Together in God's Service

United States Catholic Conference. Together in God's Service: Toward a Theology of Ecclesial Lay Ministry, Papers from a Colloquium. Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1998.

The colloquium “Toward a Theology of Ecclesial Lay Ministry” was held on May 11-12, 1997 at the University of Dayton, Ohio to start laying a theological foundation for the service of lay ministers. Additional goals included creating steps to foster further lay ministry involvement and encouraging church officials and theologians in their participation in the realization of the mission of Jesus Christ. <p>The participants were experienced theologians, with a variety of specialized interests, who represented a diverse arrangement of lay, clerical, and religious background, ethnicity, and theological perspectives. Prior to the colloquium, participants received nine papers prepared by other participants, divided into six categories, and readied questions from these for the conference. These papers have been published in the book Together in God’s Service, which also includes the prepared questions, as well as a list of the participants. <p>The papers were (1) “Ecclesial Lay Ministers: An Overview” by Zeni Fox, (2) “Toward a Theology of Ecclesial Lay Ministry” by James Heft, (3) “Baptism and the Baptized in Church Leadership” by Zoila Diaz, (4) “Ministry in the Catholic Church Today: The Gift of Some Historical Trajectories” by Thomas O’Meara, (5) “Biblical Foundations for Christian Ministry” by Dianne Bergant, (6) “Lay People and Church Governance: Oxymoron or Opportunity” by John Beal, (7) “Magisterial Teaching” by Francis Cardinal George, (8) “Ecclesial Lay Ministry in a Local Church” by James R. Hoffman, and (9) “Reflections on the Experience of Ecclesial Lay Ministry” by Howard J. Hubbard. <p>The papers, as well as the participant-prepared questions, were divided into six categories for discussion at the colloquium: (1) An Appropriate and Adequate Definition of Ecclesial Lay Ministry, (2) Relationship of the Baptized and the Ordained in Light of the Needs and Mission of the Church, (3) Theologizing from the Present Experience, Focusing on the Signs of the Times, (4) Appropriateness of Forms of Ecclesial Sponsorship and Recognition, (5) Evolution of Magisterial Teaching on the Laity in and Since Vatican II, and (6) Ecclesial Lay Ministry within the Context of the Church as Communion, Hierarchy, and Spirit-Led.

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