The 4th International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism will be held at University house, Australian National University, Canberra, from Monday 6 to Thursday 9 November, 2017.
The context, in terms of both place and time, will make the Fourth International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism an extremely significant event.
It will be the first major international ecumenical gathering in Australia since the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Canberra in 1991.
Also, it will come at an auspicious time. It will commence just six days after the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg – the event that marks the beginning of the Reformation and the consequent divisions in the Western Church.
This conference will be the successor to, and build upon the work of, three similar conferences that have been held in England (2006 and 2009) and in the United States (2014). Those earlier conferences introduced the basic idea of receptive ecumenism, firstly within the Catholic tradition and then more broadly across a wide range of Christian traditions. Since its inception, the concept has taken root in many diverse contexts around the globe.
Information and a link to register can be found at http://arts-ed.csu.edu.au/centres/accc/events/single/receptive-ecumenism.
Global Christian Forum Committee Met in Havana Cuba 20-24 March
Report by Rev. Dr. Tim Macquiban, director of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome and chair of WMC’s Ecumenical Relationships Committee
Over 20 members representing the four streams (Catholic, World Council of Churches, World Pentecostal Fellowship and World Evangelical Alliance) and other churches across a spectrum of traditions pre and post Reformation as well as Charismatic, Independent and Pentecostal churches from five continents and 18 different countries gathered at the Casa Sacerdotal in Havana at the invitation of the Catholic Bishops and Council of Churches in Cuba, whose leaders we met during the course of three days intensive business. In reviewing the identity and activities of the GCF, we were intentionally preparing for the 20th anniversary of the organisation, birthed from the World Council of Churches but now reaching a mature adulthood!
As well as reviewing the search for a new General Secretary to succeed Dr Larry Miller, we heard reports on progress in two areas of interest, arising from the work of earlier gatherings, namely a report on Discrimination, Persecution and Martyrdom, arising out of the Tirana meeting 2016, and ongoing work on the Call to Mission, Perceptions of Proselytism: a Global Conversation.
Much thought was given to the shape and content of the next and Third gathering from 24th to 27th April 2028 in Bogota, Colombia. This would enable us to reflect on what has been learnt in the past 20 years from the stories shared and the hospitality received in the different locations where the GCF has been. It was always important to engage with conversations with religious and civil partners on the ground.
In Cuba it was good to meet in three separate sessions, the Catholic Bishops, representatives of the Council of Churches and three representatives from the Cuban government. Different perspectives in the challenges facing society since the revolution of 1959 were heard and the place of the churches in maintaining and developing an effective witness for the gospel was appreciated through the stories of struggles and difficulties. It was interesting to reflect on the three pillars of the Church, growth in spirituality, the building of community and engagement in mission. A highlight of the visit was the ecumenical service uniting Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal and Orthodox at which Kathryn Johnson of the Lutheran World Federation preached on the theme of this year`s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which Lutherans had devised.