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Suggestions for Ecumenical Initiatives
posted on 01 January 1900
Catholic Diocese of Westminster
Diocese of Westminster

What the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission suggests to help parishes with a greater appreciation of Christian unity through the sacrament of baptism is only part of what has been happening for years.

International, national and local dialogue and sharing have served as the principal vehicles for achieving greater progress toward the unity of all Christians. Dioceses and parishes are always encouraged to seek new ways to continue this dialogue and come closer together in spirituality and service. Below are a few suggestions that could be adapted to diocesan and parish initiatives alike. See also 101 Ways to foster Christian Unity in your Parish.

  1. Advertise activities and events taking place with other Christian congregations within the neighbourhood in the Westminster Record, newsletters and other bulletins. With the permission of those Christian Communities, encourage Catholics to attend
  2. Encourage joint ecumenical cooperation and sponsorship for all activities committed to practical and concrete love for every human being. (Novo Millennio Ineunte 49)
  3. Organise tours of neighbouring churches conducted by guides who can share each church's art, architecture, history, organisation, worship styles, membership profile, outreach, etc. Conclude with an act of worship in that churchs tradition and follow it with an opportunity for socialising and refreshments. This could take place after Christmas, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January or between Ascension Day and Pentecost.
  4. Arrange a joint pilgrimage with another congregation to some place of prayer or spiritual significance. Walsingham has a strong ecumenical tradition, involving Anglicans, Catholics, Methodists and Orthodox. The Friars at Aylesford and St Albans, with its ecumenical chaplaincy, are other possibilities (the site of St Albanss martyrdom is in the grounds of the dioceses All Saints Centre, at London Colney).
  5. Suggest ecumenism or Christian unity as a topic for parish adult education and formation sessions. Invite clergy and leaders from different congregations to be observers, participants and presenters at some of your parish's gatherings (see especially The Search for Christian Unity III)
  6. Arrange opportunities for exploring spirituality together, perhaps through a day of prayer, or retreat, or special session of guided prayer with a guest speaker.
  7. Organise a concert to share the diversity of music used in various Christian traditions of worship.
  8. Attend the services of other Christian communities, not only on special occasions but at other times too - to be welcomed as guests despite disunity and be present as friends in the common journey to reconciliation. Enter into the spirit of their worship.
  9. Launch a series of speakers for greater understanding of Church unity.  Great care should be taken when inviting speakers to come into a community to speak on the theology of the Church and its commitment to Christian Unity. Take a look at the guidelines in The Search for Christian Unity IIA.
  10. Ask a member of the Association of Interchurch Families to share experiences of the ecumenism of marriage.
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