Bulletin Insert – May 7, 2017

Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations

May 7, 2017 – Easter 4 (A): Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations

The Episcopal Church’s Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations helps to facilitate relationships with other Christian traditions and major world religions. The Presiding Bishop is the ecumenical officer of the church, and his Ecumenical and Interreligious Deputy is the Reverend Margaret Rose. The work of this office in the Jesus Movement represents an important force for reconciliation and religious understanding, promoting conversation and unity.

The modern ecumenical movement began as a response to Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel of John “that they all may be one,” and the twentieth century saw a rapid increase of collaboration and conversation across church lines. It gained special momentum after the Second Vatican Council, when a spirit of greater openness between Roman Catholics and Christians of other traditions emerged.

The Episcopal Church is currently in full communion relationships with the following churches: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Moravian Church of the Northern and Southern Provinces, the Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht, the Philippine Independent Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of India. Coordinating committees support the implementation of some of these relationships, which involve full mutual recognition of ministries and sacraments. Clergy of these churches may serve in Episcopal churches, and vice versa. We also have warm relationships with the Church of Sweden and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.

The Episcopal Church is in active dialogue with three traditions: the Roman Catholic Church through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church. Our dialogues meet regularly to discuss matters of common concern, doctrinal agreements and disagreements, and possibilities for the emergence of full communion relationships.

Nationally and internationally, The Episcopal Church is a member of major groupings of churches, particularly the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Churches Uniting in Christ, Church World Service, Churches for Middle East Peace, and Christian Churches Together. We also collaborate with the Consultation on Common Texts, an ecumenical group that standardizes English-language liturgical materials and lectionaries.

The Episcopal Church also works in close collaboration with Religions for Peace, Bread for the World, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Anti-Defamation League, the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and the Anglican Communion Network for Interfaith Concerns to promote religious understanding and a voice for The Episcopal Church in non-governmental organizations and public advocacy.

Each diocese of The Episcopal Church has a designated officer responsible for promoting ecumenical and interreligious conversations on the local level. A national umbrella group, Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (EDEIO), coordinates the work of diocesan officers in close collaboration with the Ecumenical Office. This group meets annually during the National Workshop on Christian Unity for fellowship and learning with colleagues from Roman Catholic, United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Evangelical, and Presbyterian parallel organizations.

For more information, please visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/EIR.


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