Archbishop Welby: Churches must offer “friendship and hospitality” to each other

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Good relations between different Christian traditions are the "oxygen" that allows the Church to fulfil its mission and proclaim the Gospel, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

Speaking in Leicester to members of the Meissen Commission, an ecumenical programme between English and German churches, the Archbishop said: "Ecumenism is not an extra that one can fit in because it's an interesting occupation. It is the oxygen of mission and evangelism."

The Meissen Commission oversees relations between the Church of England and the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD), who in 1991 signed an agreement to work towards "full, visible unity".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations

Posted May 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Franz wrote:

It all depends on what one means by “ecumenicism,” doesn’t it?  Good relations are always better than bad relations.  Charity requires no less.  We certainly would not want to go back to the days when Protestants would be persecuted under one regime (say, Queen Mary) and Catholics under the next (Elizabeth I).  But, if “ecumenicism” means papering over real differences in theology, in teachings of faith and morals, of attempting to pretend that there is unity where none exists, then ecumenicism is not the “oxygen of mission and evangelism.”  Under those circumstances, ecumenicism may in fact give the impression that doctrine does not matter, that Tradition is merely a collection of little traditions, and that really, anything any of the churches do or say really isn’t important as long as we are all nice to each other.  Under such circumstances, ecumenicism may send the message that churches are really social clubs, who just need to get more social with each other.  Under such circumstances, ecumenicism may be something other than “oxygen” entirely.  It may be an argument (albeit unintended) that the participating religious organizations do not bring anything meaningful to the table, and are in fact irrelevant.

May 28, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
2. Ad Orientem wrote:

For a contrary point of view I offer The Limits of Ecumenism.

May 28, 6:37 pm | [comment link]
3. driver8 wrote:

Good relations between different Christian traditions are the “oxygen” that allows the Church to fulfil its mission and proclaim the Gospel

If Rodney Stark is right, the trickiness is the free ride problem. There is some evidence that communities (viewed as sociological entities with members and goods) that have demanded a higher valuation of their own distinctiveness and significance have grown faster than the ecumenical mainstream: I think of course of the LDS and Pentecostalism.

May 28, 11:37 pm | [comment link]
4. driver8 wrote:

Typo - should, of course, be “free rider”.

May 29, 1:56 am | [comment link]
5. Adam 12 wrote:

I am hoping Archbishop Duncan will be getting a phone call from the ABC any day now…

May 29, 9:29 am | [comment link]
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