By Pastor Diane Dardon
Right before Jesus’ betrayal, our Lord raised his voice to God in prayer. Jesus’ heart was disquieted over his disciples and he was particularly troubled by their disunity. He prayed, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:11b New Revised Standard Version). Jesus knew too well that his disciples were often at odds with each other and the disunity the disciples displayed so many years ago continues to plague the Christian church today. As a campus pastor, I have witnessed and experienced great divisiveness between Christian groups on campus and my heart has been trouble over that for years. I have prayed. And, prayers are answered!
Last year DePaul launched an Ecumenical Scholars program. Ecumene is a New Testament word referring to all the inhabitants of all corners of the earth. Growing out of this understanding of ecumene, many global, national, and local ecumenical movements work to unite all Christians of all places. Michael Vertin, a renowned Christian scholar, describes the ecumenical movement as “the collaborative effort of Christians to foster the visible unity of Jesus’ church.” The DePaul ecumenical movement is just beginning and we are working at living into Jesus’ prayer for unity.
DePaul’s Ecumenical Scholars represent many Christian groups on campus. The Scholars meet weekly to study and engage in dialogue over Christian dissension and to consider the complexities and possibilities of bringing Christians together. This group of committed young adults is dreaming of ways in which Christians at DePaul can actually gather together, pray together, and support each other. These students are living out God’s call to love one another and DePaul’s mission to raise up the dignity of all.