Image via WikipediaChurches Together in England (CTE) supports the work of a network of County Ecumenical Officers. These are not actually a part of CTE, as they are appointed by their sponsoring bodies, but their support is one of the services CTE offers to the churches. Similarly, CTE also supports a small group of National Ecumenical Officers (NEOs).
Who are the NEOs? They are officers from most of the mainstream churches, who have some time dedicated to ecumenical work. They are usually staff of the churches, who designate them as members of the NEOs group. Some churches have two NEOs.
The NEOs group will be meeting today for a twenty four hour consultation. As well as staff from CTE there will also be representatives from the Methodist Church, Church of England, URC, Baptist Union, Roman Catholic Church and Salvation Army. I think that's everyone!
This group does not have a formal agenda and should be thought of as a think tank for the churches. Its members are in touch with local churches and also the ongoing national (and to some degree international) conversations. This consultation is an opportunity to take stock, identify trends and suggest new initiatives.
Consequently, it is difficult to be certain about what will be on the agenda. Nothing daunted, here are three items likely to figure in the conversations:
- Follow-up to Edinburgh 2010 Consultation
- Alternating ministry in Local Ecumenical Partnerships, including the implications of the Church of England's new Common Tenure legislation
- Intermediate Bodies: their common functions & expectations. These are currently being reviewed by CTE.