In its most basic definition, ecumenism is a universal movement, which unites and partners with diverse denominations. It is promoting or fostering Christian unity throughout the world - a movement especially among Protestant groups since the 1800s, aimed at achieving universal Christian unity and church union through international interdenominational organizations that cooperate on matters of mutual concern. It is inter-religious or interdenominational, including or containing a mixture of diverse elements or styles, which enables each denominational partner to come together in one accord to develop closer relationships and mutual unity between other traditions and denominations of Christianity. Ecumenical partners cooperate between Christians and their churches, and is also applied in the same way to other religions, or to refer to the unity between religions and people in general, in a non-sectarian, non-denominational sense.
For some Protestants, spiritual unity, and often unity on the church's teachings on central issues, suffices. Most important in Christian ecumenism is that people focus primarily on Christ, not on separate church organizations. Christians who see the risen Christ at work in the lives of various Christians, or in diverse churches, realize that the unity of Christ's church has never been lost. Rather it has been distorted and obscured by different historical experiences and by spiritual myopia.
Both are overcome in renewed faith in Christ. Included in that is responding to his admonition (John 17; Philippians 2) to be one in him and love one another as a witness to the world. The result of mutual recognition would be a discernible worldwide fellowship, organized in a historically new way.
For a significant part of the Christian world, one of the highest goals to be sought is the reconciliation of the various denominations by overcoming the historical divisions within Christianity. Even where there is broad agreement upon this goal, approaches to ecumenism vary. Generally, Protestants see fulfillment of the goal of ecumenism as consisting in general agreements on teachings about central issues of faith, with mutual pastoral accountability between the diverse churches regarding the teachings of salvation.
Every renewal of the Church is essentially grounded in an increase of fidelity to her own calling. Undoubtedly this is the basis of the movement toward unity. There can be no ecumenism worthy of the name without a change of heart. For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinting love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. The words of St. John hold good about sins against unity: “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Christians cannot underestimate the burden of long-standing misgivings inherited from the past, and of mutual misunderstandings and prejudices. Complacency, indifference, and insufficient knowledge of one another often make this situation worse. Consequently, the commitment to ecumenism must be based upon the conversion of hearts and upon prayer, which will also lead to the necessary purification of past memories. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Lord's disciples, inspired by love, by the power of the truth and by a sincere desire for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, are called to re-examine together their painful past and the hurt which that past regrettably continues to provoke even today.
DIRECTOR OF ECUMENICAL PARTNERSHIPS
British/American, The Most Rev. Dr. Christine Mercy Johnson made history in 2019 by becoming the first female Co-Presiding Archbishop of The Worldwide Anglican Church, which was formally the African Orthodox Church founded in 1921. Archbishop Johnson was Enthroned on May 30th, 2019 in Huila, Colombia, South America.
In addition to chairing numerous committees within the church, Archbishop Johnson is Chancellor of the Trinity Theological College in Uganda, East Africa, and Regent Governor and Professor of Doctoral and Master Studies at the Jesus Seminary of the Himalayas. She is a former U.N. Representative for the Congo, Armenia, and India at the United Nations, where she sat on several committees including elderly care and the ecumenism.
Archbishop Dr. Johnson has an ecumenical and interfaith heart, and has worked with Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Native American communities as well as many Christian denominations including Catholics, Wesleyans, Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Anglicans and COGIC in the spirit of cooperation and unity to benefit every community equally.
In 2016, she was awarded a gold medal and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service and Education from the former US President, the Hon Barack Obama. Archbishop Johnson resides in the United States of America.
The TrinityStrong Family is committed to visible unity among Christians as well as mutual understanding and cooperation for the common good between Christians and people of other religions and worldviews. Its Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations department is responsible for supporting, enriching, and coordinating the ecumenical and inter-religious life of this church across its various expressions, and enhancing the public commitments of this church in ecumenical and inter-religious circles.
The Worldwide Anglican Church entered into a covenant to foster ecumenical understanding and collaboration with Holy Trinity Church and Cultural Arts Center/Trinity Outreach Ministries COGIC in 2019, and Archbishop Johnson is an active member of the TrinityStrong family.
To date, the TrinityStrong family has two main partners:
The Worldwide Anglican Church – Headquartered in Kampala, Uganda with thousands of churches around the world.
Christ Restoration and Hope Church - Limuru, Kenya
We believe working together in the spirit of cooperation is an important relationship within ministry, which strengthens our shared commitment to the Great Commission, and the Great Commandments, enhancing our partnership on the congregational level. committed to fostering unity between the children of God for the sake of the world. We encourage the activity of ecumenical life in our congregations and communities, and work to enhance the public commitments of this church in ecumenical, and interfaith discussions.
We regularly review and evaluate the purpose and goals for each of our international and ecumenical partnerships; identify specific strategies to strengthen our international and ecumenical partnerships as they relate to this vision component; remain committed to international and ecumenical partnerships that lead to jointly committed and Christ-honoring action steps, consistent with this vision component, evaluate and continue to develop our role as a leader in the international and ecumenical community in ways consistent with this vision component.
If your church would like to enjoy the benefits of an ecumenical partnership,
please contact us for more information.