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Ecumenical County

Churches Together in Cumbria

Ecumenical working in Cumbria has a long and committed history, encouraged through the umbrella organisation of Churches Together in Cumbria: Supported by many denominations and guided by its President and a small Executive consisting of other officers and representatives who collectively form the trustees, Churches Together in Cumbria (CTiC):

  • supports local Churches Together Groups;
  • convenes a Church Leaders Group for denominational leaders in the County;
  • provides a Spirituality Group that offers and trains in spiritual direction; and
  • promotes Social Responsibility on behalf of the member churches through a Social Responsibility Forum, an employed Social Responsibility Officer, and various initiatives, including:
  • supporting emergency work in response to floods, shootings and the Covid 19 Pandemic;
  • promoting Dementia Friendly Churches, Anna Chaplaincy, and Agricultural Chaplaincy (the coordinator's funding for which is provided by the District); and
  • encouraging awareness, response and challenge to issues such as human trafficking and modern slavery, the need for warm spaces, and linking with the Local Authority Faith Forums.

The Ecumenical County of Cumbria and God for All

In 2011, from within and alongside CTiC and from prayer and developing relationships between Church leaders and others, the Church of England, and the Methodist and United Reformed Churches in the County agreed a covenantal partnership to establish the country's very first 'Ecumenical County'. Formally, this became a 'Covenanted Partnership in Extended Area' (or 'CPEA').

In 2015, this commitment developed into the 'God for All' initiative, a commitment to reach out in mission to all those who lived in the county. ('God for All' was a title, initiative, program and commitment adopted in Cumbria prior to the term being used, with permission, by the Methodist Connexion in connection with its Evangelism and Growth Strategy; for the Cumbrian God for All initiative and resources see:, including the updating Blog posts).

ln 2016, the three 'Covenant Partners' renewed their commitment, being now joined also by the Salvation Army, and supported by four 'Companion' denominations (the North West Baptist Association, the Church of Scotland, the Religious Society of Friends, and the Roman Catholic Church). A copy of the 2021 Declaration of Partnership and Companionship is attached below.

In 2020, following a wide consultation, the God for All Vision Refresh established four overarching themes or priorities, that we seek to:-

  • follow daily Jesus Christ;
  • care deeply, including to listen to our neighbours and communities;
  • speak boldly through words and actions of the love that God has for all;
  • tread gently on God's earth through concern, action and justice for the climate and environment.

(The four adverbs can be interchanged for the four themes/priorities: follow/care/speak/tread – daily/deeply/boldly/gently, emphasising that they are interconnected and mutually informing in a similar way to the Methodist Church's four Our Calling themes.)

From 2021 onwards, the GfA vision and strategies have been further developed through a commitment to:-

  • promoting a mixed ecology of time-honoured/traditional and pioneering/fresh expression forms of church;
  • continuing to develop Ecumenical Mission Communities (of which each Local Methodist Church or Local Ecumenical Partnership is a part);
  • resourcing Mission Communities through renewing or developing appropriate strategies and initiatives (with a five year implementation plan now in place); and
  • encouraging adoption of the principles reflected in two metaphors: the 'Parable of the Garden', and (from Jazz) of 'Faithful Improvisation': see the attached God for All summary leaflet resource below.
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