Around 250 people representing 255 different nations gathered in Assisi, Italy, last week  for a conference entitled ‘Where We Dwell in Common: Pathways for Dialogue in the 21st Century‘.

Participants looked at ongoing causes of division, explored sources and features of commonality and set hearts and minds toward re-energising the ecumenical cause through resolutely pushing thinking outside the box to new levels.

On each day, delegates also divided into three thematic areas of focus – exploring intra and inter-church issues; second, exploring inter-faith issues and, finally looking at issues pertaining to the relations between faith communities and the wider world in which they must live out their faith.

They received further nourishment from ‘Soul Food’ sessions, as well as from visiting the most sacred and special sites of Assisi and sharing “rich stories and specifically focused wisdom  from a wonderful array of scholars and practitioners from around the globe”.

Those from Scotland taking part  included:

  • Mark Godin, a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, who has a PhD from the University of Glasgow. He works on theology and literature, worship and interfaith issues. He has been an honorary research fellow at the Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem; he is a locum minister in Scotland and an honorary research associate at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Literature, Theology and the Arts.
  • Mario I. Aguilar, Professor of Religion & Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Religion & Politics at the University of St. Andrews. He is an oblate of the Camaldolese Benedictines and a hermit in Anstruther. He has explored the Christian and Buddhist traditions in Contemplating God, Changing the World (2008), Thomas Merton: Contemplation and Political Action (2011) and Church, Liberation and World Religions (2012).