Congregations and communities are encouraged to try out some of the ideas listed below. . You are invited to increase this list by sending your contribution to: Vermont Ecumenical Council at

  • Arrange for a “Table Talk”. Gather folks from neighboring churches. Provide coffee and tea, dessert and an informal atmosphere for conversation. A couple of sample questions might be: ‘what do we have in common?’; ‘in what ways are we different?’; ‘what would church be like if we lived out being ‘one in Christ?’
  • Host a hymn sing at which each denomination is invited to choose the hymn(s) that best describes/represents/inspires the tradition. Participants come prepared with copies of the hymn(s) for all and a brief description of the importance of these hymns.
  • Invite the local historical society to help plan a guided walk to/through each of the churches.
  • Set up a schedule to pray for each of the congregations in the community on a separate Sunday.
  • Sunday School children can learn about other churches in their neighborhood and exchange visits with the children in another Sunday School class. Most denominations have study series that explore other faith traditions.
  • Hosting and leading an informative program at each worship space. Programs might include an introduction to a typical worship service; a brief outline of history, polity and central doctrine of the tradition; a discussion of the uniqueness of the hosting congregation (architecture, local ministry, etc). A light reception is an effective way to foster fellowship and reflection. Local clergy, in communication with their congregation, agree upon a day of the week and time for these brief gatherings for as many weeks as there are participants.
  • Join the ‘slow food movement’. Bring together a group. Choose a home and a day. and invite each person to bring the ingredients for one course of a meal. Prepare the food together. Pray together. Eat together. Clean up together. Take the time to get to know one another in this setting of the ‘house church’ model.
  • Set up a short term book study. Or bring together the persons most involved and and interested in adult education to share and discuss what each church is studying. From this exchange might come a community wide reading/study opportunity.
  • Consider the idea of a “Children’s Sabbath”. On this day churches of many denominations hold intergenerational worship services: resources are available.
  • Organize an ‘invite-a-friend’ or Friendship Day. This approach was taken in a small town in New York State. It is a vision of doing evangelism in a cooperative rather than a competitive mode, and to giving life to a community rather that just building up individual congregations. The invitation said, “We don’t want to simply shift the attendance from when a single church has an Invite-A-Friend Sunday. By involving every church possible, we wish to change the focus to inviting those who rarely or never go to worship”
  • Eventually some forty congregations, Protestant and Catholic, in eleven surrounding towns participated in the day. The event took extensive planning (five months) and extensive promotion. The success of the effort was less in terms of the numbers but in planting the idea of an ecumenical approach to evangelism.
  • Choose a local work project for congregations in the community to work on together. Sign up work teams from each of the churches and match these teams with teams from other churches to ensure ecumenical fellowship. Establish a practice of prayer in the midst of the work.
  • Ponder a model that seeks to practice Christian unity and to express locally in a visible way, through the one sacrament we share in common: holy baptism. The Capital Area Council of Churches (Albany NY) embraced 90 churches and 16 denominations in this plan. Simply put, weeks prior to a baptism a Coordinator calls pre-designated Witnesses from each congregation to be present for the baptism (further details available).
  • A number of churches are part of the PINS project (Partners in Service). A church group ‘adopts’ a social worker in their local SRS office. If that worker needs something for a child who is in protective services (a back pack, a teddy bear, a warm winter jacket, for example), they ask the church group (if interested, contact the VEC office at

Telephone (802) 434-3397 ++ PO Box 764 ++Richmond, VT 05477

VECBS Home Page