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NAAE E-Newsletter, January 31, 2014

Mitzi J. Budde

It is truly an exciting time for ecumenists again. We see a
resurgence of hope and enthusiasm with fresh winds of the Spirit
blowing in the papacy. The maturing of various Protestant bilateral
relationships is bringing about deepening mission and creative joint
ministries. Renewed conversations are taking place between the Orthodox
and Catholicism. The World Evangelical Alliance, the World Council of
Churches, and the Vatican, who together represent over 90 percent of the
world’s total Christian population, have released a joint document on Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct. Collaborative and cooperative ecumenical work is spreading across the churches.

At the same time, we live in a time of reinvigorated
international religious violence and persecution. Pope Francis has
spoken of “the ecumenism of blood
that binds Christians of all persuasions who are facing religious
violence. The pope’s assertion that “Unity is a gift that we need to ask
for” calls us all to fervent prayer for peace and justice, dialogue and
witness.

I commend to you a new resource for ecumenical education
just released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for
Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.  On the Path to Christian Unity
is a series of  fourteen 4-minute online videos that address topics
including friendship as the foundation of ecumenism, ecumenical
families, grassroots ecumenism, dialogue, culture and ecumenism, and
prayer. The USCCB also provides a helpful discussion and study guide.

Thanks to our past president, Sr. Dr. Lorelei Fuchs, the
North American Academy of Ecumenists had a stimulating conference on
“The Emerging Face of Being One” in Chicago September 27-29, 2013. The
abstracts of the papers in this e-news are intended to whet your
appetite for the full papers, which will be published in a forthcoming
issue of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies.

Mark your calendars now for September 26-28, 2014! The
annual conference will be held in Burbank, CA, jointly sponsored by the
North American Academy of Ecumenists and the Southern California
Ecumenical Council’s Faith and Order Commission. The presenters will
discuss the new WCC ecclesiology document The Church: Towards a Common Vision
and include the Rev. Canon Dr. John Gibaut, Director of the WCC Faith
and Order Commission, and the Rev. Dr. Sandra Beardsall, Professor of
Church History and Ecumenics at St. Andrew’s College (Saskatoon). The
Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America will host the
event at the St. Leon Armenian Cathedral in Burbank, and His Eminence
Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate, will be our banquet speaker.

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of the
North American Academy of Ecumenists. I hope that you will join us in
Burbank next September!

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