Getting the filing right

Whether you are using a filing cabinet or work electronically, developing a system for ecumenical work requires clear thinking at the outset. The days when there could be one 'catch all' folder marked 'ecumenism' have long since gone!

Ecumenical files are not just required for ecumenical occasions. Particular items and details will need to be accessible for other meetings. Why? - Because ecumenical work involves interaction on a number of fronts; it cannot be kept in one single compartment. Sometimes you can put a file away until the next meeting of that group. Sometimes you will need it at short notice as you discuss an ecumenical situation or strategy in a denominational meeting eg an appointment to an LEP; ecumenical or Methodist discussion on a social issue.

Whatever the details of your system, ecumenical files therefore need to be readily available to travel. It is better to have a large number of files with detailed titles, than just a few, through which you search impatiently, or soon ignore completely.

Titles for ecumenical work are best gathered in one distinct section, so that they can be quickly identified and extracted.

From experience, useful titles are likely to include the following:

• Anglican-Methodist Covenant
• Churches Together in England (CTE)
• Church Leaders/Representatives Meetings
• Church Leaders/Representatives Database
• Connexional Ecumenical Officers/Committees
• County Ecumenical Council/Sponsoring body
• County Ecumenical Officer - or equivalent
• Denominational Files eg United Reformed Church, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Anglicans, Salvation Army, Black Majority Churches, New Churches, Quakers
• District Ecumenical Officers
• Europe
• Group for Local Unity (GLU)
• Local Churches Together Groups
• Local Ecumenical Partnerships - listed alphabetically
• Local Ecumenical Partnerships - Policies and Procedures
• Local Sharing Agreements
• Non-formal Local Covenants
• Projects/ Programmes
• Resource Booklets - particular ecumenical ventures or projects
• World Council of Churches (WCC)

It would be wise to have these files in place from the outset, see them fill up gradually, and amend or expand in the light of experience.

When you collect a file because there is a particular difficulty or an important decision to make, it is a good idea to contact the appropriate district ecumenical officer for background or updating.

(This note could usefully be discussed with your office colleagues and therefore copied to them).

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