A unique feature of church life in England, paralleled nowhere else in the world, has been the development of a network of Intermediate Bodies – mostly corresponding to counties or large cities. These umbrella ecumenical bodies encourage and support local churches of different traditions as they seek to work, worship and witness together.
Intermediate Bodies provide support to all local groupings of churches – whether formal or informal groups, whatever they choose to call themselves.
Each County or Intermediate Body is resourced very differently. While a few only have a contact person, most have someone who is ecumenically appointed and paid, even if for few hours, to work with senior Church Leaders and Denominational Ecumenical Officers across the county. While their actual job titles differ, they are referred to as the County Ecumenical Officer, or CEO for short.
Supporting church unity at a county level
County Ecumenical Officers (CEOs) exist to support and encourage local ecumenism (churches working together). They work alongside the Denominational Ecumenical Officers and the Church Leaders in their area (ie Bishop, Chair of District, Synod Moderator, Regional Minister etc). They also often connect with local Churches Together groups.
If you’re involved in church unity at a local, city or county level, we’d encourage you to get in touch with the County Ecumenical Officer in your area.
Support for Intermediate Bodies
Churches Together in England considers the support of Intermediate Bodies key to the development of local unity, and offers a range of resources, training and staff support.
Visit our Ecumenical Officers section for information on training and events for National, County and Denominational Ecumenical Officers.
- For further support from CTE staff, please contact Jenny Bond
- Visit our county section for a range of resources, including an interactive map of the Intermediate Bodies across England
- Read more about County Ecumenical Officers, and their training and conferences
- Find out about unity at the local level in our local unity section
- Our friends the GATHER network also support new networks for mission which have been forming in towns and cities across England over recent years.
Stories of unity at a county/city level
At Churches Together in England, we love to share stories of how churches are coming together in unity to help their communities and to work, worship and witness together.
Have a look at a range of stories from Intermediate Bodies across the country:
Responding to coronavirus:
- Lincolnshire remembers
- Website launched to help Norfolk Christians respond to Covid-19
- Bristol Churches Coronavirus Response
Helping local communities
Working for racial justice:
Praying and worshipping together:
- Celebrating diversity and unity in the Black Country Church
- Thy Kingdom Come in Leicestershire
- Thy Kingdom Come unlocked in Cornwall: the South West Prays
- Music video brings Ipswich churches together
Bringing young people together:
Reflections on unity at a county level:
- From Kernow to Cumbria: Missional relationships and loosening structures
- Building bridges in Birmingham for 14 years – reflections from a CEO upon retirement