Ecumenical Parish - folly or the future?

Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Virginia

“Trinity Ecumenical Parish is affiliated with the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Presbyterian Church USA. We welcome Christians from many other backgrounds as well. We look for God at work in every person and we are committed to respecting and understanding one another. We seek to walk side by side as we follow Jesus Christ and serve all people in Christ’s name.” from their web site

they have both Lutheran and Episcopal Pastors -and Presbyterian Minister -

it would seem to me that the Presbyterians would be the odd man out in Liturgy and Ritual but they seem to make it work

No offense intended, but it seems this may work quite well of these three, as they all seem in unity in secular and political philosophy, which appears to be primary in the modernist, liberal communions.


The danger with any kind of ecumenical parish is to minimize doctrine. In other words, the trend towards a “least common denominator”. Since there is a tendency to omit, or deemphasize any belief that everyone does not hold, it plays into the the trend to avoid doctrine all together. It leads to a kind of Unitarianism, where any doctrine is permissible, but none is standard.

C. S. Lewis spent much of his effort to heal divisions between communions. But even he, in his book Mere Christianity, recognizes their distinct necessity. The Church can bring people into the common hall - evangelism. But that is only for a time, for each person. Eventually everyone needs to come into a specific room, to live. It is only there where the fullness of Christianity is lived. How do you know which room is best? Perhaps surprisingly, Lewis said it is not friendliness, etc, but the truth of its doctrine.

In Bloomington, IN, there has been a “First United Church” for decades. They were originally called the First Baptist-United Church of Christ and belonged to both denominations.

These days, I get the impression that they cater to the “spiritual but not religious” crowd of folks who have fallen away from another area congregation.

That said, to their credit, they do a great deal of good for the community at large when it comes to loving service for those in need.

Folly or the future? Both.

It seem to me all it accomplishes is adding another denomination to the pot and another division.

I’d have to say folly, compromise for the sake of unity is not a good idea .

These are radically liberal denominations, and any differences they once had are now gone. It’s easy to not have differences when you don’t really believe in anything.

The three denominations listed are in serious, if not terminal, decline. I suppose it’s easier to keep one church building open than three.

The Lutherans and The Episcopal Church are already in communion with each other - and have a number of merged parishes across the US. Their worship styles are similar as are their governing structures.

Presbyterians? I wonder if they are a more liturgical community in this case. I know one church in San Francisco that would not be uncomfortable with the Eucharist every Sunday, but most Presbyterian churches I have worshipped in have praise music, some prayers and a sermon. I wonder how that works out with the Anglicans and Lutherans.

I’m not saying it doesn’t; I’m just wondering how it fits.

Someone else mentioned the three denominations being liberal. I suppose so. For me, the questions are more worship style than politics.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit