The Experience of Unity on the Local Level

November 22, 2017

Food for thought:

… With each year of experience in church unity work, I have become more and more convinced that, no matter how important theological work is for reconstituting unity, the real crux for the ecumenical movement is to deepen the experience of unity on the local level. Theological consensus opens the door to church unity, but the only thing that will get us through that door is growing together in newly discovered fellowship and commitment. Communities of believers, even more than articles of belief, need to be reconciled. When I was a student in theology, one of the best pieces of ecumenical advice I received came from a great ecumenist who said, ‘Meet people on a human level first and just get to know them before you try to talk theology with them.’

And that’s just what UniteBoston is giving us the chance to do with its Neighborhood Dinners! The first one took place at the end of October in Tony Lee’s home. Tony is the coordinator of the UB Neighborhood dinners in Revere. It was really lovely. There were 17 of us, the majority of them young adults. A potluck supper, with everybody bringing something to eat or drink; good conversation over a carnival of tastes! That week we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, so Kelly asked me to share some thoughts about how this centenary observance, being the first one to happen in an ecumenical era, was different. As we all sat in the living room enjoying dessert, a good half hour discussion ensued. …

Paulist Fr. Tom Ryan, director of the Paulist Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, from a reflection he penned after attending a UniteBoston ecumenical neighborhood dinner.

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