Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation Bible School as grassroots ecumenism

I wrote Ecumenism Means You, Too: Ordinary Christians and the Quest for Christian Unity (Cascade Books, 2010) to encourage various expressions of grassroots-level ecumenical engagement. Chapter 4 of the book suggests specific things local congregations and their members can do locally to make substantial contributions to the quest for Christian unity. I could add to that chapter something happening this week in Shelby, North Carolina, where Ross Grove Baptist Church and The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer are teaming up to offer the children of the community a jointly sponsored Vacation Bible School (which my son is attending). An article in The Shelby Star explains how this cooperative venture came to be.

As a member of the Baptist delegation to the North American phase of the 2000-2005 international conversations between the Anglican Consultative Council and the Baptist World Alliance, I'm especially pleased to see this local embodiment of ecumenical cooperation between Baptists and the ecclesial tradition from which they separated in the seventeenth century. It occurs to me that churches that plan similar cooperative Vacation Bible Schools could also offer an adult track jointly exploring the respective traditions of the sponsoring churches and studying any reports or joint statements issued by ecumenical dialogues which those communions may have held with one another (such as the Anglican-Baptist dialogue report).

1 comment:

  1. Steve,
    I love this stuff! Haven't read Ecuminism Means You, Too, but I look forward to it. A similar VBS example, complete with adult track, comes from Washington, DC. One of my two congregations, Washington Community Fellowship (Multi-denominational/Mennonite) is working with Grace DC (PCA) on a VBS and lectures for adults this week. ( and

    Another great DC example of local ecuminism is called Urban Hands, a youth study & service week from multiple congregations & neighborhoods: If you're ever in DC, there's always something good going on in Christ's Church; I hope you get to check it out.