Re-establishment of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations
Resolved, that the Executive Council, meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from April 20-23, 2022, strongly supports the work of The Episcopal Church in ecumenical and interreligious relations, building upon the urgent need to foster spiritual and humanitarian partnerships between the diversity of global faith communities at a time of pervasive crisis and division of the human family, and be it further
Resolved, that the Executive Council endorses the re-establishment of the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, the work of which in The Episcopal Church until 2015 was crucial to building powerful relationships that furthered Christian unity and interreligious partnerships, and be it further
Resolved, that the following resolution be submitted to the 80th General Convention, meeting in 2022:
Resolved, the House of ________________ concurring,
That the 80th General Convention amend Canon I.1.2.n by adding a new subsection 4 thereto, to read as follows:
4. A Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to:
i. Coordinate and encourage the work of church unity among Christian partners and collaboration and peacebuilding with interfaith partners, conciliar, and interfaith organizations.
ii. Recommend policies and strategies to the General Convention for the affirmation and development of ecumenical and interreligious partnerships.
iii.Collaborate with ecumenical and interreligious partners, conciliar and interfaith bodies to develop tools which address issues of power, racial justice, colonialism, imperialism, and the historical racial bias in ecumenical endeavors.
iv. Support Diocesan and local engagement in interreligious and ecumenical ministry.
v. Encourage theological work that recognizes the current and future ecumenical and religious landscape, contextual theologies and partnerships with conciliar bodies and others to address the Gospel issues of unity, justice, and peace, and to respond as requested to Conciliar, ecumenical or other interreligious documents.
vi. In collaboration with the churchwide Office on Ecumenical and Inter-religious relations, develop and recommend to the General Convention comprehensive and coordinated policies and guidelines for inter-religious relations and ecumenical dialogues and conversations.
vii. Recommend strategies and policies to General Convention for training and leadership development, with networks, diocesan ecumenical officers, faith-based bodies within and beyond the Episcopal Church.
viii. Study the needs and trends of the ecumenical and interreligious landscape, to support and encourage the development of resources for ecumenical and interreligious formation.
In 2015, when most of the Joint Standing Commissions were “sun-setted”, the Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations (SCEIR) was among them. In 2018, at the 79th General Convention, the need for such a commission, task force, or official advisory committee became clear. Resolution DO55 was passed at that Convention, the enabling mandate for the Task Force to Coordinate Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, through the Standing Committee on Structure and Governance. The Blue Book Report of this Task Force, Chaired by Bishop Bill Franklin, gives account of the vital work the Task Force has done, in collaboration with the Office on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations and other partners. In order for that work to continue, and once again to ensure that the work toward Unity of the Churches and cooperation and collaboration among religions remain as priorities of The Episcopal Church, the Joint Standing Committee on Mission Beyond The Episcopal Church of Executive Council proposes to re-establish a joint Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations.