Christian ecumenism - common witness and cooperation - is an important antidote to the credibility crisis faced by organised religion, an Anglican peace advocate has said.
"We need to emphasise time and again the sense of mutuality and interdependence as the basis of relationships between Christians", declared Dr Jenny Plane Te Paa, convener of the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN).
"This is especially important at a time when "denominations are increasingly worried with internal, identity-centred issues and therefore risk a credibility crisis", she added.
Te Paa was speaking at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, after a meeting of the APJN members with staff of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Student Christian Federation on Monday 15 March 2010.
"We all tend to claim our differences in ways that prevent us from acknowledging our commonalities, so that within the churches, the fidelity to our denominations becomes more important than our higher fidelity to our oneness in Christ", said Te Paa.
"Only a theology of mutuality can help us to transcend this through a truly ecumenical attitude", she concluded.
In welcoming the APJN representatives, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, (WCC) the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, emphasised the deep commitment of the Anglican Communion to conciliar ecumenism, "which is not about lofty words, but is rooted in worship and witness so as to inspire our common service to the Lord who calls us to be one".
Tveit highlighted the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) taking place in Kingston, Jamaica, in May next year as an opportunity for "bringing unity to churches in our struggle for peace".
Convened by the WCC, the IEPC "belongs to the whole ecumenical family, as well as to many others concerned with peace", Tveit said.
The APJN is an official network of the Anglican Communion. Some 35 of its members, representing more than 25 Anglican churches, have been meeting from 14 March in Geneva to reflect on common priorities and to learn how to make their voices heard within the United Nations organisations headquartered in the city.
The meeting concludes on 20 March. The network will also prepare its 25th anniversary celebration during the Geneva gathering.
Visit the Anglican Peace and Justice Network here: http://apjn.anglicancommunion.org/
More about the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011: http://www.overcomingviolence.org/en/peace-convocation.html
Also from Ekklesia: 'Fear or Freedom? Why a warring church must change', ed. Simon Barrow (Shoving Leopard, 2008) - http://books.ekklesia.co.uk/content/fear-or-freedom-why-warring-church-m...