Churches Together in England's strategic aims, agreed in 2014, are interconnected and dynamic:
May they all be one…
Relationships are the context in which action for mission and theological reflection can flourish. CTE provides a safe ecumenical space which forms and fosters relationships.
Key to this is the Enabling Group, the bi-annual meeting of Member Churches, and the Forum, a unique gathering every three years of over three hundred representatives of Member Churches, Intermediate Bodies, Co-ordinating Groups and Bodies in Association.
Our six Presidents also demonstrate the importance of deep respect and good relationships, working together both behind the scenes and when making timely public statements.
CTE staff work to make relationships prosper, both in these spaces and in multiple other formal and informal meetings and gatherings.
In particular, one staff member is dedicated to Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations, a key priority for Churches Together in England. Building relationships which include Pentecostals and Charismatics is vital for the life and health of England’s Christian witness in the years ahead.
At local level congregations meet and work together in the context of a huge diversity of groups and alliances, including many Churches Together groups. In some places buildings are shared and congregations worship together. There are about nine hundred Local Ecumenical Partnerships in England.
CTE staff support and resource all these working relationships, in person, through training, and with resources and information carried on our website.
… as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us…
Firmly anchored in theological and biblical reflection, the Churches in England seek to do the will of the Father. Churches Together in England ensures that prayer and worship, bible study and theological reflection are integral to every meeting and gathering. As we pray and reflect together, relationships become stronger and we learn to understand and respect the diversity of understanding and emphasis of our sister Churches.
Our website, in particular, hosts resources, monthly reflections, published in our eNews, occasional papers and book reviews. All our work has a theological and biblical underpinning, all focused on helping Member Churches at national, county and local level to be ever more faithful to God the Holy Trinity.
While CTE does not sponsor formal theological dialogues between denominations, we support and encourage them, giving publicity to their outcomes and hosting occasional day events to enable their reception.
In addition, CTE staff members are engaged in writing, speaking, and presenting papers, articles and books for the wider Church to aid biblical and theological reflection on a wide range of topics.
…so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Relationships and theological reflection are inseparable from action for mission. So another way of looking at our strategic aims is to see them as a three-legged stool, all equally needed.
There are two key aspects of 'mission' and they belong together. CTE is about both the 'mission of God' (Missio Dei), and the 'mission of the church'.
The mission of God is seen in Creation, the sending of Jesus, and the forming of the Church as they are all aspects of God's 'sending' activity. Mission is often described as 'seeing what God is doing and joining in'. The role of CTE is to help communicate and co-ordinate that mission of God for the benefit of the world. The work of Churches Together groups is often called 'ecumenical', which comes from the Greek word (oikumene) for 'whole inhabited earth'. This is a vision of God's kingdom we pray for in the Lord's prayer: 'Thy Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven'.
The mission of the Church follows, and is greatly motivated the prayer of Jesus in John 17: 20/21, quoted in the headlines on this page and with the particular emphasis on the the words, 'that they may believe'. To achieve this, many CTE Member Churches and networks speak of the 'Five Marks of Mission' which are:
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
The strategic aim of CTE with regard to Action for Mission is to help Member Churches fulfil all five marks together. At national level this can be through CTE's co-ordinating groups, like the Churches Group for Evangelisation or the Churches Group for New Housing Areas, where national Church representatives meet. It is also through the liaison role CTE has with many of the national initiatives in mission and evangelism where the strategic aim is 'making connections'. News headlines are shared through EvangelismUK as well as in the Resources area of the CTE website for Mission and Evangelisation. Demonstrating its commitment to mission, CTE has a staff member dedicated to evangelisation and mission.
Our website hosts a wealth of resources and information about different and broad aspects of mission, all intended to help Churches engage at national, county and local level. Key partners here are the Agencies and the Bodies in Association, the 'voluntary sector' of church life, all of which are available to enrich and resource all Member Churches.