Ecumenical Education in Zaragoza, Spain

For more than 20 years now, the Institute has been involved in the educational work of the Communauté du Chemin Neuf (“New Way Community”). Chemin Neuf was founded 40 years ago in Lyon by Jesuit priest Laurent Fabre. It is an ecumenical community consisting today of more than 300 celibate women and men and 1200 families. It came out of the charismatic movement and is concerned with connecting the historic churches with various Pentecostal movements. 10% of its members come from Reformation churches. Although its center of gravity still lies in France, there are communities of the Chemin Neuf in more than 30 countries now. Over 100 houses, academies, and former cloisters are sites for its assorted activities.

A particular emphasis of Chemin Neuf is theological education. In many places training centers have been built that range from continuing education for laypeople to full-blown theological faculties (France, Switzerland, Holland, and also Spain). The Carthusian cloister in Zaragoza welcomes married couples and families, 60 people in all, for a twelve-week course from September to Christmas. One of the weeks of this educational program is dedicated to the achievements of the ecumenical movement. Foundational and methodological questions of ecumenism as well concrete implementations of these proposals comprise the conversation. For the third year in a row, Prof. André Birmelé of the Institute was the lecturer for a week in November in the Cartuja Aula Dei. Representatives of Chemin Neuf are also always participants in the Summer Seminars at the Institute each July.