After a first consultation in the year 2000, the general assembly of the LCF decided to continue the dialogue with the EBF with further conversations in order to engross the community and to fathom the chances and obstacles towards a full church-community. (Please find the detailed decisions below).
The first consultations took place in Hamburg in October 2002, the second in Hofgeismar in June 2003. With the third consultation held in January 2004 in Prague the dialogue is completed for the time being.
The final document was sent to the signatory churches to be studied. Furthermore the proceedings of the consultation have been published with Text 9 of the Leuenberg Documents.
Basis of the Dialogue
The General Assembly of Belfast 2001 warmly welcomes the unanimous decisions of the Council of the European Baptist Federation of 22-24 September 2000 regarding contacts with the Leuenberg Church Fellowship. The Assembly agrees that representatives of the Baptist Unions should be invited to attend as participant observers and permanent guests within future programme of doctrinal conversations held by the LCF. The invitations to participate shall be directed to the European Baptist Federation?s Executive Committee. The Assembly hopes to involve a broad range of Baptist Unions across the whole of Europe.
The Assembly takes note of the report of the Elstal Consultation (24-25 February 2000) with gratitude, with its valuable survey of the extensive common ground between Baptist, Lutheran, Reformed and Methodist Churches. Recognizing that there are indeed ?good reasons for the wish for better mutual knowledge and understanding? and desiring to take an initiative for more co-operation, the Assembly requests the Executive Committee, in consultation with the member churches of the LCF, to open a theological dialogue with representatives of Baptist Unions belonging to the European Baptist Federation with the aim of discovering whether a basis can be found for the respective churches and unions to deepen and extend the communion which already exists between them. Such a theological dialogue need not be confined to the doctrine and practice of Baptism, but should extend to any other issues which are perceived on either side to stand in the way of mutual church fellowship.
The Assembly notes the conviction of the participants in the Elstal Consultation that conversations at the national level should accompany and support this form of co-operation and dialogue, and encourages member churches to strengthen and deepen their contacts with Baptist Unions and churches active on their respective territories, with a view to deeper mutual understanding and common witness and service in those ways the Holy Spirit shall direct.
Chairpersons: General Secretary Dr. Theodore Angelov, Sofia (EBF) and Bishop Dr. Martin Hein, Kassel (CPCE).