A significant new development took place at the Australian centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra on Wednesday 9th September 2009.
During a special Day Conference on ecumenism “handing on the vision” there was a ceremony to inaugurate the association of the Centre for Ecumenical Studies (CES) with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) Charles Sturt University.
The Executive Director of the ACC&C the Revd Prof Jaimes Haire AM welcomed this association, describing the mission of handing on the ecumenical vision ‘ as part of the ‘core business’ of the ACC&C.
A record of inauguration was signed by Prof Haire, the Revd Robert Gribben who chairs the CES Board and the Revd Tara Curlewis, General Secretary fo the National Council of Churches in Australia.
In addressing the conference, Prof Gribben outlines the history of the CES since its establishment in 1997 stressed the importance of intentional study of the ecumenical movement and spoke of the inspiration drawn from the Irish School of Ecumenics.
It was highly appropriate that the conference’s keynote speaker was Dr Geraldine Smyth OP a former Director and current staff member fo the Irish School of Ecumenics.
She brought an international perspective to her presentation of the ecumenical vision especially the transforming experience of it in Ireland.
In his presentation at the conference, Prof Haire spoke of giving reality to the ecumenical vision in the way theological issues are addressed, he stressed the absolute importance of focussing on the central aspects of faith that all Christians hold in common.
The conference concluded with a session in which the Revd Dr Ray Williamson OAM secretary of the CES Board, affirmed that the ecumenical agenda, the unity of the church, is still essential and held out the challenge of covenanting between local churches as a way of making our unity in Christ more visible.