This year’s National Workshop on Christian Unity, an annual meeting of networks of ecumenical representatives from Catholic and Protestant dioceses, was held from Monday, April 8-11 in Columbus, Ohio. These workshops began shortly after the Second Vatican Council and continue to update those responsible for promoting the unity of Christians at the state and local levels. The National Council of Churches and directors of agencies from across the country are participants, as well as bishops and others responsible for continuing progress toward the goal of visible unity.
This year’s workshop again explored the impact of the Second Vatican Council on the Catholic Church and other Christian churches. The keynote speaker for the Tuesday morning Plenary Session, Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker (United Methodist) explained the impact of the document on Liturgy (Sacrum Concilium) on the Catholic Church and on Protestant communions, and developments since the Council. She stressed the influence of Vatican II and the Liturgical Movement on all Christian churches of the West.
A special feature this year was the Eucharistic Liturgy. For the first time all the participants were encouraged to attend the same Eucharistic Liturgy together. On Tuesday evening the Catholic Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church and on Wednesday evening an Episcopal Eucharistic Liturgy was celebrated at Trinity Episcopal Church. In the early years of the National Workshop on Christian Unity, each church had its own Eucharistic celebration, usually early in the morning. Having everyone attend the same Liturgy showed visibly the growing unity of the churches. Abbé Couturier, the founder of the Groupe des Dombes near Lyon, France in the late 1930’s, was convinced that such sharing of prayer together with other Christians, with due regard for church rules, would give visibility to the unity we seek and strengthen our efforts to promote the unity Jesus Christ desires.