And in conclusion

There will inevitably be ups and downs in ecumenical relationships. There will always be the temptation to go it alone - and anyone may be on the receiving end of somebody's decision to do just that!

Mature relationships ensure disappointments do not become resentments. Good humour soothes. And the kind of efficiency which is both humane and consistent benefits everybody. Ecumenical working is a sure test of our ability to work collaboratively.

Learning the language - honouring the processes - mastering the practicalities - all this benefits the work. Yet at its heart there must be a Christian spirituality which sees church leader colleagues and Partner Churches not as extra items on a crowded agenda, but as companions in God's mission to the world, strangers no longer, but pilgrims together.

Spirituality shapes attitude, and attitude is all important.

Lord God we thank you
For calling us into the company
Of those who trust in Christ
And seek to obey his will.
May your Spirit guide and strengthen us
In mission and service to your world;
For we are strangers no longer
But pilgrims together on the way to your Kingdom.
Amen

(The widely used 'Pilgrim Prayer' originating from the 'Not Strangers but Pilgrims' Inter-Church Process in the 1980's and is included in the Methodist Worship Book.)

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