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Baptist World Alliance to dialogue with Methodists

A planning meeting for the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) international dialogue with the World Methodist Council (WMC) has taken place at the Wesley Chapel in London

The BWA Executive Committee and General Council, in March and July of this year, respectively, endorsed a proposal that the BWA begin the process of preparation for a theological dialogue with the WMC.

The dialogue is planned for 2014-2018 and will explore the theme, Faith Active in Love: Sung and Preached, Confessed and Remembered, Lived and Learned.

'Participation in bilateral dialogues is an expression of BWA's commitment to continue the mission of God whose Messiah prayed for the unity of the church so that the world might believe,' BWA General Secretary Neville Callam said, extrapolating from the Gospel according to John.

'In asking how we might manifest this oneness, we are drawn to the words of the apostle Paul that 'the only thing that counts is faith working through love.'

The preparatory meeting agreed that the dialogue should aim at: a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, one another; mutual exchange of gifts for the enrichment and renewal of Baptist and Methodist churches; increased participation in a common mission and witness in the world; and deeper fellowship and cooperation by identifying and overcoming barriers.

'We believe that we can move toward the fulfillment of these aims by focusing on the agreed theme,' Dr Callam said.

Now that the focus of the dialogue has been identified, the international team to represent BWA will soon be appointed, the BWA leader announced. The teams for the dialogue will comprise six people from each of the two communions.

The BWA team for the planning meeting in London was Callam, Timothy George, chair of the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity, Stephen Holmes and Curtis Freeman.

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