More than 60 people from a variety of denominations were at St Peter’s Church in Cockett on Saturday for a symposium.
The event, Being Church: Following the Way of Christ, was structured around six presentations, given by experts in their field, and each address was followed by lively discussion of the issues raised.
This was set in a framework of worship, with the Holy Eucharist celebrated by the Archbishop of Wales and the breaks and lunch ensured there was ample opportunity for Christians to get to know one another.
The first presentation was given by Rev Dr Michael Lakey, a New Testament scholar and parish priest in Oxford Diocese. Michael looked at St Paul and the Church and encouraged participants to look at how Paul describes Christian community.
Rev Dr James Siemens, a Patristics scholar and Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest based in Cardiff, came next. James gave an introduction what Patristics is, important influences in their writings, and what their writings mean for us today, especially in a social-media generation of soundbites.
Archbishop John preached at the Eucharist on how the life of the Church is shaped by the beliefs of the Church, drawing together themes from the morning. After lunch, Prof Norman Doe, pictured, a world expert in Canon Law, gave a ‘tour de force’ on the importance and value of Canon Law, emphasising its role in the Church in Wales, its role in the Anglican Communion and the Christian experience of Canon Law.
Rev Dr Ainsley Griffiths, Director of Faith, Order and Unity for the Church in Wales, addressed the attendees on the Church as Gift. A lot of interest was stirred by the concept of Christ as both the gift and the giver.
Mari McNeill, head of Christian Aid Wales, challenged those attending by asking the question “Who is our neighbour and why should we care?” Mari looked at the work of Christian Aid and the role of Christian social action.
Canon Dr Mark Clavier gave the last presentation: “A persuasive Church: becoming a Church that tells its story eloquently”. Mark encouraged those attending to realise the importance of eloquence in a consumer culture world and challenged attendees to be Church, not simply go to Church.
The organiser, Rev Dr Jonathon Wright, said: “The day was hugely interesting and a great opportunity to engage with serious issues in a thought-provoking way. It was great to see a wide variety of Christians engaging enthusiastically on issues that are so central to our identity and how we live that out.”
The Symposium is grateful to the Diocesan Mission Fund and Hymns Ancient and Modern for their generous support to enable the event to run.