Last month we introduced the first three applicants – Sam, Sarah and Joe – who had been awarded grants from The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund to enable them to have ecumenical experiences beyond England.
They have been joined by three more young ecumenists as part of the inaugural cohort of awardees…
John has already completed his ecumenical experience abroad. He went to Egypt to learn more about the Coptic Church. He attended services, visited key sites related to the life of Pope St. Kyrillos VI and met and prayed with the noted spiritual figure Fr Raphael Ava Mina.
John’s visit complemented his studies at Durham University. He is in the process of completing his doctoral thesis in theology. His thesis, while working within the perspective of his own Roman Catholic tradition, is attempting to articulate a more charismatic Catholic ecclesiology by engaging the critiques offered by Pentecostal and Orthodox theologians.
Rebecca is from Woking and works for the Anglican mission agency USPG.
Rebecca will spend six weeks as a working visitor at the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Nasushiobara, Japan.
She said: “I am thrilled to be awarded a grant to spend time living in an international ecumenical community at the Asian Rural Institute. The daily rhythm at ARI is based around the concept of ‘foodlife’ which seeks to recognise the interdependence between life and the food that sustains all life. In the context of the climate and environmental crisis and the missional call to renew and sustain the life of the earth, I am excited to learn innovative and creative responses from fellow community members. Such an experience will surely inform, challenge and catalyse my future work and practice.”
Nicholas has been a church organist for more than 10 years and is looking forward to ‘coming down’ from the organ loft to take in the music of a different form of worship than he is used to at his Anglican church in Croydon.
Nicholas will visit the Benedictine Abbey, in Chevetogne, this Lent. He plans to see how the Orthodox monastic ways co-mingle with those of the Roman Catholic rite in their prayer life and in their liturgical celebrations.
He said: “I am so grateful and excited to receive the grant from CTE as it means that I will be able to return to the monastery at Chevetogne as the Lenten build-up starts to come to a head in preparation for Holy Week. It will be a hugely informative time, to learn about how the Eastern Church prepares for the most sacred of liturgies and to experience it first-hand.”
The Bill Snelson Young Ecumenists Fund was launched in October 2023 by Churches Together in England and the Snelson family. It is in memory of Bill Snelson, a dedicated ecumenist, who was General Secretary of Churches Together England from 1997 to 2008. Grants from the Fund allow young adults to experience ecumenism abroad. That experience can be study, pilgrimage, volunteering or any activity that promotes church unity.