Reflections on and results from my School’s major research project, ‘Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism: Diversity, Dialogue and Reconciliation,’ have become available in a variety of outlets over the last few weeks. The research team is hoping that the publication of these results will stimulate new conversations about faith and religion on the island of Ireland.
The May/June 2010 issue of Doctrine and Life (Vol. 60, No. 5) has published an article by me titled, ‘Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism: The View from the Pulpits, the View from the Pews.’ This article outlines the major findings from our surveys of faith leaders and laypeople. These are organised under the following headings:
- Diversity and Immigration – A Lot Done, A Lot More to Do?
- Reconciliation – It’s All About Me?
- The Individualisation (Protestantisation?) of Irish Catholic Faith
- The Great Divides: Evangelicals, Gender, Dissenters
- The Marginalisation of Atheists?
Last week, the Church of Ireland Gazette ran a cover story about our recent workshop on the survey findings, headlined ‘All-Ireland survey prompts call for new approaches to ecumenism.’
The writer, David Masters, reported that,
A significant minority of Christians saw ecumenism as either boring, a waste of time, or associated with compromise. One survey respondent branded it “religious political correctness”, while another referred to it as “a departure from the truth of the Gospel.”
… The survey found that Christians continued to think about ecumenism in terms of Roman Catholic-Protestant relations, but Dr Ganiel suggested that ecumenism should be redefined in wider terms. A new definition should incorporate a wider Christian concern for diversity and would have a more practical application in the public sphere, she suggested.
The latest issue of the Community Relations Council journal Shared Space has published an article, ‘Surveying Religion’s Public Role: Perspectives on Reconciliation, Diversity and Ecumenism in Northern Ireland,’ (now available online) which analyses the results of the survey returns from Northern Ireland.
And finally, the British Religion in Numbers website yesterday published a blog post about the research project, ‘Reflections on Surveying Religion Online: Perils and Promise.’
(Photo of Ballydesmond, Co. Cork, sourced on flickr photo-sharing by Kman999)