Six Christian traditions come together at Glenmary Ecumenical Retreat

Glenmary News

Six Christian traditions come together at Glenmary Ecumenical Retreat

Participants gathered at Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Seminary and School of Theology, in Indiana. —Photo by Omar Cabrera.

Drawn by Christ’s prayer that His Church would be one, representatives of six Christian traditions gathered at an ecumenical retreat organized by Glenmary Home Missioners.

The retreat brought together: Anglicans, Catholics, Evangelicals (including Southern Baptists), Lutherans, Methodists and Pentecostals. They met on May 28-30 at a Catholic center in Saint Meinrad, in southwest Indiana.

“In the light of the Gospel, we are reminded that Christ brings peace and binds all people in himself,” said Nathan Smith, Glenmary’s director of Ecumenism and main organizer of the retreat.

“The language and feeling of our current culture is one often influenced by polarization, division and fear,” Smith added. “In bringing together these various traditions and ministries for the first Ecumenical Retreat, Glenmary sought to highlight the amazing works of unity that are taking place across the country, which stand in stark contrast to the narrative of disunity found seemingly everywhere else.”

The 19 participants at the retreat prayed Lectio Divina together, shared on their own ministries of Christian unity with one another, and discerned together new opportunities for partnership. Some of them joined in prayer with the monks at the beautiful church of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Seminary and School of Theology.

Amy Uelmen, a consecrated lay member with the Focolare Movement, served as the retreat facilitator. Participants included: Father Aaron Wessman, Glenmary Home Missioners; TaNikka

Amy Uelmen (L), with the Focolare Movement, served as the retreat facilitator, while Nathan Smith, Glenmary’s director of Ecumenism, was the main organizer. —Photo by Omar Cabrera.

Sheppard, North American Baptist Fellowship; David and Julie Cole, Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches in North America; David Watson, Global Methodist Church; David Wendel, North American Lutheran Church; Fr. Russ McDougall, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Mark Engel, Anglican Church in North America.

The gathering also included: Kate O’Brien, Focolare; Fr. Kenn Wandera, Glenmary; Jordan Bennett, The Church in Dialogue; Doug Foster, Church of Christ; Michael Havercamp, Young Life, Catholic Relations; Natali Ayala and Omar Cabrera, Glenmary; Scott Brill, The Initiative, and Alex Campbell, The Kingdom Initiative.

All of them expressed, one way or another, a gratitude towards his brothers and sisters in Christ for their presence and their unity during the retreat. They also thanked Glenmary for offering the space for this dialogue on Christian unity to take place.

“For many, this ecumenical retreat was an opportunity to learn about the faith and work of another Christian group to which they would have little chance of engaging elsewhere, and will serve as a catalyst for a broadening of communion between various traditions in the US”, Smith said.

The 19 participants at the retreat prayed Lectio Divina together, shared on their own ministries of Christian unity with one another, and discerned together new opportunities for partnership. —Photo by Omar Cabrera.