‘Fulfilling Christ’s own wish that we should be one’. The early ecumenical work of George Bell as Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dean of Canterbury (1914-1929)

Methuen, C. (2008) ‘Fulfilling Christ’s own wish that we should be one’. The early ecumenical work of George Bell as Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Dean of Canterbury (1914-1929). Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte, 21(2), pp. 222-245.

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Abstract

George Bell, Bishop of Chichester from 1929 to 1958 is well known in church circles, both for his ecumenical engagement, initially in the Life and Work Movement and later during the founding period of the World Council of Churches, and for his efforts on behalf of the German Confessing Church. This article investigates his ecumenical work during the 1920s. In 1914, Bell was appointed chaplain to Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, a post he held until 1924. During the First World War he sought to support joint work by the churches. In 1919, he took part in the Conference of the International Movement for Friendship between the Churches in Oud Wassenaar, where he met leading figures of the infant ecumenical movement, including Adolf Deißmann, Friedrich Siegmund Schultze and Nathan Søderblom. During the 1920 Lambeth Conference, Bell played a not insignificant role in the drafting of the Appeal to All Christian People, which helped to shape his ecumenical work in the years that followed. In 1924, Bell was appointed Dean of Canterbury, where he sought to express his ecumenical interests through concrete steps, for instance by inviting Free Church Ministers to preach in Canterbury Cathedral. In this period he also initiated the Anglo-German Theological Conferences which grew out of the Stockholm Life and Work Conference and met in 1927, 1928, and 1931. Bell’s very varied approaches to ecumenism demonstrates that it is too simple to see his fundamental vision as having an exclusive focus on shared common action. Rather, Bell was quite aware of the need for theological dialogue and fostered this through his work.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Methuen, Professor Charlotte
Authors: Methuen, C.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Journal Name:Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte
ISSN:0932-9951

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