Navigating Troubled Waters: The Ecumenical Movement in the Pacific Islands since the 1980s

Ecumenical Research Project (ERP) which was endorsed it the 2013 General Assembly through the Churches support to the PTC Council’s decision to implement a research project on ecumenical cooperation and relation since the 1980s. Resolution 8 is as follows: “The PCC Assembly endorses and supports the conduct of the research project on ‘Ecumenical Relations in the Pacific Islands since the 1980s: Developments – Problems and Perspectives’ under the auspices of the Institute for Research & Social Analysis of the Pacific Theological College.”

The book was finally launched on the 21st of July this year.

A short description of what the ERP is about is as follows.

A growing concern of Pacific Island Churches about the decline of ecumenical cooperation over the past three decades has led to this publication that was mandated by the governing bodies of the Pacific Conference of Churches and the Pacific Theological College.
The readers will find answers to the following main questions that guided the production of this publication, namely:
1. What is the status of ecumenical cooperation in the Pacific Islands today?
2. What has led to the decline of ecumenical cooperation and commitment in the region and worldwide?
3. What are the prospects for the future of ecumenical cooperation?
Based on extensive field research in 9 Pacific Island nations, who represent about 95 of the total population in the region, and an action oriented participative, qualitative approach, carried out over the period of four years, the authors of this publication, who represent a wide range of academic disciplines, denominations and nationalities, provide a sobering analysis of the reasons for the weakening of ecumenism in the region.

The research, reflections and writing over a period of four years may not only contribute to the ongoing global discourse on the crisis of ecumenism but will also provide inspiration for a renewal and expansion of ecumenical cooperation and solidarity among Pacific churches, national councils of churches, regional ecumenical organizations. Furthermore, this publication may become a standard textbook for modern church history, ecumenism, and practical and public theology courses in theological schools throughout the Pacific Islands.

In summary, the author to conclude that upon the churches in the Pacific Islands and worldwide rests a great responsibility to respond to the manifold challenges of our times. The fulfilment of their responsibilities requires nothing less than a thorough review of their life and actions. They need to discover new ways and patterns of witness and service relevant to the context of their people. Therefore, ecumenism in the 21st Century must find fresh forms of expression, new avenues to overcome divisions, and inspiring vision that spiritually engages the churches and its members to confront the ‘sometimes brutal’ facts.

BOOK SALE – Only at the launch, you can purchase the book for $20.00 after the launch the book will be available at the PTC Bookshop for $40.00.

The following is the video was produced by the Methodist Church, it documents the launching event.

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