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Panel of experts meet in Oxford to discuss Christianity and Law writings

1 June 2018

A panel of experts met this May to draft chapters for a volume of essays on Christianity and Law.

The panel has been meeting since 2013 when they came together in Rome to explore the category principles of Christian Law which were proposed by School of Law and Politics Professor, Norman Doe in his book Christian Law (Cambridge, 2013). Since then, the panel, which includes members from eight historic churches worldwide has agreed on a Statement of Principles of Christian Law, based on drafts by Professor Doe, and unearthed the unifying potential of church law in the global ecumenical endeavour.

In 2017 the panel met in Geneva with the Director of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, to discuss how to feed the statement into the work of that Commission, with which an informal partnership was established.

Interest in the project has been extensive. This May’s meeting took place in Corpus Christi College Oxford, where Norman Doe was a visiting scholar in 2015. Professor Doe chaired the working sessions which saw the group draft chapters of a volume of essays for possible publication in the series Cambridge Studies in Christianity and Law.  The editor-in-chief of the series, Professor John Witte, Center for Law and Religion, Emory University Atlanta, attended the roundtable.  The book, Christianity and Juridical Ecumenism, edited by Professor Doe, will explore critically the project from the perspective of the legal systems of churches across the traditions of the participants. The church leaders, lawyers and theologians on the panel welcomed two new members: Angela Berlis (Berne), coming from the Old Catholic tradition, and Paul Rochester (London), from the Pentecostal tradition.

The panel next meets in Rome in November 2018, with members of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission in attendance, to debate aspects of the Statement of 2016 and to finalise arrangements for national events to debate the project in the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom in 2019.

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