April 17th, 2013
[ik-yoo‘-muh-niz’-um or ek‘-yuh-muh-niz’-um] (Latin ecumenicus, “universal”; Greek oikoumene, “entire world”)
The term ecumenicism can mean many things depending on the context. In general, it refers to those who seek to promote cooperation and unity among the various traditions and denominations in Christianity by setting aside many doctrinal distinctions in order to promote a common good. This type of ecumenicism is not readily accepted among conservative Christians who believe that it amounts to compromise for the sake of unity. There are also more modest ecumenical movements within Christianity that seek limited unity and cooperation while still recognizing the divisions. The World Council of Churches, started in 1937, represents one of the most well-known and distinguished modern ecumenical movements and is represented by 349 churches and denominations with over 560 million members.