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 Indice > Conferenze > Dicembre 2003
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Invito | Mary Tanner | Historical Note

The Centro Pro Unione
invites you to the
Sixth annual conference in honor of
Father Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White
founders of the Society of the Atonement
A New Step to be Taken
A New Stage to be Reached?
Mary Tanner
Member of the International Anglican-Roman
Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission
Thursday, 11 December 2003 - 18.00
Centro Pro Unione
Via Santa Maria dell'Anima 30,
1st floor


Mary Tanner

Mary Tanner was born in England in 1938. She read theology at Birmingham University and went on to teach Old Testament and Hebrew at Hull and Bristol Universities and then at Westcott House, Cambridge, in the Federation of Theological Colleges. In 1982 she joined the staff of the Board for Mission and Unity of the General Synod of the Church of England as its Theological Secretary. In 1991 she was appointed as the first General Secretary of the Council for Christian Unity. She was visiting Professor of Anglican Studies at the General Seminary, New York, in 1989 and 1999 and Visiting Fellow at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, in 2000. She is a Lay Canon of Guildford Cathedral.

Mary Tanner served on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches from 1975, becoming a Vice Moderator in 1986 and Moderator of the Commission in 1991, chairing the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order in Santiago de Compostela in 1993. From 1982-1991 she was a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission and is currently on the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, as well as a member of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the World Council of Churches. She served as Co-secretary of the Meissen Conversations with the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Porvoo Conversations with the Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches and the Reuilly Conversations with the French Lutheran and Reformed churches.

In 1987 the Archbishop of Canterbury awarded her the Lambeth DD. She also has honorary doctorates from Birmingham University, the General Seminary, New York, and Virginia Seminary. Among other awards she holds the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Order of the British Empire, and was made a member of the Order of the Polar Star by the King of Sweden, for contributions to ecumenism.

Within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion Mary Tanner was a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Commission on Women and the Episcopate and was consultant to the ecumenical sections of the 1988 and 1998 Lambeth Conferences.

Publications include essays in festschrifts for Geoffrey Wainwright, Jean-Marie Tillard, Günther Gaßmann, Hervé Legrand and Harding Meyer. Her most recent publications include a chapter on Robert Runcie and the Anglican Communion in a collection of essays, Runcie: On Reflection, edited by S. Platten; an essay on collegiality in Travelling with Resilience, edited by Elizabeth Templeton, and a chapter on The Gift of Authority in Unpacking the Gift, edited by Peter Fisher.

She has recently been named the first lecturer for the "Jean-Marie Tillard Chair in Ecumenical Studies" at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas - Angelicum, Rome.

Mary is married to John. They have two children, Richard, a cathedral organist, and Lucy a teacher.


Historical note

   In 1898, the Spirit of God inspired Sister Lurana White and Father Paul Wattson to establish a religious community to be called the Society of the Atonement.

s   The Founders had the vision of a religious congregation dedicated to the unity of Christians and to reconciliation in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Since the Founders were Episcopalians, the roots of the Society were implanted in that ecclesial communion until 1909, the year in which the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. This was the first time that a corporate reunion with Rome took place since the Reformation.

   Among the various activities of the Society of the Atonement, special mention needs to be made of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begun by Fr. Paul in 1908 and celebrated today throughout the world.

   From the humble beginnings in an abandoned church, St. John's-in-the-Wilderness, in an area called Graymoor, (New York), the Society of the Atonement has dedicated its efforts for the unity of the Church and reconciliation in several countries: the United States, Canada, Japan, England, Ireland, Brazil and Italy. Yearly conferences honoring the memory of Fr. Paul Wattson were begun in 1974 at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, then, in 1980, at the University of San Francisco. To these were added in 1995, the Paul Wattson Lectures at the Atlantic School of Theology, Halifax and in 1996 at the Toronto School of Theology. The Paul Wattson Lectures are given by international experts in the field of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue.

   Since 1998, the Centro Pro Unione organizes lectures each year in December to honor Fr. Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White, co-founders of the Society of the Atonement. Earlier lecturers were Enzo Bianchi, Founder and Prior of the Community of Bose, Sarah Anne Coakley (Harvard University), Bruno Forte (Pontifical Theological Faculty - Naples), Anna Marie Aagaard (Denmark) and Robert Taft, SJ (Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome).


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