Programme for 2008

  • Centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

    • Service of Celebration and Commitment
      Friday 18 January 2008, Westminster Abbey, 5 pm

      This national event was led by the four ecumenical Presidents of Churches Together in England, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Primate of the Armenians in Britain and the Commissioner of the Salvation Army.

      The Society was involved in making arrangements for the service, which imaginatively combined the liturgical structure of Orthodox and Western worship with opportunities for open prayer true to spirituality among Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians. The service was an act of thanksgiving for the many prayers answered in the last hundred years and rededicated the churches of England to finding their unity according to Christ's will and prayer. It was also the occasion for the commissioning of the new General Secretary of Churches Together in England.

    • Annual Day of Prayer at Westminster Abbey
      Saturday 19th January, 10am to Evensong at 3 pm

      With workshops and worship from the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Greek Orthodox community and an introduction on the Week of Prayer from Mark Woodruff

    Follow this link to visit a dedicated website for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, its history, work and continuing urgent purpose, set up by the Society to mark the Centenary.

  • What is a 'Church in the Proper Sense'?
    Tuesday 15 April, Cheneygates, Westminster Abbey

    A number of members voiced a need to have a discussion on the way the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has contributed to ecumenical dialogue, first in Dominus Iesus and then in the wake of the restoration of the 1962 Tridentine Rite, the "Responses to Questions concerning Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church". Professor Nicholas Lash, emeritus Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, offered his analysis of these developments and how they relate to the teaching set down at Vatican II on the Catholic understanding of the Church and the consequences for relations beyond the Roman Catholic Church. Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon Theologian at the Abbey responded in dialogue. Click here to read the report of the seminar.

    Nicholas Lash's address was based on a chapter of his new book, Theology for Pilgrims. This is available from Darton, Longman and Todd, price 14.95.

    The Annual General Meeting of the Society took place before the debate. Click here to view the Minutes.

  • Reconciliation in Christ - Unity and the Doctrine of the Atonement
    Saturday 14 June, Cheneygates, Westminster Abbey, 10-30 am to Evensong at 3 pm

    The atonement and the Christian doctrine of sacrifice - are they serving reconciliation in Christ, or are they Touchstones of Disunity?.

    The doctrine of the Atonement has been controversial within Anglican thinking in recent years, marking out the different principles held by Evangelicals, Anglican Catholics and those in the liberal traditions. It also goes to the heart of Catholicity and the nature and purpose of the Church in other Churches and Communions. Again, the understanding of Christ's sacrifice in the Eucharist for the Orthodox and Catholic Churches remains a point of profound difference with Evangelicals and Reformed Christians, however much dialogue has incread mutual understanding and thinking in common.

    And what of the Jewish origins of our concept of sacrifice, and our relations with contemporary Judaism? And seeing that self-sacrifice and martyrdom are at the core of Christians' common faith in Christ, how does that reflect on our understanding of Islam in the contemporary world where similar ideas remain potent?

    For further background from the Evangelical Alliance, which hosted a conference on the Atonement from an Evangelical perspective in 2005, follow this link to their website.

    Canon Nicholas Sagovsky generously hosted the Society in its return to the Abbey for the day. The speakers were

    • Nicholas Sagovksy
    • Douglas Knight
    • Hilary Martin
    • Mark Woodruff
    The text of the papers will be supplied in a special publication in autumn 2009.

  • Re-imaging Religious Belonging - Ecumenical Responses to Changing Religiosity in Europe
    Saturday 21 June, William Booth College, Denmark Hill, London, 9-30 am to 3-30 pm

    Dr David Cornick, the new General Secretary of Churches Together in England, was the speaker. His address is here.

  • Moving Forward Together - The Future Shape of the Churches
    21-26 August, Centre for Ecumenical Research, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium

    The European Society for Ecumenical Research, Societas Oecumenica, and the Faculty of Theology's Centre for Ecumenical Research at KU Leuven's biennial consultation. For more information in English, German and French on this event, please visit the Societas Oecumenica webpages for this event.

  • United with Mary in Prayer - Ecumenism and the Mother of God
    5-8 September, Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (London Branch) Conference at the Friars, Aylesford


    • Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia - The Burning Bush: The Teaching of Fr Sergei Bulgakov on the Mother of God
    • Mgr Andrew Faley, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference - 'He was lost and is found': A Catechesis for Ecumenism
    • Dr David Cornick, General Secretary of Churches Together in England - Beginning with Agnes Smith: The Reformed and Mary
    • Dr Chris O'Donell OCarm - Relating to Mary, Mother of all God's Children
    • Prebendary Norman Wallwork - Mary, Mother of all God's Children
    • Sister Judith Gray CSC, Chaplain at Westminster Abbey - Mary of Nazareth and an Inclusive Imaging of God
    • Dr Mark Chapman, Vice Principal of Ripon Hall, Cuddesdon - Mary, Dr Pusey and Reunion

    Cost Further details are available on the website of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary or by email to our member Amanda Dickie.

  • Ecumenism & the Limits of Diversity - How much can we accommodate different cultures and other faiths
    Saturday 8 November, Westminster College, Cambridge

    This was a collaboration between the Society and the Ecumenical Centre in the Cambridge Theological Federation. The speakers were:

    • Dr Reza Shah Kazemi, Ismaili Centre, London - read his paper here
    • Dr Michael Ipgrave, Archdeacon of Southwark - read his paper here
    See the report on the October 2011 colloquium between Churches Together in England and the Christian Muslim Forum, Christian Engagement with Islam: context and developments in England, by clicking here