Since Margaret O'Gara had the unique opportunity of participating, over a period of decades, in several official international and national dialogues, an experience relatively few others have had, her interpretations of some of the achievements of these dialogues, as well as the further insights to ecumenical progress she garners when comparing several dialogues, constitute a most valuable aspect of this book. O'Gara, with a profound commitment to Christian unity, recognizes that renewal within the divided churches is a key to ecumenical progress and, with deep Catholic convictions, does not hesitate to give her views concerning areas in which renewal must be explored in the Catholic Church. These essays comprise an important collection for showing those devoted to the future of ecumenism some significant steps toward Christian unity already taken and the dedication that is necessary as the movement continues.
John A. Radano, Seton Hall University
Reflected in this collection of articles and addresses by Margaret O'Gara is an exciting vision of God's calling to the visible unity of the church in our world today. No Turning Back challenges all churches to take seriously Jesus' prayer "that they may all be one" (John 17:21): not as a burden, but as a gift to be received and shared and celebrated. This book will serve to keep alive Margaret's deep commitments to an ecumenism that is grounded in theological integrity, honest dialogue, abiding prayer, and (most significantly) personal friendships.
Robert K. Welsh, President, Council on Christian Unity and Ecumenical Officer, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada
With personal gentleness and profound conviction, Margaret demonstrated ecumenical imagination in searching for new insights on lingering issues of division. She was persistent in the quest for ways to reflect more deeply the unity that we have been granted in Christ through baptism. She recognized that the unity of the church is not ours to create. It is a gift.
Rev. Lowell G. Almen
Secretary, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1987-2007
U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, 1998-present
During the eight years I was privileged to be Margaret O'Gara's colleague in Canada, I experienced her deep passion for Christian unity and her relentless pursuit of it through theological research, ecumenical dialogue, and (not least) humble prayer. I am convinced that readers of No Turning Back will experience something of what I did.
Prof. Pablo Argarate
Institute for Ecumenical Theology, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Patristics
University of Graz, Austria
We are in the presence of an ecumenical theologian par excellence, a veteran dialogue partner, and a brilliant educator: insistently hermeneutical, yet keeping the whole in view, finding the secret Scripture in ancient formula, dissenting voice, and dangerous memory.
Prof. Geraldine Smyth, OP
Irish School of Ecumenics
Trinity College, Dublin
A passionately committed ecumenist, the theologian and teacher Margaret O’Gara was taken from us prematurely by cancer in 2012. O’Gara was an active participant in official dialogues among the Roman Catholic Church and Anglicans, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Mennonites, and others, both in North America and abroad, over several decades, and her ecumenical credentials run long and deep. Her husband, Michael Vertin, collects here a number of her essays as a sequel to her 1998 book, The Ecumenical Gift Exchange. O’Gara herself chose the title, No Turning Back, to express the irreversible commitment to church unity of those who follow Jesus today.
Susan Wood, Commonweal Magazine
No Turning Back introduces readers to the spirit of ecumenism-Margaret O'Gara's spirit-which shines through even the more technical essays here. It is a spirit of warm friendship across lines of historical suspicion, creative persistence in search of fresh understandings, and even (dare I say it?) fun!
Prof. Gerald W. Schlabach
University of Saint Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota
Taken collectively, the essays offer astute theological insights into ecumenical perspectives, especially perspectives on authority, in addition to practical suggestions for the ecumenical endeavor, notably the essentially collaborative nature of theological study and dialogue. . . . No Turning Back is beneficial for all theology students, Christian readers, and ecumenical specialists. It provides all readers with a clear and thorough sense of the ecumenical work that has been done, and it encourages its movement forward by offering a glimpse of a life dedicated to such work.
Ella Johnson, Catholic Books Review