Dr Clare Watkins and Dr James Butler shared the findings of their research project about how Catholics and Methodists engaged together in social action. The conclusion was not news to those working in ecumenism – that friendship is at the heart of much ecumenical engagement in social action. However, in the busyness of ecumenical work, it is important to stop and consider the quality of our relationships together and ask what we can learn from the friendships of others.
During the webinar, which was a special preview as the research was formally launched at the University of Roehampton at a hybrid event the following day, Clare and James shared its key themes. These included the importance of friendship and the ways denomination and tradition influence and shape social action in practice. They also discussed how this related to other types of ecumenical work as well as its links with other kinds of everyday ecumenism such as the lived experience of interchurch couples.
While the project builds on specific friendships and work between Methodist and Catholics, the webinar and the research report also speak to the wider ecumenical landscape where an increasingly wide variety of traditions are working together both in social action and in other aspects of mission and ministry.