The Green Shoots of Ecumenism

I attended the recent Churches Together in England Forum, an opportunity for those from the 52 national member churches and 71 member organisations to come together for collaboration and fellowship. As the newest staff member at Birmingham Churches Together, it was an in-depth dive into the ecumenical world with all its blessings and challenges.

The theme this year was ‘A Broken Church for a Broken World’ and a reflection throughout the forum was acknowledging our brokenness as a gift to us and the world we serve.

The conflict in Ukraine was clearly in our minds and prayers as we came together in solidarity with those suffering at the hands of not only Ukraine but all the current conflicts around the world.

A statement, agreed at the form calling on the cessation of the war in Ukraine can be found HERE.

Unity was a key theme on the first evening, with The Most Reverend Archbishop Justin Welby suggesting that if we shift our focus to who we follow, Jesus Christ as opposed to what we do we may be able to find greater unity within the Christian community. This was echoed by a few other speakers.

As unity was addressed so was that of the 4th presidency, who have been asked not to enact their presidency because of ‘the lack of agreement within the churches in England regarding human sexuality, and the reality that this dimension of the churches’ pilgrimage together is not yet complete.’ To read more about this, click HERE.

We can walk together in our brokenness and I felt that Churches Together is a place where that sense of pilgrimage is modelled well. Can we at Birmingham Churches Together continue to reflect the breadth of the Christian community across our city and the many ways in which we pray, work and learn together?

Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director for Tearfund  spoke on the final morning reminding us all that at our very core with our earthly creatures and what we need is to remind ourselves of the love we have for the world we live in.

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Genesis 1: 29-31

 

 

 

 

 

 

We may not to want to face the realities of climate catastrophe, but they are upon us, and the earth is groaning. How can Churches come together to help people engage with a state of the world that is overwhelming for so many?

The greatest gift of the forum for me was being able to worship with others from different traditions, from Pentecostal to the Iona tradition and Quaker.

There were many Christian agencies represented at the Forum and we shall profile these throughout the year via our website and newsletters.

To find out more about the work of Churches Together in England, click HERE.

Maud Grainger

06 April 2022

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