Every year ecumenical activists from every Christian denomination gather for an annual meeting.
This year, the annual National Workshop on Christian Unity will meet in Oklahoma City. It is the first time for Oklahoma City to serve as host for this prestigious group of clergy, scholars and laity.
While firmly committed to the diverse doctrines and practices of their various communions, the ecumenical activists attending these meetings share a common hope.
They all desire to see a day when the entire Christian community is united in a spirit of prayerful humility and working together to meet the needs of their communities.
The theme for the Oklahoma City conference is “The Hope of Our Calling” and is based on the text of Ephesians 1:18.
In an interview announcing the conference, William Tabbernee, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches and chair of the local planning committee for the meeting, spoke about the resurgence of ecumenism.
“For a while people talked about the ‘winter of ecumenism’ as if, somehow, it all disappeared. I’ve said on a number of occasions … when it is winter in one part of the world, it is summer in another,” said Tabbernee.
The Oklahoma City meeting will begin with an ecumenical worship service at First United Methodist Church on the evening of April 16.
Participants will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II with seminars and plenary sessions on April 17 at the Skirvin Hilton. Many view Vatican II as the most significant advance toward ecumenism during the 20th century.
Additional seminars, plenary sessions and worship services will be held on April 18.
A number of noted national and international speakers will lead nine different seminars over two days.
Among them will be: Kevin McDonald, archbishop emeritus of Southwark, England, who served at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican; John Borelli, special assistant for Interreligious Initiative to Georgetown University; Bishop Frank Griswold, former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA; Karen Westerfield Tucker, professor of worship at Boston University School of Theology; and Donald McCoid, executive for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the ELCA.
Other speakers include Teresa E. Snorton, bishop of the Fifth Christian Methodist Episcopal District (Alabama and Georgia); and Bishop John F. White, ecumenical and urban affairs officer of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Bruce Prescott, now retired, served as executive director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists from 1998-2014.