Thanks so much for reading this month‘s news from The Initiative, a community committed to “walking in deeper friendship with Jesus and his followers, so that the love of Christ might exceed all divisions.” We do this primarily through prayer, sharing of our lives, and proactive work for greater unity. 

This month, we’re inviting you to join us for the Chapter Launch gathering in a month, sharing some pictures from a chapter that’s already launched, and giving a glimpse at an important new document for Catholic/Evangelical relationships.

Chapter Launch Gathering – there’s still space to join us!

     In roughly one month, we’re hosting Christians from a wide spectrum of Christian traditions for 48 hours together and we’d love for more of you to be a part of that encounter.
     Here’s a reminder of the three primary reasons we’re gathering: to experienceencounter across difference, to examine the core “way” and practices of encounters across difference, and to develop skills at hosting encounters across difference. This time together will also be the collaborative engine that will help us discern the ways local chapters can best nurture the growth of “love greater than division.” 
There’s no need to commit ahead of time to start a chapter in your area, just a willingness to explore what a local chapter might look like and to share your own experiences and insights.
     The Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien, IL is less than 30 minutes from O’Hare and Midway airports. You can sign up through the registration page here or by clicking on the image below. We don’t want money to be a barrier to your being there, so we have scholarships available. Reply to this email or reach out through our Facebook page with questions.

Chapter Launched

     Our Chicago-area friends are slightly ahead of the curve as it relates to chapters of The Initiative. On Sunday, April 28th members and friends of The Initiative gathered at the Focolare community house in Berwyn, IL to share a meal, share some of their own journey of walking in deeper friendship with Jesus and his followers from different churches, and begin to brainstorm about how to regularly encourage one another in the practices of our way of missional ecumenism. It’s a joy to share with you some of their joy together in a few pictures. 

Resource of the Month: “The Gift of Being Christian Together”

     A number of Catholic and Evangelical theologians (including two members of The Initiative) have been working together over the past two years to create “The Gift of Being Christian Together” document. It’s a short, but very powerful summary of how both communities see one another as followers of Jesus. 
     There’s more to come from this, including a website and other media that will provide individual Christians and whole church communions the chance to read the document, to endorse it and to learn more. We’ll keep you posted here as those pieces become public. In the meantime, read and reflect on what they’ve produced (even if you’re not from one of those traditions) and what resonates with you from the document.

At the end of the month, I’ll have the opportunity to take a two-day retreat with a number of other ecumenical leaders from around the US at St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana, hosted by our friends at the Glenmary Missioners. I’m discovering that continually taking the initiative toward the “messy middle” of seemingly intractable conflicts between Christians is at times a spiritually draining experience – and that it’s essential for me to take regular intentional times of being renewed in God’s abiding love.

I’m looking forward to being with old and new friends who do similar unity work as we explore listening to Christ’s voice (John 10) and being one with him (John 17). I’d appreciate your prayers for this time!