Thursday, December 03, 2009

Committee increases emphasis on ecumenism at the local level.

The Church of the Brethren’s Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) met in Elgin, Ill., on Sept. 24-26. The fall meeting is the annual launch to the CIR’s realm of responsibilities. The committee also participates in three conference calls throughout the year, and has responsibilities at Annual Conference including written and oral presentations to the delegate body.

In light of new denominational structure and the changing face of ecumenism, the group reviewed the continuing viability and purpose of CIR. The committee agreed that it is time to re-cast the vision of CIR by shifting energy to giving voice to ecumenical efforts at the congregational level. This includes calling out congregational stories of interfaith dialogue and activities, validating risks and commitments of congregations, encouraging congregations to be more outwardly focused, and working with the Office of Ministry and Congregational Life Ministries to provide resources for ecumenical activities.

From the list of CIR priorities for the upcoming year, three areas were highlighted: to anticipate engagement in conversations with Evangelishe Kirche von Westphalia in Germany regarding the apology given to Brethren bodies at the anniversary event in 2008; to examine and identify the ongoing relationship of CIR activities with the membership of the church; and to celebrate local ecumenical relationships already formed and flourishing, while inspiring the development of additional opportunities.

The committee also received a report from Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, who is serving the final months of his second year as vice-president of the executive committee of the National Council of Churches; and a report on the history of the Baptist movement--recognizing the 400th anniversary of the earliest Baptist churches--given by ex-officio member Jerry Cain, president of Judson University in Elgin.

Members of the committee are Melissa Bennett, Jim Eikenberry, Jim Hardenbrook, Steve Reid, Paul Roth, and Melissa Troyer. Roth and Eikenberry were named as co-chairs.

-- Melissa Troyer is a CIR member from Middlebury, Ind.

Source: 12/3/2009 Newsline

No comments: