I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.

As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

-- John 17:20-21, NRSV

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How the new structure better serves The United Methodist Church PDF Print E-mail
Christian unity and interreligious relationships is the work of every one of us and critical to making disciples of Jesus Christ.   The ultimate purpose for the integration of the OCUIR into the Council of Bishops is to strengthen our United Methodist ecumenical religious witness around the world through the leadership of the Council.   The transition will give United Methodists a single place to obtain information and resources on building up unity with Christians and interreligious partners.  The transition allows staff to attend diligently to the ecumenical and interreligious education and formation of bishops which will encourage stronger awareness and connections to annual conferences.  OCUIR staff will have direct contact with Central Conference bishops in order to improve outreach and communication worldwide.  
The idea of “deepening” interreligious and ecumenical relationships means that we want to begin to know each other and work together in new ways.  We believe the body of Christ is strengthened if we work together.  This structure will allow United Methodists to rethink our current relationships and gives us an opportunity to strengthen our ecumenical and interreligious witness.  It will also allow us to think of a new future that supports the denomination wide goal of creating more vital congregations. Vital congregations have an opportunity for an ecumenical witness in their neighborhoods through outreach.   We see ourselves in an ecumenical spring, as the Psalmist says “singing to the lord a new song”.
Moving forward, United Methodists can expect to look to the bishops as ecumenical leaders; see our denomination truly in a worldwide witness; and as Jesus prayed for unity in order the world might believe, this is fulfilling our purpose for making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.


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