Courses in Ecumenism

Studying ecumenism

Strategic Importance of Ecumenical Theological Education

Ecumenical theological education is of strategic importance for Christianity in the 21st century. This was the message coming from the IV Congress of the World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions (WOCATI) held in Neapolis, Thessaloniki and Volos (Greece) from 31 May to 7 June 2008. The congress affirmed that churches, donor agencies and universities should pay more attention to promoting and funding ecumenical theological education, including exchange programmes of teachers and students between different regions and churches. Ecumenical theological education is crucial for strengthening the identity of churches, as well as their openness to ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, the congress emphasized.

"There is an immense need for increased efforts to promote ecumenical theological education in view of the enormous challenges posed by fast growing churches, grave inequalities in access to higher theological education, and the growing trends of religious fundamentalism and fragmentation", said Dr Dietrich Werner, coordinator of the ecumenical theological education programme of the World Council of Churches (WCC). "As churches need well-trained theologians, pastors and church leaders, new forms of international solidarity and sharing for faculty development, library and curriculum improvement as well as quality standards in theological education are needed", he added.

Some 25 regional case studies and reports about key developments in theological education were discussed. They will be made available at the WOCATI and WCC websites. WOCATI is a global umbrella organization bringing together some 25 regional associations of theological schools.

Ecumenical Courses

The Methodist Church cannot endorse courses but here is a list of courses and institutions known to us which may be worth exploration. Some courses do not run every year and so for further information it is usually best to contact the college direct.

  • Sarum College offers MA Degrees in Christian Spirituality and Christian Liturgy.  They have said these are the UK's only ecumenical masters degrees in these subjects.  The programme for Christian Sprituality, for example, offers a unique interdisciplinary exploration: students examine the different ways Christians seek to relate to God, the underlying theology and the particular practices or lifestyles the differences express.   
  • The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, near Geneva offers a variety of residential seminars and courses which change from year to year.
  • The Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Ecumenical Studies is based on the main road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It offers a variety of programmes of study mainly related to biblical work.
  • The Irish School of Ecumenics is based in at Trinity College Dublin. Their Intercultural Theology and Inter-religious Studies programme may be of interest to those who are seeking a postgraduate degree or a sabbatical study programme.
  • The Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv offers a distance learning Masters Programme in Ecumenical Studies. The Ukrainian Catholic Church has suffered appalling persecutions but still has a very deep commitment to ecumenism.
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