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Annual LARC Retreat Held
On October 25-27, Bishop Bernard Hebda, Lutheran Bishop John Schleicher and several religious leaders and parishioners gathered at the Augustine Center in Conway for the annual LARC Retreat. LARC is an acronym representing the ecumenical effort established 10 years ago among the Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic faith traditions to continue dialog and strive to bring to fruition Christs longing that they may all be one ( John 17:21-23 NASB).
Rev. Dr. Tom Ferguson, Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer for the Episcopal Church, offered topics for discussion and moderated conversations throughout the weekend. Rev. Ferguson also presented a partial history of ecumenism and moved on to note that today there are some Protestant churches of one denomination being led by a minister of another denomination.
Reflecting on the speakers address, Fr. Bob Bissot, added that many movements towards unity have been fostered through working side-by-side in efforts to alleviate particular societal ills. Rev. Bissot serves as Pastor of St. Catherine, Ossineke; St. Gabriel, Black River; St. Raphael, Mikado and St. Ann, Harrisville.
Responsibility for acquiring the main speaker for the LARC retreat rotates among leadership of the three faith traditions. Next year it will be the Roman Catholic Churchs turn and Bishop Hebda indicated he has already begun planning for the event and has sought input regarding potential candidates.
The LARC retreat is offered each year to clergy and laity who are involved or interested in ecumenical efforts. Dates and details for the 2012 retreat will be forthcoming, but as plans are set, they will be posted on the diocesan website and on the Augustine Center website.