2019 Schedule

NAAE 2019 Montreal Poster


All conference events take place at Sign of the Theotokos Orthodox Church

Friday 27 September

Afternoon: Arrivals, Check in

2:00 PM Conference Registration Opens, welcome table with nametags and folders

3:30-4:30 Board Meeting

5:00 Opening Worship

6:00 Dinner

7:00 Welcome and Introductions

7:15-8:15 Plenary 1: Adriana Bara

Saturday 28 September

7:30-8:45 AM Breakfast at Neighbourhood eateries or hotels

8:45 Gathering Worship

9:15-10:15 Plenary 2: Mark Heim

10:15-10:45 Break

10:45 AM-11:45 Plenary 3: Paul Ladouceur

11:45-1:00 Lunch at Neighbourhood eateries

1:00-2:00 Plenary 4: Patricia Kirkpatrick

2:00-2:15 Break

2:15-3:00 Panel and Group Discussion

3:00-3:15 Break

3:15-4:00 Membership Meeting; Recognition of Student Prize Recipients; Introduction of NAAE 2020, Kansas City

4:00-5:30 Break (time to adjourn to hotels, visit, rest, etc.)

5:30 Reception

6:00 Banquet

Banquet Address: Rev. Dr. John George Huber, LaJolla, CA, Banquet Speaker

8:00 Evening Worship

Sunday 29 September

7:30 AM Roman Catholic Mass

7:30- Breakfast in Hotels/Neighbourhood

8:50-9:50 Plenary 5: Michael Attridge

10:00-Divine Liturgy with Sign of the Theotokos congregation

12:00-1:00 PM Lunch / NAAE Board Meeting


2018 Schedule


“Living Unity: Ecumenical Shared Ministries”

Thursday Evening, September 27-Friday Noon, NAAE Board Retreat, Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Washington, DC (separate schedule for the retreat to be emailed to attending board members)

Friday 28 September, 2018

Afternoon: Arrivals, Check in   

  • 1:00 PM Conference Registration Opens  
  • 3:00-4:30 NAAE Board Meeting
  • 5:00 PM Opening Worship                            
  • 6:00 PM Dining Room Dinner  
  • 7:15  PM Welcome and Introductions          
  • 7:30:  Plenary 1: Tom Ryan

Saturday 29 September, 2018

  • 7:30 – 8:45 Dining Room Breakfast  
  • 9:00 AM Gathering Worship                 
  • 9:15-10:30 AM Plenary 2: Sandra Beardsall
  • 10:30-10:45 AM Break  
  • 10:45 AM-12:00 PM Plenary 3: Mitzi Budde
  • 12:00 Dining Room Lunch and Break  
  • 1:30-3:30 PM Panel of Ecumenical Shared Ministries Representatives
  • 3:30-4:00 PM Break  
  • 4:00-5:15 PM Membership Meeting; Recognition of Students
  • 6:00 PM Reception  
  • 6:30 PM Dining Room Banquet and Speaker: Gerard Mannion
  • 8:45 PM Evening Worship Vice President

Sunday 30 September, 2018

  • 7:30-8:45 AM Dining Room Breakfast  
  • 8:45-10:00 AM  Plenary 5: William McDonald
  • 10:00-10:15 Conclusion, Thanks, and Looking toward NAAE 2019, Montreal, Quebec
  • 10:15-11:15 PM Closing Worship
  • 11:45-12:45 PM Dining Room Lunch / NAAE Board Meeting  
  • Departures

William’s Column

President’s Column 2019

William McDonald
NAAE President, 2017-19

It goes without saying that we live in polarized times. From Brexit to border wall, political divergence comes immediately to mind as a sign of the times, as do an ugly resurgence of white supremacy, growing income inequality, and the questioning of accepted norms in scientific method.  The world comes flying apart!

Who better knows about the business of division than ecumenists? It’s our stock in trade. We look to history—theological and institutional—to diagnose how unity was quickly lost in Christ’s ecclesial body. And, as Robert Wilken shows us in The Myth of Christian Beginnings, the church never had a golden age of unity from which we fell. No sooner had believers joined hands at the foot of the cross, or rejoiced together in the “one place” of Pentecost before they were asking (again) who among them was the greatest, or who had a lock on the truth. Despite claiming the cross as compass and the Spirit as guide, there has been endless fissiparousness, sometimes thinly veiled under a cloak of nominal unity. Ecumenists know disunity, and not only can we tell you how it happened, we are keenly aware that we live in it daily.

