Ecumenism is the name of a movement that promotes the recovery of Christian unity and works towards the vision of one, undivided Church.
The word is derived from the Greek oikoumene which means ‘the whole inhabited world’.
The vision includes the search for visible unity of the world’s Christian Churches and the move to make this goal the concern of all Christians. This task is part of God’s reconciling mission in fulfilling the call of Jesus’ prayer in the gospel of St John, chapter 17, verses 22-23:
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
The modern ecumenical movement began about 100 years ago and the Anglican Communion was involved at the start. With its diverse churches, cultures and expressions, the Anglican Communion is well placed to facilitate, model and encourage Christian unity.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Patriarch Theophilos, Bethlehem, 2020
The ecumenical work of the Anglican Communion, untaken between the meetings of the Lambeth Conference in 2008 and 2022, is summarised in Anglican Communion Unity, Faith & Order 2008-2022
The work of ecumenism in the Anglican Communion is seen is a range of ways: