Synod Ecumenical Officer

Synod Ecumenical Officer: -  Revd Roy Fowler


The Synod Ecumenical Officer is the Revd Roy Fowler.    

Roy says: I bring plenty of Ecumenical experience to this post.   I am presently minister in the West Essex and Bishop’s Stortford Pastorate that includes formal working with the Church of England and the Methodist Church as well as informal working with a wide range of denominations. Most of my ministry has included a formal ecumenical dimension either in Single Congregation Local Ecumenical Partnerships LEPs) or Local Covenant LEPs. I have also served twice in Methodist/United Reformed Church United Areas, including being lead minister.   Eastern Synod is the third Synod for whom I have been Synod Ecumenical Officer.      This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

I have served on a number of Intermediate Bodies including being Chair of Wiltshire Churches Together. I am a member of the Methodist/United Reformed Church Liaison Group. I have wide experience on advising churches on local ecumenism including drafting LEP constitutions.

The Synod Ecumenical Officer's role is to encourage local ecumenical developments wherever and whenever they occur, from the simplest forms of co-operation in a local Churches Together to fully-worked out Local Ecumenical Partnerships. Roy is able to offer advice to any minister or elders' meeting contemplating what might be possible in terms of greater ecumenical co-operation, and he should be consulted before detailed negotiations are entered into, so as to save time spent in going down possible blind alleys.  In particular, he should be consulted about Local Covenants, Sharing Agreements, Constitutions for Local Ecumenical Partnerships, and registration of LEPs with the Charity Commission. (Further information may also be found on the 'Local Ecumenism' page of the Churches Together in England website).  He is assisted by Ecumenical Officers in the four main counties of the Synod, who will normally represent the URC on the local sponsoring bodies for LEPs.

Finally Roy has an ongoing role in overseeing existing ecumenical co-operation within the Synod and advises the Moderator on ecumenical issues more generally. So I am more than willing to be consulted on Ecumenical matters by anyone in the Synod and encourage you to do so.

Ecumenical News

Ecumenical News 

Model Governing Documents (MGDs) for LEPs & Ecumenical Areas

The MGDs for LEPs have now been updated for 2021. Although they have not received generic approval yet, the Charity Commission has indicated to us that they would welcome applications from LEPs using these documents. Therefore, if you are currently about to start the process of updating, or writing a new constitution for a LEP in your Synod, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain copies of the latest documents. These will be available in early January 2021.

Unfortunately, we have not received the same green light from the Charity Commission for the MGDs which have been drawn up for Methodist/URC Ecumenical (United) Areas. For those of you who may have a Methodist/URC Ecumenical (United) Area in your Synod and which requires a new constitution, please be aware that we have further consultation to carry out with the Charity Commission.

One further point to note. Charity law was due to change in 2021, meaning that churches would have to apply for charity registration if their income exceeds £5,000 per annum. At present churches are exempted if their annual income is less than £100,000 per annum. Following a period of consultation, the Department of Culture Media and Sport has now issued the following update to CTE:

DCMS intends to extend the regulations by 10 years to give excepted charities time to prepare for registration and to allow the Charity Commission as much time as possible to register all excepted organisations in a coordinated way. DCMS and the Charity Commission are working on a plan to phase more organisations onto the register in a manageable way over the extension period and we will share further details in early 2021. Extending the Regulations beyond 31 March 2021 requires Parliamentary approval, through Secondary Legislation. We intend to lay the necessary Statutory Instrument in early 2021

Flexible Framework Toolkit Just a reminder that many ecumenical initiatives do not require complicated and time consuming constitutions. In October, we launched a toolkit which outlines ‘lighter touch’ ways of ecumenical engagement, as well as guidance for when constitutions are necessary. For more details:

Free Churches Group (FCG) has just launched a report entitled, The Church and Social Cohesion, which it has produced in partnership with the Theos think tank. The research project consulted with over 360 people in England in an attempt to assess the churches’ social cohesion contribution on the ground. It offers a number of practical recommendations for how both churches and policymakers can maximize the churches’ potential to foster social cohesion in the community. Access the report here:

The Revd Canon Helen Cameron, Chair of the Northampton Methodist District has been elected as FCG Moderator-Elect. Helen will work alongside the current Moderator, Revd Dr Hugh Osgood and take over from him in April 2022.

Save the date – All Ecumenical Officers Conference, Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 September 2021

Following the success of the 2019 Ecumenism Today conference, there will be a longer conference in 2021, planned by NEOs working with CTE. This will include significant time for DEOs to gather in denominational meetings while County Ecumenical Officers meet together with CTE staff.

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