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Expanding Hope

‘Expanding Hope’ is the theme of a Jesuit podcast series for Advent, focussing on the state of ecumenism, fifty years after Vatican II. Brian O’Leary, Jesuit delegate for ecumenism, says hope is an Advent theme, needed now by those who feel the ecumenical project has stalled.

In an inverview which you can listen to here, he outlines the need for reflection on the way forward for ecumemism at a time when many denominations are facing their own internal problems and when may feel they’ve got stuck in a rut and are uncertain of what needs to be done next.

To this end the Advent podcast series, available on iTunes, also features interviews with a Methodist (Lay leader Gillian Kingston), Lutheran (Gesa Thiessen), Romanian Orthodox (Godfrey O’Donnell) and Presbyterian (John Dunlop).

Each reflects on their personal experience of ecumenism over the years, examining the gifts their own particular Churches have brought to the ecumenical project in the past and may need to employ again facing a future full of challenges.

For the first week of Advent, Ms Pat Coyle of the Jesuit Communication Centre interviews Gillian Kingston. She’s the first lay leader in the Methodist Church in Ireland and in that role works along side the ordained leader of the Church.  She sees this new role which is non-hierachiacal and evolving, as a ‘prophetic model’ for Churches which have until now often only given lip-service to a theology of laity.  Listen here to the full interview.