Before ME, CTAL had an Administrator. Of course, my predecessor, John Rose was so much more. We joked that Administrator was Lincolnshire dialect for CEO. That’s County Ecumenical Officer – a title with which many English ecumenists will be familiar. These are the people who work to bring Member Churches and their work together in a county or city context. Some CEOs are called Enablers of Mission and Unity, some are Ecumenical Facilitators, some Regional Officers, others Administrators. But what is this role really about?
Coming in fresh from the outside this seems akin to the discussion CTE is having about Re-Imagining Intermediate Ecumenism i.e. how do we make this a more understood, embodied, approachable and engaged role looking not only at those who traditionally understand the model of ecumenism as it has been, but more importantly how do we make it more active, appealing and outreaching so those outside traditional models want to become involved with it?
How do we enable and model the mission of ecumenism in fresh ways so better unity can be brokered across the widest platforms and into the heart of communities – that’s my starting point as we transition from CTAL Admin to ME (Mission Enabler that is, who also of course happens to be me – Melanie Carroll).
My background obviously informs ME. I’m a lifelong committed Christian growing up with a mixed denominational background of Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and the occasional Scottish Presbyterian too (and yes, some Sundays it was three out of four of those, but Scottish Presbyterian just in the holidays!) For many years I attended a charismatic church, and I’m now a member of the Church of England and active in the Fresh Expressions Community as a Companion of the Contemplative Fire Community. I am also the as well as the leader and convener of Lincoln Forest Church – another fresh expression of Church – and the Coordinator for the Lincoln Street Pastors. And I am in training as a Spiritual Director with the Diocese of Lincoln.
Work, prayer and building relationships
As the new ME, I admit to little knowledge of the wider stories and struggles of CEOs of the past. Mission and outreach in meeting people where they are is where my calling is and that’s what I see in the work and mission of CTAL. It’s not just about admin and organisation for the member churches and ecumenical ventures and initiatives alive across our county. It’s all the work, prayer and building relationships that goes on behind the scenes to build up unity.
So, I’m excited to do my bit to network and resource ministries and projects, and get started on the work of enabling and continuing that building of those relationships through communication by sharing ideas, experience, training and expertise across all denominations, traditions and agencies; in maintaining motivation; organising and resourcing meetings and events; sourcing what’s necessary to ensure this vital and active mission continues for the County and with the Churches, seeding good practice that is relevant to the local neighbourhood in which it is based because for me this isn’t just a job, it’s a calling to serve as part of the body of Christ active and alive in Lincolnshire.
Explore the Churches Together in All Lincolnshire website