New National Ecumenical Officer for The Church of England
The Revd Dr Callan Slipper has been appointed as the new National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England, following the retirement of the Revd Dr Roger Paul earlier this year. Working as part of the staff team at the Council for Christian Unity, he will have a pivotal role in developing the Church of England's relationships with other churches in this country. In particular, he will focus on deepening partnership in mission and evangelism across the full range of Christian communities, including the growing number of Pentecostal and independent churches.
The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, who chairs the Council for Christian Unity, commented: 'We are very pleased that Callan is willing to take on this major responsibility. There are many opportunities in the present context for churches to grow more fully into the unity for which Christ prayed, as they enter more deeply into partnership in the gospel. Callan's breadth of ecumenical experience locally as well as internationally will be a great asset for us, as well as the depth of his theological thinking in this area.'
Dr Slipper said: 'At a personal level I feel rather daunted by what I shall have to do. But with God everything is possible. The unity Christ died for is God's dream for us all. At its heart lies the unity of Christians, so this is key to our mission and to every aspect of our spiritual health. Seeing the dreadful things happening in the world, unity seems clearly the true challenge of our times.'
Dr Slipper is an Anglican priest and a member of a community within the Focolare, which was founded by Chiara Lubich in 1943 in Trent, Northern Italy, with a focus on Jesus' prayer on the eve of his death: 'May they all be one' (Jn 17:21). It has spread across the world to Christians of about 350 churches and is in dialogue with members of other faiths, all dimensions of contemporary culture and in particular with people of no specifically religious belief.
Recently Dr Slipper has combined theological work for the Focolare International Research Centre with the role of Ecumenical Facilitator for Churches Together in Hertfordshire. He has worked for many years in the field of Christian unity and is a member of a number of national and international ecumenical bodies, including the Anglican Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum, the Methodist Anglican Panel for Unity and Mission and the Focolare International Ecumenical Ethical Commission.