Fairfield to Host International Ecumenism Conference, June 9-12
In collaboration with the University of Durham in the U.K., from June 9 to 12, the Center for Catholic Studies will host the conference, “Receptive Ecumenism in International Perspective: Contextual Ecclesial Learning” on campus. The international conference will bring together people of many different Christian traditions from five continents. It is the third such conference, and the first in the United States.
Receptive Ecumenism is the principle that thought leaders of varying religious traditions come together to learn from one another. The goal is for each of these Christian traditions to grow by listening, accepting, and receiving each other’s gifts, thus deepening the respective identity of each religion while fostering a more intimate relationship among them.
Dr. Paul Lakeland, the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield, (pictured) is organizing the event jointly with Professor Paul D. Murray, professor of systematic theology & dean and director of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University.
“This conference will press the issue of Receptive Ecumenism in the more complex contexts of global Christian reality, and in relation to some of the sharpest issues providing causes of tension and division within and between the traditions,” Dr. Lakeland said.
More than 120 distinguished religious leaders, activists, and academics are expected to attend - the most international participation to date. In addition to University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., attendees will include Rev. Dr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, S.J., provincial of the East African Jesuit Province; Rt. Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III, the former 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, USA and former co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission; the Most Rev. David Moxon, the archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See; and Dr. Serene Jones, president, Union Theological Seminary.
There will also be representatives from the Vatican, the South Australian Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Harvard University, and Trinity Theological College, Singapore.
“We will be learning from a much more international community that will include people from the global south, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, among other parts of the world,” Dr. Lakeland added. “We’re pushing the idea of Receptive Ecumenism further than at the other two conferences. Previously, those attending mainly came from Europe, North America and Australia, but this one will be more international.”
The book, Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning (Oxford University Press, 2008), encapsulates the many ideas brought forth in the initial conference.
This conference is sponsored by generous grants from ATF Press; The Anglican Communion Office; The Association of Interchurch Families; The Australian Catholic University; The Bible Society of Great Britain; The Centro Pro Unione, Rome; The Commission for Faith and Order of the WCC; The Ecumenist; The Episcopal Church; The Global Christian Forum; The Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame; The Irish School of Ecumenics; The RASKOB Foundation; The South Australian Council of Churches; and The United Reformed Church of Great Britain.
Pictured: Paul F. Lakeland, PhD, Director of Fairfield University’s Center for Catholic Studies and the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies.