The Evangelical and Pentecostal Ecumenical Dialogue Association (EPEDA) is an association of ecumenical practitioners working to advance Christian unity in, through, and beyond our communities.
The scope of EPEDA’s work is focused in four main areas:
i) hosting events and establishing structures that foster relationship amongst practitioners
ii) the creation of ecumenical best practice resources for utilization by both churches and individuals
iii) providing ecumenical consulting around areas of unity and conflict
iv) the formation and execution of formal ecumenical dialogues
Our conviction about the necessity of ecumenical work comes from a variety of places within our faith. First and foremost, the biblical text and the centrality that the formation of a diverse yet united people of God plays in redemptive history. Among the many texts with this theme, we think especially of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and the profound statements about the unity of God’s people in Ephesians. We think also of the gospel’s unitive power amongst Jews and Gentiles in the earliest days of the Church. Our ecumenical convictions are further substantiated by Christian history and our Christian experience—both of which testify that unity is key reality for God’s people to enjoy and to fight for. But, perhaps the most pressing reason we believe our communities need to engage in ecumenism is for the sake of mission.
We pursue ecumenism because it is essential for Christian mission.
A strength of our communities is that we are eager to tear down any obstacle that inhibits Christ’s gospel going forth to the ends of the earth. The experience of the saints through the ages testifies to the fact that disunity is indeed a huge obstacle to Christian mission. The scandal of our division casts suspicion upon our proclamation that there is but one gospel for the forgiveness of sins. And as a positive consequence, when we pursue unity with other Christians our faith grows in depth and we grow in love for the Church and our God. This depth and diversity of faith and love helps us to proclaim and enact our mission in more faithful ways than we would be able to with the resources of our tradition alone. Our ecumenical efforts have a central purpose and that purpose is to engage, support, and participate in the mission of the Triune God.
Much the same can be said for dialogue. In order to grow in meaningful unity we have to communicate with those with whom we differ. We have to learn from each other, receive correction from each other, and work to understand each other. We don’t dialogue in order to relinquish our convictions or beliefs or because we believe the distinctives of our traditions are inconsequential. Rather, we dialogue in order to share our convictions, to hear how others disagree with us, and to figure out how we can disagree righteously and how we can unite in mission despite our differences.
We pursue dialogue because it is essential for Christian mission.
EPEDA (formerly the Consortium of Evangelical Networks for Unity--CEN) works within member denominations and churches of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA). Though EPEDA's events, trainings, and resources are available to all, formal membership within EPEDA is restricted to these two segments of Christianity that we serve.
*Fiscal sponsorship for EPEDA in 2018 comes from Kingdom Mission Society. EPEDA is in the process of formalizing a board of advisors and electing officers who will govern and carry out its work.