Churches seeking new ways to share

 — Feb. 5, 20055 févr. 2005

“Ministering together when we are small and scattered…” That is how retired Presbyterian minister Jim McKay paraphrased the thrust of the upcoming Collaborative Ministries Conference being hosted by the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism.

Marie Klombies puts it this way: “The purpose of the conference is to bring together people in Christian ministry — ordained, lay and clergy from rural and urban areas — to share and examine how we share our culture and religion, how we praise and love God and continue with what He has set out for us to do to show His love in our communities.” She and husband Bob Klombies are co-chairing the conference.

Collaborative efforts between churches is hardly new. Bob Klombies points out that particularly in places with small populations, churches are already working together while maintaining their individual practices.

Though retired, Anglican priest Colin Clay is kept busy doing “pulpit fill” work. He sees these as difficult and trying times for rural churches, where “people are aging and many are moving to the city. You go into a town and see a big signboard advertising seven churches. You know full well the chances of all of them surviving is doubtful.”

Given that, he adds, “if we are called by the Christian Gospel to be one, we should look long and hard at what is keeping us apart.”

“Ecumenism is being driven by more than practical things,” says Bob Klombies. “There is also an attitudinal change. Churches are opening up to each other where, at one time, each saw itself as the One True Way.”

The three-day conference on collaborative ministries will be held at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel April 18-21. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Phyllis Anderson, associate dean in the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University. A minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Anderson is also the director of the Institute for Ecumenical Theological Studies.

The other guest will be John L. Bell, a minister of the Church of Scotland and a member of the ecumenical Iona Community in Scotland. A hymn and song writer, Bell is vitally concerned with the renewal of congregational worship at the grass roots level.

A slate of workshops covers such topics as How To Get Started In Shared Ministry; Conflict in Ecumenical Settings; Ecumenism in First Nations Ministries; Evangelical-Roman Catholic dialogue; Evangelism in Ecumenical Settings; Inter-church Families and Ecumenical Worship.

Clay is interested in the workshop on Engaging Congregations in Ecumenical Justice Issues. “That sort of thing is already being done in some areas where there isn’t a lot of liturgical cooperation,” he says. “There is no reason in my mind why that can’t be done more.”

“The conference is open to everyone,” Marie Klombies says. “We really encourage the general public to attend. People in ministry already know what’s needed, and lay people are becoming involved because of the decline in ministry in churches.”

And her husband points out that many ecumenical initiatives and shared ministries are not necessarily clergy-driven, but are led by lay people who are taking more and more leadership roles.

Clay believes the trend toward ecumenism in Saskatoon and area owes much to the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, which began in the mid-1980s.

“I’ve seen a growing desire for much more co-operation, and the Centre has had a lot to do with that.”

Posted: Feb. 5, 2005 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Christian unity, Saskatoon, Summer Ecumenical Institute
Transmis : 5 févr. 2005 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Christian unity, Saskatoon, Summer Ecumenical Institute

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