In hoping for unity, Wilken suggests we look not to the past, but to the future. Ecumenists are called to sow seeds of unity through dialog and praxis, and so participate in the many harbingers of a unity to which the whole church is being drawn by the Spirit’s tethers. Such unity comes through listening to one another in love, sharing one another’s gifts, and finding ways to live the unity we discover by working together in the Lord’s vineyard. And so, what came flying apart slowly begins to come back together in new and exciting ways.

NAAE has a long history of carefully discussing all facets of Christian ecumenism. That’s our mission.  Ecumenical dialog, though, takes place in a circle still wider, encompassing the human family’s many communities of faith beyond Christianity. There, too, things have come flying apart, the collateral damage produced by centuries of war, colonialism, and cultural polarizations of all sorts. Interfaith dialog seeks to build bridges of trust and understanding among the world’s religions. The intra-Christian conversations of ecumenists and the inter-religious dialog of representatives of the world’s faiths are instructive for one another methodologically, topically, and in terms of their outcomes. Some ecumenists have participated on both ecumenical and interfaith conversations, building bridges across both ecclesial and religious borders. What can we learn from dialogs with those beyond the Christian world? Do interfaith dialogs suggest new approaches for ecumenists in their work? What do ecumenists and interfaith dialog participants have to learn from one another? In what ways does this historical moment make interreligious dialog particularly urgent? Can the two forms of dialog be mutually beneficial? What yields or examples from both might be lifted up and critically examined?

With these questions in mind, we will meet in Montreal for the 2019 NAAE annual conference, where our theme will be: “Towards a new Détente: Ecumenical Outreach and Interfaith Dialogue in an Age of Uncertainty.” We will gather Friday, September 27 through Sunday the 29th at The Sign of the Theotokos Orthodox Church, 750 St Joseph Blvd E., in Montreal’s Plateau Mont Royale neighborhood. Conference registration will open on this website in late spring. Accommodations at a conference rate will be available at Hotel Auberge de la Fontaine, 1301 rue Rachel Est. Check back here for further information about the Auberge and other hotels in the area reserving rooms for the conference. Meanwhile, NAAE membership renewal rates (separate from conference registration) are posted here on the website. Fr. Joseph Arsenault, our treasurer, will also be sending out notices concerning membership renewal so that everyone stays informed, given adjustments in dues schedules agreed upon at last September’s meeting.

I hope the quest for a new détente brings you to Montreal in September!


William McDonald
NAAE President, 2017-19


President’s Column 2018

While ecumenical relationships are built in the experience of dialog (“faith and order”), and in practical ministry in the world (“life and work”), they are also sustained over time in congregations where two or more traditions gather under one roof for worship, spiritual growth, and mutual ministry. These “ecumenical shared ministries” (ESMs) are found across Canada and the U.S. and feature denominational full-communion relationships born of decades worth of theological dialog at national and international levels. They bridge Catholic and Protestant divides, even “magisterial” and “radical” branches of the Reformation. That is, they live daily with the questions generated by the ecumenical movement’s faith and order and life and work branches! How do they do it? What theological and practical issues unite and continue to divide such churches? What do these ecumenical local congregations have to teach the rest of the church about the continuing search for Christian unity?

We will explore these questions during the 2018 NAAE Conference, “Living Unity: Ecumenical Shared Ministries” to be held September 28-30, 2018, at the Crystal City Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. This year’s speakers include:

    • Rev. Dr. Tom Ryan, CSP, Paulist Office of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Boston, MA
    • Dr. Gerard Mannion, Department of Theology, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
    • Rev. Dr. Sandra Beardsall, Professor of Church History and Ecumenics, St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon, SK
    • Dr. Mitzi Budde, Head Librarian and Professor, Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA
  • Rev. Dr. William McDonald, Professor of Religion, Tennessee Wesleyan University, Athens, TN

In addition, there will be a panel of representatives from ecumenical congregations who will share their stories about living and doing ministry together in their local contexts.

As always, there promises to be much to feed the heart and mind in this year’s conference. Last year’s topic of liturgy will continue in this year’s papers and conversations about how ecumenical congregations negotiate matters of worship and sacramental participation. How, too, do theological tensions among traditions make a difference in shared life “at the grassroots”? Naturally in the mix of topics will be matters of ecclesiology. Worship is an integral part of our time together, thoughtfully prepared and led by NAAE members. Per NAAE tradition, there will be a Saturday evening banquet, and ample time to get to know folk from across the gamut of ecumenical life, whether laity, parish clergy, faculty, students, or denominational officials.

