Churches Together in England

Churches Together in England (CTE) is an ecumenical organisation and the national instrument for the Christian church in England. It coordinates the work of the different Churches.

Churches Together in England works through a network of Intermediate Bodies, each covering an English county or metropolitan area, and Co-ordinating Groups which bring together the Churches' officers in various areas of work.

Leadership and governanceEdit

Churches Together in England is a Company registered at Companies House with number 05354231,[1] and a Charity registered at the Charity Commission with number 1110782.[2] The organisation is governed by a Board, whose members are the Trustees of the Charity and the Directors of the Company.

The Enabling Group[3] is a biannual overnight meeting of representatives for the purposes of governance and common concern. The Enabling Group consists of representatives from each Member Church, from Intermediate Bodies, and from Bodies in Association.

There are six Presidents of Churches Together in England:

The Fourth Presidency Group consists of the Church of Scotland (Presbytery of England), the Council of Lutheran Churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, the Evangelische Synode Deutscher Sprache in Großbritannien (German-Speaking Lutheran, Reformed and United Congregations in Great Britain) and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers in Britain).

The Forum of Churches Together in England is a conference of around three hundred representatives of churches and bodies associated with Churches Together in England. The Moderator of the Forum of Churches Together in England for the three-year period 2015 to 2018 is Ruth Gee (chair of the Darlington Methodist District) with Hilary Topp (a Quaker, working for Student Christian Movement) as Deputy Moderator. The 2018 Forum had the theme 'I am with you always – together in God’s mission' and was held in Swanwick, Derbyshire, on 17-19 September 2018.[7] The Moderator of the 2022 Forum is Hilary Topp, while the Deputy Moderator has not yet been named.

The General Secretary of Churches Together in England is Revd Dr Paul Goodliff.

Controversy over the appointment of Hannah Brock Womack as the Fourth Presidency Group presidentEdit

In November 2019, a disagreement between Churches Together in England and Quakers in Britain regarding the Presidency for the Fourth Presidency Group became public. [8][9][10][11][12] Following a vacancy, Quakers in Britain nominated Hannah Brock Womack for the Presidency, and the Fourth Presidency Group agreed the appointment. However, as stated by CTE ,[13] "the Member Churches of CTE, through the Enabling Group, have recently requested the Fourth Presidency Group to refrain from enacting its Presidency at this time, leaving the Fourth Presidency as an ‘empty chair’ for the current term of office." In a concurrent announcement, Quakers in Britain stated that "The Churches have rejected the Quakers' appointee Hannah Brock Womack, because she is married to a woman. An active Quaker, she is a young, radical peace activist, who campaigns against the arms trade and works in the voluntary sector." [14]

In response, the United Reformed Church noted with deep sadness the inability of CTE to confirm the appointment, and called for dialogue to "continue until a more just outcome can be reached." [15]

The Methodist Church recognised the pain and shared the grief caused by the decision, and stated that the outcome does not represent the Methodist position that being in a same-sex marriage is no bar to roles within the Church, while acknowledging that not all churches agree with this position.[16]

The convenor of the General Council of the Student Christian Movement, Tom Packer-Stucki, declared that "we stand in solidarity with Hannah Brock Womack and the Quaker movement in this difficult time" and called on CTE to "work together ecumenically to reach agreement about LGBTQ+ inclusion that is truly inclusive".[17]

Member ChurchesEdit

The 51[18] member churches of CTE are listed at www.cte.org.uk/MemberChurches.

Bodies in AssociationEdit

In addition to the actual member churches or member denominations, there are 52[19] of Bodies in Association with Churches Together in England. These are Christian organizations which, by their nature, are ecumenical but which are self-governing and are listed at www.cte.org.uk/BIAs

Intermediate or County BodiesEdit

The Churches and their leaders meet together throughout England in county and large metropolitan areas. County bodies are sometimes called 'Intermediate Bodies' as they exist between the national and the local.

