MCR President in the USA

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Matthew Mills (MCR President) was in the USA this week, presenting a paper at a conference of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was accompanied by a Regent’s alumnus and former MCR Vice President, Ross Maidment. Ross was a mature student in the MCR from 2012-2015; he is now preparing to begin an MTh at Cardiff University and is hoping to be accepted as a candidate for ordination in the Church in Wales in 2016.  His attendance at this conference was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sir Michael Moritz and Ms Harriet Heyman, The Care Leavers’ Foundation UK, and Regent’s Park College.

The title of the ESBVM conference was The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence and Vision. Ross proposed a re-reading of the Virgin’s fullness of grace (Maria, gratia plena) in light of the concept of ‘the paradox of grace’ proposed by Scottish theologian, Donald Baillie (1887-1954). Matthew was invited to respond to Ross’s paper from his perspective as a Roman Catholic, in-keeping with the ecumenical spirit of the ESBVM. Both of these papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Society’s proceedings.

By presenting at this conference, convened from across the United States, Matthew and Ross contributed to the recent tradition of engagement with ecumenical Mariology by members of Regent’s Park College. In 2005, Dr Timothy Bradshaw, the Senior Tutor, wrote the Anglican commentary on the Mariological document of the second Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II), Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ. Then, in 2010, Professor Paul Fiddes, the Principal Emeritus and current Director of Research, concluded five years as Co-Chair of a series of ecumenical conversations between the Catholic Church and the Baptist World Alliance, which dedicated an entire symposium to the Virgin Mary. The excellent report produced under Professor Fiddes’ co-chairmanship can be read on the Vatican’s website:

Here are some photographs from the conference:

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The conference took place in Mercy Hall of Misericordia University (above), which was founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1924.


Above: Ross Maidment, presenting his paper: ‘How might D. M. Baillie’s doctrine of ‘the paradox of grace’ shed light on the notion Maria, gratia plena?’


Above: Matthew Mills (MCR President), presenting his paper: ‘Maria, gratia plena: vision, convergence and controversy’.

Other papers from the conference included:


Above: ‘Mary the Evangelist: Interpreting the Magnificat from an Evangelical Perspective’, by Kathryn Bradford Heidelberger, Master of Divinity Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary.


Above: ‘Roman Catholic Marian Devotion as Viewed from the Collection of Marian Masses, the Marian Lectionary and The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy’, by Monsignor Vincent J. Gramalia, Coordinator of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, Diocese of Scranton.


Above: ‘Defending Salome: An Evangelical Perspective on the Doctrine of Virginitas In Partu’, by Nancy Ritter, Graduate from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.


Above: ‘Ecumenism and the Blessed Virgin Mary: A Consideration of ECT VII – ‘Do Whatever He Tells You’’, by Michael J. Stell, Teaching Fellow, Catholic University of America, Washington DC, MD.


Above: ‘Blessed Is She’, by The Revd Martin L. Cox, Jr., Lackawanna College, Scranton, PA.

There was also a keynote address from the renowned Catholic scholar, and President of the Mariological Society of America, Professor Robert Fastiggi, entitled: ‘Mary as Active or Passive: An Examination of the Groupe des Dombes in Light of Catholic Soteriology and Mariology’.


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