“A pilgrimage together, hand-in-hand”: Churches Together in England celebrates 30 years
On 1 September 2020, Churches Together in England (CTE) celebrates the 30th anniversary of its formation. CTE’s General Secretary, Rev’d Dr Paul Goodliff, reflects on the last 30 years, while looking ahead to the many opportunities for churches to worship, serve and witness together into the future…
In the late 1980s there was a growing conviction that the existing ecumenical body, The British Council of Churches, was no longer effective. Its work was often ignored by its member churches, and a major weakness was the status of the Catholic Church as an observer only. In 1985 during his visit to Glasgow, Pope St John Paul II, observing that the whole Christian community are ‘pilgrims on earth’, asked “can we not make that pilgrimage together, hand-in-hand?” So was born the metaphor for a new kind of ecumenism – one that would fully embrace the Catholic Church (and over the years since its birth in 1990, many more churches) – becoming churches together in pilgrimage.
The transition process
On our CTE website you can read the story of the process that enabled The British Council of Churches to transition to the new ecumenical instruments in the four nations of these islands — Irish, Welsh, Scots and English, together with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (then The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland).
My reflection here highlights the key conference that brought this process to its conclusion.