Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Ecumenical Stakeholders Group

The first meeting of the Methodist Church's Ecumenical Stakeholders' Group (ESG) will take place on Thursday 7 October 2010.  This group was established by Methodist Council and its remit is reproduced at the end of this post.  The remit is likely to be reviewed early in the life of the group.

The current membership of the group includes from England Peter Whittaker, Chair of West Yorkshire District; from Scotland Lily Twist, Chair of Scotland District and Bill Reid, Connexional Liaison Officer; from Wales Stephen Wigley, Chair of the Wales District and Ian Morris from  the Cymru District.  The meeting will be chaired by Eluned Williams from Wales.  Connexional Team staff in attendance will include Chris Elliott , Secretary for External Relations, Gareth Powell, Head of the Governance Support Cluster, Ken Howcroft, Ecumenical Officer and Chris Sissons, Assistant Ecumenical Officer.

The agenda for this first meeting will include the following items.  I will blog in more detail about some of these topics later.  Please comment if any item is of particular interest to you.  As this is the first meeting of the group, a number of items will help ESG determine its future agenda.   It will normally meet once a year and communicate between times by email.  However, it will most likely meet again in spring 2011 in order to establish its agenda.
  1. Background to Ecumenical Stakeholders Group
  2. Framework for engaging with and funding of Ecumenical Instruments
  3. Framework for engaging with and making decisions concerning ecumenical partners in a national context, especially the Commission of Covenanted Churches, Wales
  4. The Uniting Churches in Britain
  5. Ecumenical Pages of Web site and Ecumenical Blog
  6. Ecumenical Reception – a paper for future discussion
The following is the remit for the group, at that time called the Ecumenical Reference Group, when Methodist Council set it up in April 2008:

1.1.1. Therefore the Group proposes that an Ecumenical Reference Group should be established with the following purpose:
  • Promote the Methodist Church vision for ecumenical partnership and dialogue and stimulate action.
  • Listen to the experiences of those involved in ecumenical partnerships and representation in order to promote good practice.
  • Develop and maintain an overview of ecumenical activity and relationships across Britain and Ireland, ensuring that the diversity of local expression informs the Team and other ecumenical activity.
  • Encourage coherence and consistency in all ecumenical activity.
  • Encourage, in collaboration with other panels and dialogue groups, the expression of ecumenical commitment at all levels of connexional life.
  • Offer advice on specific ecumenical work undertaken by members of the Team as well as pay attention to how work may be done ecumenically across the whole Team.
  • Offer advice on ecumenical subscriptions and appointments to ecumenical dialogues/bodies.
1.1.2. It would not be for the group to receive reports from other ecumenical groups or instruments. However it would need to respond to the experiences of such groups, which may be by way of offering a critique of work undertaken in light of the overall vision for ecumenical work. To do this the Ecumenical Reference Group would need to relate to and interact with:
  • The Faith and Order Committee, Ecumenism Resource Group
  • MAPUM (Methodist/Anglican Panel for Unity in Mission)
  • Joint Implementation Commission
  • Methodist – Catholic Dialogue Commission
  • Methodist - URC Committee
  • Fresh Expressions
  • Meetings of District Ecumenical Officers
1.1.3. Membership (non ex-officio members to be appointed by Council):
  • Secretary for External Relationships
  • Connexional Ecumenical Officer
  • Assistant Connexional Ecumenical Officer
  • Those responsible for ecumenical work at a national level in Wales and Scotland
  • Secretary of the Faith and Order Committee (or Convener of Faith and Order Ecumenism Resource Group)
  • Other members able to offer experience of:
o Local ecumenical work, both formal and informal with a range of partners.
o National dialogues and instruments.
o Ecumenical trends and developments at an international level.

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