There has been a great deal of progress at the international level. Scripture scholars and major theologians have spent years exploring their religious roots, traditions and present positions and have discovered happily an amazing amount of unity that actually exists between the major Christian faiths in the world. This is especially true of Anglicans, Lutherans and Roman Catholics. While those meetings were tremendously important, they seldom reached down to the parish or neighborhood level.
Today I would like to spotlight a small group that I wish would become symbolic of the next phase of ecumenical activity. I am referring to a small group of clergy who meet at 10:00 a.m. every Wednesday morning in the parish rectory of St. Louis King of France. The host is Father Larry Covington, the pastor of St. Louis, and four or five neighborhood pastors representing all the major Christian traditions of the neighborhood. Finally, and this is truly wonderful, they are joined by a rabbi from the nearby synagogue. His presence is a real asset to the others not only because of his ability to contribute to discussions from the Old Testament, but with deeper insights in New Testament texts. These are hard working men serving large local congregations but they take the time to deepen their knowledge of their own faith and, at the same time, familiarize themselves with the religious traditions of others in the neighborhood.
Ecumenism for the last fifty years has always involved a relaxed ability to work together on social issues but it seldom got into deep open discussion of theological views. That is not true in north central Austin.
May God bless this group and may they become multiplied many times in the future.