When you explore the possibility of a parish small community or a faith-sharing group that will involve people from different Christian churches and traditions, ensure you consult clergy and lay leaders of these churches at an early stage, especially by following the general suggestions for a meeting given earlier (see Making Ecumenical Contact). At the meeting explain that faith sharing
- follows a definite and agreed programme
- involves reflecting on the Scriptures and sharing experiences of God in daily life, as well as the beliefs, outlooks and insights of our various traditions
- will be in the context of prayer.
Thus the community members from various churches will support each other in their vocation to Christian witness.
An identified project or programme is essential. The clergy, ecumenical contact, the parish ecumenical working party and any ecumenical liaison group should support the faith-sharing group, to ensure it has the resources, leadership and training input it may need – as well as commissions for areas and topics to discuss from time to time. The group does not have to be permanent – it can be brought into existence for specific needs and ideas and can rest for a while until a fresh opportunity arises.
What is ecumenical faith-sharing and dialogue?
- Building the one community of all the baptised
- Identifying the gifts entrusted to every Christian disciple and the gifts entrusted to each Christian community
- Receiving spiritual riches and practical wisdom from the culture, teachings, witness and tradition of other churches