Cumbria Becomes First Ecumenical County in England

On Sunday 27th November 2011 at 3pm Church leaders from theMethodist, United Reformed and Anglican Churches in Cumbria willsign an historic ecumenical Declaration of Intent.

Supported by the other five main Christian denominations in Cumbria(Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Baptist, Quaker and Church ofScotland) this declaration will mean that Cumbria becomes the firstecumenical county in England with churches agreeing on acounty-level to work more closely together for the sake ofunity.

Building on a shared faith, the Declaration affirms the commongoals of the three churches: "We believe that we are being calledby God to realise more deeply our common life and mission, to shareand respect the distinctive contributions of our traditions, and tobring about closer collaboration in all areas of witness andservice." The Declaration goes on to commit these threechurches:

a. "to seek out every possible opportunity for joint initiatives atLocal and County Level in mission to all the people of Cumbria. b.to work together to equip both lay and ordained ministry wheneverpossible, and to share that ministry wherever appropriate. c. tocontinue the work of developing strategies whereby we optimise theuse of our church buildings for the benefit of communitiesthroughout the county."

The service in Ambleside on 27th November will be attended byChurch Leaders from all 8 denominations in Cumbria, and byrepresentatives from the national churches involved. A message ofsupport from the General Secretary of the World Council ofChurches, Dr. Fykse Tveit, will be relayed during theservice.

This will be a time for celebration, dedication and commitment forall believers in Cumbria and beyond.

The Declaration will be signed by the Church Leaders of the threedenominations involved:

Rev. Richard Church, Moderator of the North West Synod of theUnited Reformed Church said: "The United Reformed Church has alwaysbeen passionate about the visible unity of the Church. We are soencouraged that in Cumbria this dream is being brought closer toaccomplished reality."

Rev. Richard Teal, Chair of Cumbria Methodist District said: ''I amdelighted that we are signing the Declaration of Intent. It is aresult of vision, hard work, prayer, trust and openness. It is nowimportant that we do not just sign it but ensure its far reachingimplications become a reality."

Rt. Rev. James Newcome, Anglican Bishop of Carlisle said: "I ampersonally thrilled that we are taking a significant step towardsan Ecumenical County and highly delighted that our 'Declaration ofIntent' was unanimously welcomed by Carlisle Diocesan Synod!"