The Ecumenical Movement: An Introductory History

The Ecumenical Movement: An Introductory History

The Ecumenical Movement: An Introductory History

The Ecumenical Movement: An Introductory History

Synopsis

Provides an overview of the major characteristics and themes of the ecumenical movement, which has sought to bring unity to the various Christian churches.

Excerpt

The ecumenical movement has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I was raised in a family that appreciated both the tradition of Eastern and Western Christianity and in a neighborhood where good friends belonged to different churches. As I walked to elementary school and later to high school, I passed many church buildings. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me and I explored them. Often, I experienced the worship and met with the pastors of these communities of faith. As an undergraduate and graduate student, the issue of church divisions and unity was a thread uniting many of my academic and vocational interests. As a theologian, teacher, and pastor, I have been a part of many prayer services, dialogues, and expressions of social concern reflecting the ecumenical commitment of the churches. With friends, colleagues, and parishioners, I have experienced the tragic consequences of church divisions and the joyous appreciation of church unity.

This book has a very modest intention. It is designed to introduce the topic of the ecumenical movement to a wider audience, especially those studying the Christian Church and Christianity in the past century. The ecumenical movement is a process through which many of the Christian churches are seeking to overcome past divisions and to be visibly united in common faith, worship, and service. Throughout the twentieth century, the many expressions of the ecumenical movement have affected all aspects of church life, its worship, theology, mission, and service in every part of the world. The movement has touched the lives of most Christians wherever the church is present. It is a movement of reconciliation that has by no means been completed.

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