Belfast 2012


Dialogue inside-out: Ecumenism encounters the religions. Report on the 17th Academic Consultation of the Societas Oecumenica 2012

Ecumenism in a multi-religious context

“Dialogue inside-out: Ecumenism encounters the religious” was the topic of the 17th Academic Consultation of the Societas Oecumenica, which took place from 23rd to 28th August, 2012, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Societas Oecumenica is an academic association of ecumenical institutes and theologians of all denominations engaged with the theory and practice of ecumenics. It holds consultations biannually in different places in Europe.

The impetus for this years’ topic came from the social context of the churches in Europe: In a globalised world it is no longer necessary to travel to foreign countries to meet members of other religions. Encounters between the religions occur in everyday life and on our doorsteps. Interfaith marriages, a shared concern for peace and respect, or occasions in which people from different religions tragically die, are some of many examples of encounters between religions and of the potential for common action. Furthermore, Christianity is no longer taken for granted in a secularized and pluralized society. Amid a changed context, the churches are challenged to reflect on their own plausibility and positions, and, therefore, to take up dialogue with the civil society and the other religions.