This year, NAAE board members are urged to arrive at the Crystal City Hilton by noon on Thursday, September 27th for a retreat. We will spend that time together planning for the academy’s future as a key part of North American ecumenical activity. Board members should expect to remain through the closing board lunch on Sunday the 30th. The Hilton is located adjacent to Washington’s Reagan National Airport, facilitating ease of transport to and from the airport

Please continue to check the NAAE website at www.naae.net, where registration for our next meeting should be open by 1 March 2018. Hotel registration will be available by that date through a separate website (see Conference Information elsewhere on this page). We urge you to register for the meeting (and renew your NAAE membership if necessary) as soon as possible. See you at the Crystal City Hilton in September. Thank you!

That we may be one,
William McDonald

2017 Schedule

North American Academy of Ecumenists Meeting

Friday 22 – Sunday 24, September 2017

Connors Conference Center, 20 Glen Street, Dover, MA 02030

Worship in Ecumenical Contexts: A Once and Future Vision

What Have We Learned? What are our Limits – and Future Possibilities?

Friday 22 September, 2017
Meetings are in the Charles River Meeting Room
Arrivals, Check in
1:00 PM Foyer Conference Registration Opens
3:00 – 4:30 PM
Main Parlour
NAAE Board Meeting
5:00 PM
Chapel of St. Ignatius
Opening Worship William McDonald
6:00 PM
Dining Room
7:15 – 9:00 PM Welcome and Introductions Tom Best
  Remarks from our Host Thomas Stegman, S.J.
Plenary 1 William Petersen
Saturday 23 September, 2017
7:30 – 8:45
Dining Room
9:00 AM
Chapel of St. Ignatius
Gathering Worship William McDonald
9:15-10:30 AM Plenary 2 John Baldovin, S.J.
10:30-10:45 AM Break
10:45 AM-12:00 PM Plenary 3 Karen Westerfield Tucker
Dining Room
Lunch and Break
1:30-3:30 PM Panel Diane Kessler
3:30-4:00 PM Break
4:00-5:15 PM Plenary 4 Paul Meyendorff
5:15-6:00 PM Membership Meeting
6:00 PM
6:30 PM
Dining Room
Banquet Gordon Lathrop
8:45 PM
Chapel of St. Ignatius
Evening Worship William McDonald
Sunday 24 September, 2017
7:30-8:45 AM
Dining Room
9:00-10:45 AM Worshiping Together: Going
Forward with What We Learned
Russell Meyer
World Café Dialog
Conclusion and Thanks Tom Best
Looking toward NAAE 2018- 2019 William McDonald
11:00 AM-11:45 PM Closing Worship William McDonald
Chapel of St. Ignatius
12:00-2:00 PM
Parlor and / or
Dining Room
Lunch / NAAE Board Meeting


[Draft 23 April 2017]

Commemorating the Reformation

North American Academy of Ecumenists (NAAE) Meeting 2016

Friday 23 – Sunday 25 September, 2016
Candler School of Theology, Decatur, GA (near Atlanta)

“Commemorating the Reformation: Churches Looking Together Toward 2017 – and Beyond”

2017 will be observed as the 500th anniversary of the split between Lutherans and Roman Catholics – and, in a broader sense, of the Protestant Reformation as a whole. It is a major milestone for churches committed to one another within the ecumenical movement.

The NAAE meeting in September, 2016 will offer background, resources, and inspiration for the churches as they seek to observe this event. What lessons can we learn from our bitter history of division? What moves are churches making, today, to heal past wounds? What ecumenical moves lie ahead of us, in God’s good time?

We will hear from a range of scholars and church leaders (Protestant, Anglican, Disciples, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox) closely involved in preparations for the event in international, regional, national and local contexts, including William Rusch, John Radano, Catherine Clifford, Patrick Henry III, and Robert Welsh, and, as well as representatives from the local ecumenical scene.

Our host, Candler School of Theology within Emory University, is a dynamic center for theological research and reflection, with a strong legacy of ecumenical commitment locally, nationally and internationally. The location is beautiful, the facilities new and welcoming, with easy access through Atlanta airport and then public transportation. It will be an ideal venue for our meeting!

Practical details: All our meetings and meals (except breakfast) will be at Candler School of Theology. Accommodation and breakfast will be at the nearby Emory conference center.

Please register for the meeting as soon as possible via the NAAE Website (www.naae.net). Thank you!

Tom Best
NAAE President 2016-2017

There are no products in this group.

Presentations at Candler for NAAE 2016

Download Tentative Schedule.

