As readers of this blog already know I had the privilege of spending ten days in Rome last March. (There are extensive blogs on this trip archived on this site in March 2011.) I was a part of a small group of Christian leaders who serve in various contexts where missional-ecumenism clearly defines what we do in our mission for Christ. I only knew one of the six other team members of my small group before I journeyed to Rome. Deacon John Green and I had met some years ago and developed a friendship that has been mutually enriching. I have supported Emmaus Ministries, the work John pioneered many years ago here in Chicago, for some time. John's mission is featured in my book, Your Church Is Too Small. I also endorsed John's wonderful book, Streetwalking with Jesus: Reacing Out with Justice and Mercy (2011).
Just after I returned from Rome a member of our ACT 3 board, Marcus Payne, asked me to get the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune in order to read a front-page article about Cardinal George of Chicago. Marc noted that Cardinal George spoke about ecumenism and said that one of his regrets was not connecting more closely with the energy and mission of evangelical Protestants in Chicago. Marc felt led to get a copy of Your Church Is Too Small to Cardinal George. He had a personal friend inside the office of archdiocese, who had since moved to Canada, who could make sure that my book personally got to Cardinal George. I thought to myself, "This is a wonderful idea but I don't expect he'll even have time to look at it." (I get so many requests like this one, to read someone's book because a friend asks me to read it, that I knew he would very likely only find the time to glance at it.) To my utter surprise I recieved an invitation to meet with Cardinal George in his residence in the summer of 2011. He not only read my book but wanted to discuss it with me. I was both amazed and honored. We had a wonderful visit. At the end of our time I asked him, "Would you join me in a public venue to further discuss this idea of missional-ecumenism?" He agreed and I went to work on the place, time, format, etc. A lot of back and forth went into this effort but by late October it came together.
Because of these rather unusual series of events I am pleased to announce our forthcoming "Conversation on Unity in Christ's Mission" to be held Monday, March 26, in Edman Chapel at Wheaton College. Please tell anyone you know in the Chicago area that they are welcome to attend. If you cannot attend we plan to have a video of the event to put on our web site a few weeks after March 26th. We will also have cards and posters to advertise this free event by next week. If you need more information to make this evening known to the public please contact the ACT 3 office at 630-221-1817 or respond to this blog and I'll get information to you.