A New Framework for Local Unity in Mission
A New Framework for Local Ecumenism has been worked on by a small group consisting of the National Ecumenical Officers of the five denominations mainly involved in formal Local Ecumenical Partnerships – Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed Church, Baptist and Roman Catholic. The group was established by Churches Together in England (CTE), out of concern for the future of formal ecumenical working at local level.
The paper looks at the current state of local ecumenical working, and asks why, when there are so many members of CTE (now up to 43 members) do so few participate in the formal ecumenical structures (LEPs, Sharing Agreements, County Ecumenical bodies).
- What is stopping them?
- How else are they engaged ecumenically?
- How could these ways of engagement be recognised, and celebrated by others?
In some ways Baptists are key for this discussion. Whilst we have participated in many ways of formal ecumenical working, including LEPs and County Ecumenical Bodies, we tend to sit light to formal structures. Baptist churches are also involved in a myriad of different ways of engaging with other churches and Christians locally and regionally, some more committed than others. So we have plenty of experience to share.
The paper goes on to recognise that whilst LEPs can be a brilliant way for local churches to work and witness together, other forms of ecumenical working can and should be embraced. A ‘toolkit’ of different models is being worked on, which deliberately are light in structure, flexible and responsive.
The paper is available on the CTE website