Bishop Ingham was a panel member at a General Synod forum on ecumenical relationships.
He said that traditional ecumenism – dialogue among the historic Christian churches – is becoming “irrelevant and unimportant” as we move into a post-denominational culture. “There is emerging in the church a conservative, traditional coalition on the one hand, and a liberal, progressive one on the other.”
Bishop Ingham said that sometimes members of these groups feel greater affinity with like-minded people of other denominations than with fellow Anglicans.
“These two coalitions each have something to say to each other but they are not hearing each other,” he said.
In a later interview, Bishop Ingham said he was aware of theological polarities in his own Diocese of New Westminster, “so we have endeavoured to call the diocese together to reflect theologically and it’s been very successful.”
Examples were a dialogue on the Essentials document and another on homosexuality “which allowed other voices to be heard.” The bishop was also calling the diocese together to discuss the authority and interpretation of Scripture.
“These have helped bring us together. There is much better trust built up over the last four years,” he said, adding that “most have stopped lobbing theological hand grenades at each other.”
Other panelists focused on ecumenical councils, Anglican/Lutheran dialogue and ecumenical justice coalitions. After the panel presentation, participants formed 11 table groups to discuss various topics around ecumenism, summarized their findings on newsprint and added them to the “talking wall” containing messages to the whole church. They are also being transcribed for use by synod committees during the next triennium.