Mission Center: The Episcopal Church: Partnerships

TEC Organized for Ecumenism

The Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations (EIR) is one part of the structure through which the Episcopal Church is organized for ecumenism and interfaith relations.

The EIR staff is comprised of the Presiding Bishop’s Interim Deputy for Ecumenical Relations (The Rev'd Dr. Thomas Ferguson), an administrative assistant and a seminary intern. The Deputy is appointed by the Presiding Bishop, the official Ecumenical Officer for The Episcopal Church (TEC). The current Presiding Bishop is the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The office works in conjunction with General Convention, which meets every three years, to coordinate the ecumenical work of the church. In the intermediate years, the Executive Council fulfills this role. The Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations (SCEIR) of the General Convention is the body that oversees the Ecumenical and interfaith work of the Church. This body is comprised of six bishops, six priests or deacons, and six laity who are appointed by the Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies.

The Ecumenical and Interfaith Office, in cooperation with SCEIR, compiles a report of the church’s activities every three years to be included in the General Convention’s Blue Book.  The latest report is available through the General Convention website.

In an effort to coordinate grassroots involvement, the Ecumenical Officers from each diocese work together in a body called the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical Officers (EDEO). Officers for each diocese are appointed by local bishops to encourage and organize ecumenical and interfaith activity at the congregational, local and regional levels.

Finally, the ecumenical and interfaith work of the Episcopal Church is part of the efforts of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church’s dialogues with the Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Old Catholics are complemented by parallel international dialogues through the Anglican Communion.

The Church Organized for Ecumenism - from the EIR Handbook
Ecumenical responsibilities of the Episcopal Church are implemented by the General Convention (legislates), the Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations (develops policy and strategy), the Presiding Bishop of the Church (chief pastor and primate), and the Executive Council (develops and implements program). The Ecumenical Officer assists the Presiding Bishop, the Standing Commission, and the Executive Council to carry out their responsibilities.

Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations - EIR Handbook
The Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations of the General Convention is canonically responsible "to develop a comprehensive and coordinated policy and strategy on relations between this Church and other churches, to make recommendations to General Convention concerning inter-church cooperation and unity, and to carry out such instructions on ecumenical matters as may be given it from time to time by the General Convention.

About Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical Officers
EDEO is the national network of those designated by their dioceses with special responsibility for encouraging the search for the wider visible unity of Christ's Church.

Standing Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations


Resources »

Prayers of the People for ELCA 10th Anniversary Full Communion Celebration
General Convention 2009 Statement on Interreligious Relations
NCC Statement on Ramadan and Cordoba House
Guidelines for Confirmation and Reception

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