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
Ecumenical / Interfaith Headlines
By Donald E. Messer*
Amid the distracting noise in the heart of
bustling Berlin, Germany, exists an ecumenical, interfaith Room of
Silence where people from around the world stop to pray and meditate.
within the famed Brandenburg Gate, where opposing military forces and
political ideologies clashed until the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989,
the Room of Silence was created as a symbol of peace and inclusiveness
for all people.
Persons are encouraged to enter without fear. A
statement of purpose invites individuals to "remain in silence, . . .
relax, gain strength for daily life, . . . meditate and to feel
gratitude . . . ." The sponsors say the room is "a symbol . . . to
tolerance and the brotherhood of humanity embracing all nationalities
and ideologies, a continuous reminder against violence and xenophobia .
. . a small step towards peace and spiritual unity.”
As an active participant in Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) the United
Methodist Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships
(OCUIR) recommends United Methodist pastors share in a pulpit exchange
with our CUIC partners.
The hope is such an exchange will enliven visible unity among the
churches and celebrate the journey we are taking together. Such
exchanges would be between the following faith communions: The African
Methodist Episcopal Church, The African Methodist Episcopal
Zion Church, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Christian
Methodist Church, The Episcopal Church, The International Council of
Community Churches, The Moravian Church (Northern Province), The
Presbyterian Church (USA), The United Church of Christ
and The United Methodist Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America is also a partner in mission and dialogue and may be included.
CUIC suggests the exchanges take place during the Easter Season (between
now and Pentecost on May 24) and between the
International Day of Prayer for Peace (September 21) and World
Communion Sunday (October 4), remembering any non-United Methodist
preacher should be approved in advance by the local District
Click here for suggestions for implementing Churches Uniting in Christ.
By Donald E. Messer*
An Ecumenical Civil Rights Pilgrimage of forty-six laity and clergy,
that started at the birthplace of Baptist preacher Martin Luther King,
Jr., in Atlanta, and ended at the motel where he was martyred in
Memphis, traced not only the struggles of the past but focused on
contemporary issues of justice and equality.
Led from March 5 to 9 by
retired St. Luke's United Methodist pastor, Rev. M. Kent Millard, and
Bob Zehr, both of Indianapolis, the interracial ecumenical group of
Presbyterians, Catholics, Quakers, and United Methodist clergy and
laity, also included students and faculty of Christian Theological
Seminary (a Disciples of Christ seminary), and a seminary student from
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Leymah Gbowee will speak during the opening plenary at the upcoming
Christian Unity Gathering. Gbowee is a well-known peacebuilder and
received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with women of many faiths
to end the civil war in Liberia. Gbowee continues to work with women in
conflict regions as Executive Director of
Women Peace and Security Network (WIPSEN-Africa). As we begin to
explore our priority of Interfaith Relations with a Focus on Peace,
Gbowee's story will be both instructive and inspiring for the work
The 2015 Christian Unity Gathering will be held at the Hilton Washington
Dulles in Herndon, VA outside Washington, DC May 7-9. The event will be
a celebration of ecumenism and an opportunity to put that spirit into
practice as we continue our work to respond
to the mass incarceration crisis and explore our second priority,
interfaith relations with a focus on peace.
The program will include ample opportunity for all attendees to engage
with one another through group discussion, input from expert resource
people to help inform our discussion, and service of remembrance for the
100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
held at Washington National Cathedral. Also importantly, both the
Governing Board and Convening Tables will meet as well.
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