Acknowledgement of 75 years of VCC

Acknowledgement of 75 Years 2023) of the Victorian Council of Churches

Keynote presentations by Victoria Turner
Victoria is a Lecturer in Theology and Mission at Ripon College Cuddesdon and associate lecturer at the University of Oxford, as well as an associate tutor at Westminster College, Cambridge. She is co-editor of the International Journal of the Study of the Christian Church with Stephen Burns and book review editor for the journal Modern Believing. Her PhD is in World Christianity from the University of Edinburgh and explored the shifting models of mission in the 20th century through researching the Iona Community (1938) and the Council for World Mission (1977 – previously the 1795 London Missionary Society). Victoria has three edited books with SCM Press and has multiple book chapters and journal articles published. She won the Lombard Essay Prize from the World Communion of Reformed Churches for her essay on transformative ecumenism. Victoria is a Trustee of Churches Together in England, and is a member of the United Reformed Church after being brought up in a church formed through the five-way denominational ecumenical covenant in Cardiff, Wales.

Friday 9th August: A day of papers and presentations (note: a call for papers to be presented)
ECUMENISM-IN-MIGRATION: Movement in the Ecumenical Movement
This first keynote presentation will map out the ecumenical movement from a global and generational perspective. Who took the reigns and whose voices were elevated? Who took the mic themselves and stirred the pot? How did we end up where we are now? Is movement in the ecumenical movement still possible today, or have we stagnated? We explore how the centre of gravity shifting in Christianity affected the missionary and ecumenical movement and their self-understanding(s). The talk ends by thinking about where justice is today in the ecumenical movement and juxtaposing the origins of the movement to the institutional basis today. Our context of neoliberalism and neo-capitalism profoundly is shaping the ecumenical movement today, and these tensions are held up as the movement’s largest struggle today. This talk questions whether the relationships enacted between churches through the ecumenical movement are what was desired by the early ecumenical pioneers—questioning the ecumenical movements journey away from churches’ contexts and communities.

Saturday 10th August: A day beginning with a keynote address, and then presentations from ‘grassroots’ organisations working ecumenically.
RECEPTIVE-OR-RESTRICTED-ECUMENISM: Re-establishing Vulnerability in Relationship
The second keynote critiques a newer method of ecumenism prominent in the Western world. It exposes its distance from the local and also the distance from the key decision makers through this method that prioritises comfortable exchange over costly exchange. This talk gives an alternative model of what our ecumenical relationships and visions should consist of and how we should go about embracing “otherness” within our own traditions from being blessed by the “other”. This session will also involve some group working.

Saturday 10th August : An evening dinner with a keynote address and respondents.
EMERGING ECUMENISM: Is there Space for Visions from the New Generations Today?
This talk begins by returning to the first, reminding us that the impetus for the ecumenical movement came from the audacity of young people. We wonder whether the ecumenical movement today has space for the righteous audacity from visionary younger people. It draws upon the work of authors from my two edited collections with SCM Press, Young, Woke and Christian: Words from a Missing Generation (2022), and Emerging, Awake and Connected: Meditations on Justice from a Missing Generation (2024), to highlight the priorities and epistemologies from younger scholars and church practitioners embracing the decolonial, anti-capitalist and world-embracing agenda necessary for a more-just world.