Christian unity is founded on the theological understanding that through faith in Jesus Christ we are made members-in-common of the one body of Christ.
Christian Unity is not an option; it is a gift to be received and expressed (Discipline 2012, ¶105, p.88).
In addition, we seek to be in dialogue with other faith traditions as part of a Christian fellowship.

Substantial Conversations

By Martin L. Cox, Jr.
Chair, Bishop’s Committee on Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns

The vast majority of our churches are engaged in some form of ecumenical ministry.  Some have even moved to interreligious ministries with varying faith communities.  The nature of these gatherings vary; lectionary groups are quite popular, shared food pantries, community ministries, ala ‘The Church has Left the Building’, some are engaged in helping the homeless, especially during the winter months, others are simply times to gather and share conversations about life in the parish.  But there is more that really needs to be done if we are ever going to take ecumenical conversation to the next level. 

If we really want to take on serious and dynamic ecumenical engagement then we need to be examining who we are, both historically and theologically, and see how all of this ‘conversation’ works together … moving to serious conversations.

Read more - Word File or PDF

A Missed Ecumenical Opportunity

By Martin L. Cox, Jr.
Chair, Bishop’s Committee on Christian Unity & Interreligious Concerns

    One of the many attempts to try and get the church moving beyond the church doors is “The Church Has Left the Building.”  Whereas there may be some theological dialogue centering on such a concept, the program is here to stay.  Having said that, why not use this as an ecumenical moment?

    This is not a novel idea, but this program would be an ideal time for UM churches to invite others to join in this enterprise.  This has worked in some communities and might want to be explored in all of the communities that offer this program.  It would offer an opportunity for clergy groups to do more than meet for coffee and conversation, and move beyond shared food pantries.

Read more - Word File or PDF

Is our Worship Ecumenical?

By Martin L. Cox, Jr

            Much has been written, and lectured concerning our worship, which is to be user-friendly, inviting, heart-warming, Biblical, evangelical, prophetic, and affirming.  What has not garnered much conversation is whether or not our worship is ecumenical, meaning worship that is open and aware of the variety of Christian theological expressions.

            Rarely do we think about worship being ecumenical.  Ironically, we have been told over and over again how younger generations tend not to be loyal to any one faith community.  Since that is the case, during any given worship service there may be non-United Methodists worshipping with us, especially younger people.  They come from various Christian faith communities, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.  Many come with little understanding of the Christian faith.

Read More - Word File or PDF