- Report on the NAAE 2015 Conference
The North American Academy of Ecumenists, which is affiliated with this journal, held its 2015 conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, September 25–27, at the Mt. Carmel Spiritual Centre. With reduced attendance from previous years (thanks in part to Pope Francis’s appearance in the U.S. at the same time), this was a very different meeting from the usual format.
The event was structured around work by all the participants to craft an NAAE response to the World Council of Churches convergence document, “The Church: Toward a Common Vision,” as all member denominations, councils of churches, faculties, and other groups have been asked to do by the end of 2016—just as was done for the Baptism, Eucharist, and Ministry document of 1982. An “Open Space” process was used to engage all who were present in putting together the raw material for an NAAE response, which will be refined by a small committee, sent out to participants for their comments, and finally sent to the W.C.C.
It is expected that the response will be complete in time to be published in J.E.S. next summer, along with reflections by the banquet speaker, the Rev. Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan, president of the Canadian Council of Churches since May, 2015, following service as the interim secretary general of the Anglican Communion and its former director for Unity, Faith, and Order. Three young scholars were present as recipients of this year’s student prizes.
The NAAE elected as its incoming president the Rev. Dr. Thomas F. Best, retired after many years of work with the Commission on Faith and Order of the W.C.C., and Dr. William McDonald, chair of Religion and Philosophy at Tennessee Wesleyan College, as vice president. Plans for the September 23–25, 2016, conference are underway to be held at the Candler School of Theology in Decatur, GA, on the theme, “Commemorating the Reformation: Churches Looking Together toward 2017.” Tentative plans are being made for a New England location for September 22–24, 2017, on the theme, “Worship in Ecumenical Contexts: A Once and Future Vision.” See https://naae.net/site/ for membership information. [End Page 510]