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'Milestone' convenant signed with churches

The Catholic Church has signed a new covenant with Protestant Churches which has been described by church leaders as one of the most significant events in Australia's ecumenical history.

The covenant was signed on Sunday 11 July by National Council of Churches of Australia (NCCA), of which the Catholic Church is a member.

Uniting Church National Assembly President Rev. Dean Drayton told his Standing Committee that such a covenant "would not be possible anywhere else in the world".

NCCA president Rev Prof James Haire said: "The US is working towards something similar, but that doesn't include the Catholics."

The covenant is wide and varied and includes things such as resource sharing, common mission and ministry, common sacrament and shared ordained ministers.

The 15 member churches of the council reaffirmed their commitment to one another "as partners on the ecumenical journey", agreed to join in common prayer with each other and care for each other and pledged to explore steps "to make more clearly visible the unity of all Christian people in this country".

Catholic ecumenist Bishop Michael Putney, Bishop of Townsville, told the Catholic Weekly that the covenant is "a most important step in the ecumenical movement".

He said the churches named the level of communion they've reached, expressed a commitment to try to live out that level of communion and named a goal of carrying the ecumenical movement into the future.

'Milestone' Convenant Signed With Partner Churches (Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly 21/7/04)
Churches sign covenant 'as partners on the ecumenical journey' (Catholic Weekly 25/7/04)

ASC Endorses Regional Interfaith Dialogues (Uniting Church in Australia National Assembly 21/7/04)
National Council of Churches in Australia
World Council of Churches head shocked by Baxter detention centre (CathNews 9/7/04)

23 Jul 2004