor at Saint Paul Seminary, both members of the International Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. A panel discussion will feature The Most Rev. Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and The Rev. Bishop Patricia Lull of the Saint Paul Area Synod, ELCA.

The commemoration of the Reformation is not a celebration of the unfortunate events that led to division at the time, but a solemn commemoration of those events from the experience of reconciliation that has brought us from conflict to communion.

This year is particularly noteworthy because 2017 marks the first ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation and 50 years of Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue. Through these decades of ecumenical dialogue, we have witnessed important steps toward understanding. We now understand there is more that unites us than that which divides us.

Pope Francis stated last year while visiting Sweden that "we have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another,” and that with a new look at the past, “ we do not claim to realize an impracticable correction of what took place, but to tell that history differently” (Pope Francis, Sweden, 2016).

As Christians we face the challenge to deepen communion between Catholics and Lutherans, but also we are challenged to incorporate the experiences and perspectives of Christians from the whole world and together be common witness of our faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Francis will add that in the midst of the injustice present in the world, “Together we can proclaim and manifest God’s mercy, concretely and joyfully, by upholding and promoting the dignity of every person. Without this service to the world and in the world, Christian faith is incomplete.”

This event is sponsored by the University of St. Thomas Center for Campus Ministry, the Selim Center for Lifelong Learning, The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis Commission on Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, and the ELCA St. Paul Area Synod.

To register, please visit Tommie Central. The public is welcome.