Ecumenism is the crucible through which Christian unity is forged, and has always been a central mission of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.

The Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute announced the North American Academy of Ecumenists and will hold its annual meeting October 7-9 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The conference will feature several discussions and panels centered on ecumenism.

The theme for this year’s meeting is Ecumenism and Asceticism. It will be conducted in a hybrid mode, with the option of attending in-person or virtually through Zoom. Registration is open  on the North American Academy of Ecumenists website.  Click here to register for this event.

“(The conference) will engage questions about the role of asceticism, broadly construed, in ecumenical affairs,” writes Aaron Hollander, Associate Director of GEII and Vice President of the NAAE. “For instance: formation for ecumenical engagement, ecumenical spirituality and liturgy, prayer practice as fuel for ecumenical compassion and attunement, virtue ethics and the theological anthropology of ecumenical engagement, the ways that closed or captive epistemologies foreclose on the possibility of authentic ecumenical understanding, the sins/passions/demons that exacerbate or incentivize corroded relationships and the ascetic traditions that confront such forces, monastic settings as venues for ecumenism or as training grounds for ecumenical virtue and praxis, and historical voices from the ascetic tradition that offer insights for contemporary ecumenical challenges.”

The conference will begin with an informal tour of the Cathedral, an opening worship and a welcome greeting from leaders. The North American Academy of Ecumenists president will give an address, with the annual membership meeting to follow. A wine and cheese reception will close out the first day.

The second day is packed with activities, starting with a morning prayer in the Cathedral. After breakfast, the session “Asceticism in Contemporary Ecumenism” will take place, followed by a break and the second session on “Liturgy, Spirituality and Formation.” After another short break, the third session, “Asceticism and Ecumenism: Voices from the Tradition” will commence. An evening prayer in the Cathedral and banquet dinner at V&T Pizzeria will conclude the day.

A panel will kick off the final day of the conference, centered on local ecumenical initiatives. A celebration of the Eucharist at the Cathedral will follow, with final reflections to close out the program.

North American Academy of Ecumenists Meeting

Schedule of Events

Friday, October 7

2:00 pm – On-site registration opens
3:00 pm – Informal tour of the Cathedral
4:00 pm – Opening worship & welcome from NAAE and Cathedral leadership
5:00 pm – NAAE Presidential Address & annual membership meeting
6:00 pm – Wine & cheese reception

Saturday, October 8

9:00 am – Morning prayer in the Cathedral
9:30 am – Continental breakfast & coffee
10:00 am – Session 1: Asceticism in Contemporary Ecumenism
11:30 am – Break for lunch in Morningside Heights
2:00 pm – Session 2: Liturgy, Spirituality, and Formation
3:30 pm – Coffee break
4:00 pm – Session 3: Asceticism and Ecumenism: Voices from the Tradition
6:00 pm – Evening prayer in the Cathedral
6:30 pm – Banquet dinner for participants at V&T Pizzeria

Sunday, October 9

9:00 am – Panel & conversation featuring local ecumenical initiatives
10:30 am – Holy Eucharist at the Cathedral – all are welcome
12:00 pm – Final reflections & closing of conference