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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2015 Christian Unity Gathering

NCCC logo2011 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 ahead.

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.

Commission on international affairs addresses issues related to religion and violence

WCC meetingViolence perpetrated in the name of religion was highlighted as “a defining issue of our generation” by Canon David Porter when he spoke to members of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC). United Methodist representative, the Rev. Stephen Sidorak ecumenical staff officer for the OCUIR, was in attendance.

Porter, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as director for reconciliation at Lambeth Palace in London, joined the WCC meeting via Skype on 17 February. The meeting has brought together CCIA members who will set directions for the work of the Commission in coming years.


At the meeting, Porter said that religiously sanctified violence is a global challenge, and not just an issue of the Arab world. “The reality is that those promoting such violence are looking deep into their own religious traditions and are attempting to find justifications for their actions,” he said.  (More ... )

Register Now for the National Workshop on Christian Unity

 For over 50 years, the National Workshop on Christian Unity has been gathering each year at a different city throughout the United States to bring together all those involved in the work of Christian Unity, welcoming delegates of church judicatories and ecumenists from all churches who share one faith, one baptism in Jesus Christ. We discover that there is so much more that we share than the focus on  differences which has kept us separated far too long.

The National Workshop on Christian Unity is the only national gathering of its kind in the world, intending to equip those given the responsibility of seeking unity with ongoing formation with excellent plenaries and seminars, opportunities throughout the week to join together in prayer, and provide a context for fellowship from which friendships can develop, friendships that are the starting place and cornerstone of any work of unity in the Body of Christ. In addition to the workshps will be the United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training (UMEIT).  UMEIT is a networking opportunity for United Methodists to learn best practices from ecumenical leaders working across the church. Please choose the UMEIT network when registering for the National Workshop. 


 Register now!

OCUIR welcomes new Associate Ecumenical Staff Officer

Jean Hawxhurst(New York City) — A Kentucky District Superintendent who sees herself as a “bridge-builder” and “cultural-shifter,” has joined the staff of The United Methodist Council of Bishops’ Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) with offices here.

As Associate Ecumenical Staff Officer, the Rev. Jean Hawxhurst will focus on developing a network of ecumenical leaders across the denomination to live out Christ’s vision of unity in the world.

“Jean has a solid sense of the unique gifts and graces the United Methodist Church brings to the ecumenical and interreligious table,” said the Rev. Stephen Sidorak, ecumenical staff officer for the OCUIR. “She's a student of all things ecumenical and interreligious and we look forward to her significant contribution to The United Methodist Church and beyond in mentoring a new generation of ecumenical and interreligious leaders.”

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