Mitzi J. Budde
NAAE President, 2013-2015
You are cordially invited to attend the 2015 North American Academy of Ecumenists (NAAE) Annual Conference, to be held in Niagara Falls, (Canadian side) on September 25-27, 2015. This will be a creative and interactive conference as all the participants together engage in crafting an Academy response to the World Council of Churches’ new convergence document on The Church: Towards a Common Vision. Registration will open around June 1, 2015 on the NAAE website: http://naae.net.
The active engagement group process that we will utilize for this conference is known as open space technology. This new approach for the Academy seeks to utilize to the utmost the rich ecumenical insights and experience of the Academy’s members. It should be a generative and lively experience. For more information about how open space technology works, see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-Openspace.html and www.openspaceworld.org/cgi/wiki.cgi?AboutOpenSpace.
The focus of our work together will be The Church: Towards a Common Vision, a new statement from the World Council of Churches’ Faith and Order Commission. Only the second WCC theological document to achieve “convergence” status, it builds upon the achievements of the first convergence statement on Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry (1982). For ecumenists, this is a remarkable ecumenical breakthrough, achieving agreement on ecclesiology and ministry in the context of koinonia/communion. It explores the Church as community of witness, community of worship, and community of discipleship. The NAAE conference will respond to the theological, pastoral, and practical aspects of the document.
The key preparation for participants will be to read the document itself, The Church: Towards a Common Vision: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/faith-and-order/i-unity-the-church-and-its-mission/the-church-towards-a-common-vision/. If you would like more background on the document, see the NAAE 2014 conference papers on the relevance and significance of The Church text for a North American context, published in the Spring 2015 issue of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies.
The Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario is a retreat-like setting that will facilitate our creative engagement with one another. This beautiful nineteenth-century former convent sits on top of a bluff overlooking the Niagara River, just above the falls. The retreat centre will provides all of the meals for the conference. Each room has a private bath. Wifi is available on site. For more information, visit the Mount Carmel website at http://www.carmelniagara.com/
For U.S. citizens travelling to Niagara Falls, we recommend the Buffalo-Niagara Falls International Airport in Buffalo, NY. Southwest Airlines serves this airport. Upon arrival in Buffalo, we’ll take a shuttle across the border. (Look for further information about the shuttle on the NAAE website.) U.S participants will need your passport to cross the border.
Who we Are: The North American Academy of Ecumenists (http://naae.net) is a community of scholars from varied Christian traditions across North America who promote scholarship in the service of Christian Unity. Its membership includes theologians, ecumenists, graduate students, church officials, clergy, religious and laity actively pursuing Christian unity. The Academy ordinarily meets the last full weekend of September in an Annual Conference. Members of the Academy receive a subscription to the Journal of Ecumenical Studies as a benefit of membership.