Posted April 1, 2003
Washington Theological Consortium
EcuNotes #13 (July 2002)
Gideon Goosen, Bringing Churches Together: A Popular Introduction to Ecumenism.
Second, revised and enlarged edition. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2001
This volume briefly surveys the principal ecumenical topics: the theology and history of ecumenism; the Churches of the East, the Protestant Churches and the Roman Catholic Church; the historical and theological causes of separation; current ecumenical dialogues; ecumenical ethics; and inter?religious dialogue. There are some practical hints for ecumenical efforts, sketches of the Protestant Reformers, a glossary and a good number of photographs, maps, diagrams and charts that provide helpful information; each chapter is accompanied by discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading. On the plus side, the book is very readable and enthusiastically ecumenical; on the minus side, the treatment of some issues is over simplified.
Holy Saints and Fiery Preachers: The Anthropology of Protestantism in Mexico and Central America. Edited by James W. Dow and Alan R. Sandstrom. Westport, CT and London: Praeger Publishers, 2001
In 1990, David Stoll posed the question: Is Latin America Turning Protestant? Anthropologists have proposed a variety of empirical answers to explain this religious phenomenon: social dislocation, urbanization, economic recession, political repression, changing value-systems, etc. Five of the eleven essays in this volume are case studies of Protestant groups in Mexico: another essay considers an indigenous church in Belize, while three other essays study religious groups in Guatemala -- these field reports and biographical accounts provide fascinating reading. The introductory and concluding essays indicate that the factors involved in the "explosion of Protestantism in Latin America" are "hypercomplex."
The Winter 2001 number of The Journal of Ecumenical Studies presents nine papers from the 2001 annual conference of the North American Academy of Ecumenists; the conference topic was "The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification: Soteriological and Ecclesiological Implications." The contributors, who view the topic from a variety of perspectives, are: Catherine Clifford, Alan Falconer, Lynne Lorenzen, Mutombo Nkulu-N'Sengha, William Petersen, Darlis Swan, Lucian Turcescu, George Vandervelde, and Geoffrey Wainwright.
Thomas Michel, "A Variety of Approaches to Interfaith Dialogue," in the February 2002 issue of Ecumenical Trends discusses four examples of interfaith dialogue:  a Muslim-Christian association for economic improvement;  Muslim-Catholic seminars on religions in the media;  inter-faith education of future Jesuit leaders;  Buddhist-Christian monastic dialogue. For Michel, 'Opportunities for encountering people of other faiths must become an integral part of religious education if we hope to build within our own communities a "culture of Dialogue."'
Consultation on Church Union => Churches Uniting in Christ:
In January 2002, the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) was dissolved in order to inaugurate a new ecumenical relationship: Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) which brings together nine denominations in a journey of faith that involves mutual recognition as churches and mutual recognition of each other's Baptism in quest of mutual recognition of ordained ministries. The April 2002 issue of Ecumenical Trends contains the keynote presentation of Michael Kinnamon, former COCU General Secretary, plus essays by two Roman Catholic observers, John T. Ford and Emmanuel Sullivan. Information about CUIC is available on the web: www.cuicinfo.org.
Eduardo Fernández, "Latinos and Ecumenism: Compelling Servants in a New Era," Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology 9/2 (November 2002) 5-16, feels that U.S. Latinos "are currently in a strategic place to contribute significantly to a new kairos for ecumenism" since "crossing borders is something most of us have had to do in some way or other."