Speakers   (Approximate titles of talks)

  1. Rev. Msgr. Jack Radano

Our Ecumenical Future: Lessons to be Learned from the Events of 1517

Closely involved in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogue and its statement on Justification, Staff member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 1984-2008, and PCPCU Liason to the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission, he now continues his long service on the faculty of Seton Hall University.


  1. Rev. Dr. William Rusch

Our Ecumenical Future: Lessons to be Learned from the Events of 1517

Closely involved in the Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogue and its statement on Justification, former executive director of the ELCA Office for Ecumenical Affairs, and former member of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission, he is now adjunct professor of Lutheran studies at Yale Divinity School.


  1. Dr. Catherine Clifford

How Observe the Events of 1517? Methods and Options for Ecumenical Engagement

A full professor of the Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University, Ottowa, she has written and edited extensively on ecumenical studies, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, and Vatican II, and maintains close links with religious communities.


  1. Rev. Dr. Robert A. Welsh

Why Does it Matter? Inter-Confessional and Global Perspectives on the Events of 2017

Retiring in April, 2016 as Ecumenical Officer of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), he is Secretary of the Disciples/Roman Catholic International Dialogue, and has chaired the Secretaries of Christian World Communions as well as the Board of the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey (WCC).


  1. Dr. Patrick Henry, III

Reconciling Memories: Creative Remembering – and Forgetting – on our Way to Christian Unity

Director of the Collegeville Institute from 1984, and a former Professor at Swarthmore College, he is a frequent and exorbitantly creative commentator on ecumenical, religious and cultural affairs.

NAAE crafts response to “The Church: Towards a Common Vision”

The North American Academy of Ecumenists (NAAE) met at the Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario, for its annual conference on 25-27 September 2015. The theme of the conference was “Crafting our Response” to the World Council of Churches’ Faith and Order Paper number 214, The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV). The paper, proposing a common ecumenical ecclesiology, was published in March 2013 for study and comment by churches and other bodies.

At its 2014 conference, in Burbank, California, the NAAE had received and discussed scholarly papers concerning the Faith and Order document, following a typical format for a scholarly conference. (These papers were subsequently published in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies.) The 2015 conference took the bold step of experimenting with Open Space, rather than using the usual scholarly conference format, to craft a formal response to TCTCV.

Open Space, a process first developed in the middle 1980’s, invites meeting participants to propose topics that they wish to discuss around a theme, and then meet in self-selecting small groups for collaborative brainstorming on the proposed topics. Using this process, NAAE members identified specific issues that they wished to explore, critique and affirm within the Faith and Order paper, and then discussed the issues in the Open Space small groups. Each group reported back to the plenary and provided a transcript of its discussion. An omnibus transcript of the conference was then compiled and submitted to a drafting team who took on the task of transforming this raw material into the NAAE’s formal response to TCTCV.

Reverting to a more traditional format for the conference banquet, the Academy heard a stimulating keynote address presented by the Reverend Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan, president of the Canadian Council of Churches.

The North American Academy of Ecumenists 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 to consider papers on contemporary ecumenical issues from invited scholars.  These papers are submitted exclusively to the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, which has first rights of publication.  Members of the Academy receive a subscription to the Journal as a benefit of membership.

The Academy’s next annual conference, “Commemorating the Reformation: Churches Looking Together toward 2017 – and Beyond” will be held at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Decatur, Georgia, on 23-25 September 2016.

By Fr. Alan Perry

Shuttle to Mt Carmel


716-685-2550 – Toll Free 877-750-2550

North American Academy of Ecumenists
2015 Conference

Please note well: You must call to obtain these rates; they are not available online. Have your travel arrangements made in advance. The shuttle service will try to bundle conferees together in order to achieve the best savings for everyone.

Rate is one way, per person, and includes all fees and baggage handling:

  • 1 Passenger $65.00 per person                                        
  • 2 Passengers $39.00 per person
  • 3 Passengers $28.00 per person
  • 4+ Passengers $20.00 per person                               

*** Price does not include driver gratuity, which is at passenger discretion***

**Reservations required**

 Rates are applicable between Mt Carmel (Niagara Falls, ON) and:

  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  • Amtrak Station-BFX

75 Exchange Street
Buffalo, NY 14203

  • Amtrak Station-BUF

55 Dick Road
Depew, NY 14043

Make your reservation by:

Phone: 716-685-2550 or 877-750-2550


Please provide a credit card to hold the reservation, and have your travel information available.

 Any questions can be further directed to:

Sarah Rounds (sarah@buffaloairportshuttle.com)
Phone: 716-685-2550
Toll Free 877-750-2550

President’s Invitation

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.