Radical reforms at CTBI

 The ecumenical body set up to enable the Churches to think, work and pray together, is to radically reform. The Churches have renewed their commitment to continue working together on race relations and mission and faith and inter faith, as well as working with the growing number of minority ethnic people in all the Churches. But some other work will cease and a third of staff posts may go , because of shrinking funds. The changes come after a year-long review. * The new body, keeping the title Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), will be an agency of the 'Churches Together' bodies in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England, enabling them to work together on issues affecting the whole of Britain and Ireland. Their general secretaries will play a key role in running it, to ensure its staff and activities are integrated with their own. * CTBI will be recast as a company limited by guarantee. While the members of the company will be the Churches, its governing board will be nominated by the national ecumenical bodies. CTBI grew out of the British Council of Churches, formed in 1942. In 1999 it changed its name from the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland, which was founded in 1990. It brings together Churches across the spectrum of denominations including Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Reformed and Pentecostal Churches. CTBI's general secretary, Dr David Goodbourn said: 'The Churches are all clearly committed to ecumenism, but they have differing expectations of ecumenical bodies. The last year has been a time of balancing the desire of some for lighter structure, focusing more on relationship, with the continuing need of others to be resourced ecumenically." Aziz Nour, Secretary of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches said: "The work of CTBI is essential to us. If CTBI was to cease it would be like removing the heart from the body. You can replace it with a machine, and it may pump or it may not. The bigger Churches have departments who could function without CTBI, but the smaller Churches do not." CTBI is perhaps best known among local churches for producing the worship resources for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Also for encouraging many to take part in Racial Justice Sunday, held each September. A range of Churches have been inspired by the innovative Building Bridges of Hope project. In recent times CTBI has led four-nations delegations to the Middle East and to China. And there have been challenging publications like Time for Action: sexual abuse, the Churches and a new dawn for survivors. Currently its work includes Church Life, Church and Society, Mission, Inter Faith Relations, International Affairs and Racial Justice. Source: CTBI

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