Meet the new Methodist Ecumenical Officer Steven Cooper

Rev Steven introduces himself in his new role and shares his experience of more than a quarter of a century of ecumenical work.

I’m delighted to take up the role of Connexional Ecumenical Officer (i.e. National Ecumenical Officer) for the Methodist Church in Britain. I am a presbyter, ordained in 2016, but have been enthusiastically involved in the life of the Church ecumenically for at least 25 years.

Having grown up with a wholly Methodist experience of Christian faith, my heart was set on fire by a broader perspective on what the Church is while at university in Cambridge, when I became extensively involved in sharing in life with Christians of diverse traditions, and was deeply enriched through this experience. During those days, I helped to re-craft the constitution of the then Student Christian Council in the university, creating what became known as Christians in Unity in Cambridge.

Since then, I went on to work for nine similarly enriching years inside a different Christian tradition to my own—that of the Anglican Communion—first in the Education Division of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, and latterly for over five years at Lambeth Palace as assistant to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Principal Secretary for International, Ecumenical and Anglican Communion Affairs.

In 2012, I married Ruth (herself a Roman Catholic), and in the same year entered training for presbyteral ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge—part of the profoundly ecumenical Cambridge Theological Federation. As a presbyter, I have served in a variety of ecumenical contexts, first as minister for two LEPs (one URC-Methodist, one Anglican-Methodist) in North Hertfordshire; and most recently as Minister of Wesley’s Chapel & Leysian Mission (the ‘mother church’ of worldwide Methodism)—itself in a lively informal partnership with its ecumenical neighbours. I have also led regular visits of young adults to Taizé.

I served as Chair of Churches Together in Stevenage, and as the Methodist Denominational Ecumenical Officer for Hertfordshire.  I’ve also long been involved in the governance life of the Methodist Church, through participation in the Methodist Conference and Methodist Council over many years; and for six years I represented the Methodist Church on the Joint Implementation Commission for the Anglican-Methodist Covenant.

In 2017 our daughter, Seraphina, was born; and a very special moment was the occasion of her baptism, in our local Catholic church by its parish priest, in the context of a united service with Anglicans, Methodists, URC, Catholics and Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Christians together.

I took up the role of Connexional Ecumenical Officer for the Methodist Church on 29 April 2024, for an initial appointment of five years to August 2029.