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Stefan Paas

In response to the ongoing secularization of the West, much missiological reflection on the church has turned to post-foundationalist, pragmatic and traditioned approaches culminating in a ‘counter-cultural’ model of the church. This model, developed most extensively in neo-Anabaptist contributions, is believed to contain rich promises for missionary ecclesiology in a post-Christendom age. In this article several traditions that have contributed to this approach are examined, with an emphasis on neo-Anabaptism – especially the works of Yoder and Hauerwas. A critical discussion of the model’s idealism and view of culture follows. Based on this analysis, the article discusses how the model of the counter-cultural church can contribute to Christian mission in the secularized societies of the West.

Gabrielle Thomas

This article investigates potential learning for the Church of England with regard to ‘mutual flourishing’. It begins by summarising the findings from recent research, which employs the principles of receptive ecumenism to explore women’s experiences of working in English churches. During this research, ‘mutual flourishing’ (as described in the ‘Five Guiding Principles’) was identified repeatedly, as an area of practice which is a ‘live’ wound in the life of the Church of England. The article moves on to discuss the theme of friendship in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, arguing that Thomas’s particular approach to friendship, if appropriated prudently, could contribute to healing the ‘wound’ identified during the research. The final phase moves on to suggest what it might mean in practice to appropriate Thomas’s theology of friendship in the life of the Church of England.

Paul Avis

The purpose of this article is to bring to light the ecclesiological reality of cathedrals, with a main focus on the Church of England. It initiates a concise ecclesiological discussion of the following aspects of the English, Anglican cathedrals: (a) the cathedral as a church of Christ; (b) the place and role of the cathedral within the diocese; (c) the relationship between the cathedral and the diocesan bishop; (d) the mission of the cathedral. The article concludes with a brief reflection on (e) the cathedral as the ‘mother church’ of the diocese.

Ida Heikkilä

‘Witness’ belongs to the central vocabulary of contemporary ecumenism. Despite its ecumenically significant role the concept has not been defined in ecumenical dialogues, neither analysed in academic research. Already a rough mapping of dialogue documents shows that the concept is used in various ways and contexts but not in a coherent or conscious way. This article studies the meaning of ‘witness’ in two ecumenical documents issued by the World Council of Churches, ‘Together towards Life. Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes’ (2012) and ‘The Church: Towards a Common Vision’ (2013). Both documents see witness as the characteristically Christian way of participating in the mission of the Triune God but give it different roles in the life of the church.