What do we need in the mixing bowl?
April’s edition of e-news from Churches Together in England includes a paper written by Revd Sheelagh Ashton, minister of the Local Ecumenical Partnership at Oxclose, Washington (one of our synod congregations) and Ecumenical Adviser to the Durham Diocese.
Sheelagh writes in the Introduction:
This paper summarises the research findings collected from a survey taken September 2013-May 2014 with the North East Churches Acting Together (NECAT) Church Leaders, National & County Ecumenical Advisers and five Single Congregational Local Ecumenical Partnerships located in the Sponsoring Bodies region and Yorkshire. The aim was to identify what ‘ingredients’ contribute to enabling Christians from different traditions to be partners in ministry and mission. It contained seven questions covering:
- The factors which contribute to collaboration in ministry and mission.
- The role of mission within ecumenical partnerships.
- The relationship between the local situation, denominational & ecumenical structures.
- The use and effectiveness of formal agreements in ecumenical partnerships
From the survey responses a list of ‘marks’ with accompanying characteristics were produced akin to the model developed by Robert Warren in his Healthy Churches Handbook. The hope is that these ecumenical marks might help churches wishing to work together by providing a matrix against which they can identify the gifts and strengths they can bring to the venture and where they may need more time to grow. Alternatively, it may also help to assess an existing project.