Changing Landscape of Ecumenism
This is a copy of a paper presented by Revd Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of CTE to the Cambridge Ecumenical Council on 16th April 2015.
Thank you for your invitation to explore the changing ecumenical landscape. I want to begin by describing some of the changes that my colleagues and I are observing in our work, and then I want to do a little bit of theological reflection and then open up a conversation with you – because that’s always the most interesting part of this kind of gathering.
I joined CTE in 2008, which in retrospect was not a good time to start a new job! I began in May, and in the October the economy collapsed. I don’t detect a causal link, but it was not an auspicious time to be joining an umbrella organisation which was dependent on the giving of over 30 charitable organisations.
CTE’s vision was then about supporting ecumenism in two main ways. The first was horizontally, gathering the denominations together through a series of co-ordinating groups which were intended to allow them to share their work and co-operate in areas like mission, new housing, training, unity and theology. The second was vertical, supporting the ecumenical infrastructure of Intermediate Bodies stretching across England which in its turn was supporting a whole ecology of ‘churches together’ groups locally and various expressions of ecumenical co-operation locally, particularly but not exclusively LEPs. In other words, we were focused on what I’ve grown to call ‘historic ecumenism’. I say that with affection and respect because, like most of you (I suspect) I was shaped and moulded spiritually by that movement which was the most exciting and dynamic force in the twentieth century church, and which only just, by the smallest of margins, failed to change the shape of English Christianity decisively. Let me say just a little about that heritage which we share.
Download PDF of the whole paper: Changing Landscape of Ecumenism