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God’s Terrible Springtime? Ecumenical Purpose And Opportunity In Times Of Upheaval

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT

Online via Zoom: Register Here

Free and open to the public.

In April of 1944, one of the pioneering American ecumenical theorists, John Mackay, wrote in the inaugural issue of Theology Today that his moment – at the height of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust – might indeed prove to be “one of God’s springtimes, albeit one of His terrible springtimes.” Pointing to revolutionary changes not only on the political stage but also in education, economics, and indeed in the churches and in relations between the churches, Mackay called on the readers of the fledgling journal to attend not only to the tremendous crises at hand but also to the opportunity for “house-cleaning” that would accompany the storms and stress of their time.

Our own time – in the midst of a global pandemic, wracked by spasms of cultural and political antagonism, and facing scarcely imaginable upheavals of economic and ecological disorder – looks increasingly to be another such “terrible springtime.” And the ecumenical movement, or what is left of it, must again reckon with its purpose and possibilities in such a context. The period following World War II saw the emergence of the World Council of Churches and the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, inspiring us to wonder what novel ecumenical modalities and methodologies will emerge for the mid-twenty-first century.

This webinar poses the questions: Without presupposing the shape they will take, in what new ways might ecumenism – both between and within religious communities – best serve the world in our time of economic, cultural, political, and ecological upheaval? What might be the role, and what are the opportunities and pitfalls, of a vision of unity and reconciliation that is mistrusted on either extreme of the political/ethical spectrum that dominates American (indeed Western more generally) civil discourse and imagination today?


Rev. Dr. Dale Irvin:
(Founding Faculty Member, New School of Biblical Theology; Adjunct Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Georgetown University; Chair, Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network)


Dr. Mary Doak:
(Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego)


Dr. Tony Kireopoulos:
(Senior Program Manager for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations, National Council of Churches USA)


Wednesday, October 20, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT
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