Most county bodies have a person appointed by the network of regional church leaders. These people are known as 'County Ecumenical officers', or CEO's for short. Many have 'development' or 'mission' in their job titles while others are called co-ordinators or facilitators. Each county body is autonomous, though in practice they often work with each other and with Churches Together in England. The full list can be viewed at www.cte.org.uk/IBs

History of Churches Together in EnglandEdit

Churches Together in England is part of the ecumenical structure introduced in 1990 when the British Council of Churches was replaced by the Council of Churches in Britain and Ireland (later renamed Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) and four national bodies:

The British Council of Churches had itself been formed in 1942.

A National Free Church Council had come into being during the 1890s. A Federal Council of the Evangelical Free Churches was formed in 1916 as a more authoritative and representative body. These two merged in 1939 as the Free Church Federal Council.

A significant landmark was the 1910 World Missionary Conference held in Edinburgh.

A summary of the origins and history of the British Council of Churches and its predecessors can be found in the document The Story of the BCC - follow the pilgrim road by Colin Davey and Alan Dawkins.[20]


See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ See https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/05354231
  2. ^ See https://beta.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-details/?regid=1110782
  3. ^ See https://www.cte.org.uk/Groups/234707/Home/About/Governance/Enabling_Group/Enabling_Group.aspx
  4. ^ The Free Churches' Moderator is elected by the member-denominations of the "Free Churches' Group" ("FCG"; website: http://www.freechurches.org.uk). The Free Churches' Moderator was formerly called "Moderator of the Free Church Federal Council". The Free Church Federal Council (Incorporated) continues in being and it remains the body formally responsible for the work of the "Free Churches Group".
  5. ^ Osgood is leader of Churches in Communities International (website: http://www.cicinternational.org). His personal website is http://www.hughosgood.com He co-chairs the UK Charismatic and Pentecostal Leaders' Conference and chairs the Board of the National Day of Prayer and Worship. He is Founding Minister of the Cornerstone Christian Centre, Bromley, Kent (website: http://www.cornerstonecc.org.uk) which began circa 1980 as a house group meeting in the home of Hugh Osgood and his wife. Hugh Osgood was appointed Free Churches' Moderator on 17 September 2014.
  6. ^ Agu Irukwu is of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
  7. ^ Churches Together in England Forum 2018 (website: https://www.methodist.org.uk/media/9424/counc_mc18-90_cte-forum-report_oct_2018.pdf)
  8. ^ Williams, Hattie (22 November 2019). "CTE block appointment of fourth president because the nominee is in a same-sex marriage". Church Times. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  9. ^ Sarmiento, Simon (22 November 2019). "CTE blocks appointment of person in same-sex marriage". Thinking Anglicans. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  10. ^ Buchannan, Emily (24 November 2019). "Radio 4 Sunday". BBC Sounds. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Church group blocks president due to same-sex marriage". BBC News. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  12. ^ Wakefield, Lily (27 November 2019). "Woman blocked from being president of one of the UK's biggest Christian organisations because she's gay". PinkNews. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  13. ^ "Churches Together in England statement on the Fourth Presidency". CTE website. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Churches' plan for new President falters because of equal marriage". Quakers in Britain. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  15. ^ "URC's response to CTE statement about its Fourth Presidency". The United Reformed Church. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  16. ^ "A response from the Methodist Church to the Churches Together in England fourth presidency appointment". The Methodist Church. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  17. ^ Temple, Emma (27 November 2019). "An Empty Chair". Student Christian Movement. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  18. ^ The announcement https://www.cte.org.uk/Articles/559995/Home/News/Latest_news/CTE_statement_on.aspx states there are 51 member churches, as of December 2019.
  19. ^ The web page https://www.cte.org.uk/Groups/234768/Home/About/Bodies_in_Association/Bodies_in_Association.aspx reports 52 results from a query to enumerate the Bodies in Association, as of December 2019.
  20. ^ This document can be seen or downloaded on the History page of the Churches Together in England website. The reference is http://www.churches-together.net/Groups/2344696/Home/About/History_of_CTE/History_of_CTE.aspx Archived 2015-09-23 at the Wayback Machine.

External linksEdit