- The Early Stages: Pre-1910
- Laying the Foundations: 1910–1948
- Pivotal Years: 1948–1965
- Intense Activity: 1965–1990
- Consolidation and Challenge: 1990—Present
- Pentecostal and Charismatic
- Mission and Evangelism
- Faith and Order
- World Council of Churches
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Bilateral Dialogues
- Chevetogne, Taizé, and the Groupe des Dombes
- United and Uniting Churches
- Regional and National Councils of Churches
- Interchurch Families
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
- Global Christian Forum
- Britain and Ireland
- United States of America
- Latin America
- The Middle East
- The Unity We Seek
- In Search of a Way
- Method in Ecumenism
- Kenotic Ecumenism
Abstract and Keywords
In interchurch families, both partners are practising members of their respective churches but wish also to participate in their spouse’s church as far as possible. Can such families really be ecumenical instruments, when they are so different from the organs of dialogue generally established by the churches? Interchurch couples themselves, united in an international network of groups and associations, believe that they can contribute to the growing unity between their churches. The Roman Catholic Church in particular has developed a more positive attitude towards the ecumenical potential of such families since Vatican II. Interchurch families contribute to Christian unity by their very existence as ‘domestic churches’, embodying and signifying the growing unity of the Church. The chapter concludes by suggesting how, with greater pastoral understanding and a deeper appreciation of the relationship between marital spirituality and spiritual ecumenism, they can become more effective ecumenical instruments by their characteristic ‘double belonging’.
Ruth Reardon was a founder member, together with her late husband Canon Martin Reardon, of the British Association of Interchurch Families in 1969. She was secretary of the Association until 2000, and now serves as a president.
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