Power To Change – Ecumenical or not Ecumenical?

At a meeting I attended last Saturday evening it was reported to me that at the recent New Horizon event, Stephen Cave of ‘Evangelical Alliance’ in his public promotion of ‘Power To Change’ stated publicly words to the effect that ‘Power To Change is not an ecumenical ploy’.

In view of the fact that I opened my article ‘The Leaven in Power To Change’ with these words – ‘The latest ploy to involve ‘Evangelical Catholics’ as full ‘partners’ and ‘participants’ in mainstream so-called Evangelical Mission efforts is being progressively launched over the next months’

I feel it only right to respond to what Mr Cave said. ‘Ecumenism’ in the professing Christian world has always been understood as being ‘co-operative effort’ to promote Christianity. Historically faithful ‘evangelicals’ did not get involved in such ‘co-operation’ when the Roman Catholic church was involved for the simple reason that Rome does not preach Biblical Christianity.

So, when it comes to ‘Power To Change’ is there ‘ecumenical co-operation’? – Mr Cave apparently says ‘No’. Firstly, in support of my assertion that it is ‘ecumenical’ can I ask

1. When the various committees [comprised of Protestants and Roman Catholics] met together to plan for ‘Power To Change’, did they also pray together for ‘Power To Change’?

2. When various churches [Protestant and Roman Catholic] registered for ‘Power To Change’ and contributed the £100.00 [or more] requested by ‘Power To Change’ were their financial contributions lodged to separate ‘Protestant’ and ‘Roman Catholic’ ‘Power To Change’ bank accounts?

3. When the prayers prayed for and then submitted to ‘Power To Change’ were being added to the running total – was there a separate ‘Protestant’ total and a separate ‘Roman Catholic’ total or were they all just tabulated together?

4. When ‘Protestant’ churches are handing out the ‘Power To Change’ booklet do they first remove the ‘Roman Catholic’ testimonies from it and when the ‘Roman Catholic’ churches hand out the ‘Power To Change’ booklet do they first remove the ‘Protestant’ testimonies or do both groups simply hand out the booklet in its entirety?

The answers to these questions are I believe obvious and show clearly that ‘Power To Change’ is ‘ecumenical’ as understood in the historical sense of the word.

Then secondly and lastly I am setting out below a number of ‘events’ listed on the ‘Power To Change’ web site on 24th September 2002. It really baffles me how anyone can state that this initiative is not ‘ecumenical’ in the light of these details

Cecil Andrews – “Take Heed” Ministries – 24 September 2002

  • Alpha Course

Larne and district are having their 4th interchurch Alpha course. Participating churches include Presbyterian Methodist Church of Ireland Elim Pentecostal Roman Catholic Seventh Day Adventist Christian Fellowship and others. In fact we want anyone wanting to know more about Jesus and the course is Christ Based and Denominations do not count.

Location – Highways Hotel

  • Robert Alexander
  • t: 028 28274040
  • Mart de Groot
  • t: 028 38879761
  • e: mdg@star.arm.ac.uk

Cross-Community Alpha Course

A cross-community Alpha course for people from all denominations or none. The organising group are made up of Presbyterians, Church of Ireland, Catholics, Salvation Army, Methodists, Fellowships churches, etc.

Location – Lisburn Leisureplex, Lisburn City

  • Kerry Nicholson
  • t: 028 9260 1299
  • e: info@licp.org

Ecumenical Endeavour

A joint ecumenical endeavour run by Fr Vincent Dempsey (Crookstown), Fr Thomas Coughlan (Moone) and Canon Ginny Kennerly (Timolin & Narraghmore).

Bolton Abbey, Moone, Co. Kildare

Tres Dias for Women

“Tres Dias” is Spanish for “Three Days”; a very special three days when adult Christians of different traditions gather together and find Jesus Christ in their midst. Tres Dias is a residential course running from Thursday evening to Sunday late afternoon. It is run by a lay team drawn
from different denominations. The cost is Stg £ 70.00 incl. accommodation and meals. Tres Dias is for people who want a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Location – Glenada Conferencce Centre, Newcastle, Co. Down

  • John O’Loughlin Kennedy
  • t: +353 1 2881966
  • e: tresdiasinireland@hotmail.com


Come and hear life changing stories from Michael McGoldrick & Archie McClean.Dance the night away with the Celtic Cross Band from Sligo €10 including Barbeque Supper

Location – Methodist Church Hall, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. (Beside Methodist Church, just up from Dunnes Stores on Northumberland Ave.) Tickets avaliable from Scripture Union, Lr. George’s Street, Dun Laoghaire

  • Further Details:
  • t: Myles Farrell – 01 2814502
  • t: Derek Poole – 01 2804345

Power to Change Alpha Conference

Power to Change Alpha conference with Holy Trinity Brompton

Location – The Prayer Centre, 9 North Main Street, Cork

  • Sr Bridget Dunne
  • Phone: +353-21-427 0362
  • Phone/Fax/TAM: +353-21-427-6789
  • Email: bridgetdunne@eircom.net

Additional ‘event’ downloaded 3 October 2002

Newtownabbey Greencastle Rathcoole InterChurch Group

Series of United Sunday Services in each of four denominations, with four different speakers one from each tradition – sharing their personal encounter with Jesus Christ. Open to everyone!

  • 29/09/02 St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church Greencastle – Speaker: Alf McCreary
  • 06/10/02 St Ninian’s Church of Ireland – Harvest Praise Speaker: David Jardine
  • 13/10/02 Whitehouse Presbyterian Church – Speaker: Maura Kiely
  • 20/10/02 Newtownabbey Methodist Mission – Speaker: Desmond Curran

Location – Greenisland Presbyterian Church, Co. Antrim

  • Liz Hughes / Betty Morris
  • e: s.e.hughes@ntlworld.com
  • t: 028 90863809

The following is taken from an ‘Ezine’ [basically an update by email] issued by Michael Fitch of Power to Change on 30 September 2002

Finances – We still need approximately £30,000. (In the overall context of this campaign this is encouragingly small, yet is still a lot of money!) We have received gifts from less than 10 churches but are aware many plan to give. If 50% of the churches, parishes and organisations that have supported this initiative gave £200 we would easily meet the need. Can you help? Please encourage your church or parish to give this week.

Let me quote again what I wrote in my document ‘The leaven in Power to Change’ concerning what Basil Good Chairman of the Power to Change Republic of Ireland Committee said on RTE TV in the January broadcast to promote Power to Change. Mr Good was keen to emphasise that Churches would not be asked to contribute financially to the advertising campaign and stressed that

‘POWER TO CHANGE’ would not interfere in the area of ‘doctrine’ but would leave that entirely to the discretion of the ‘participating churches’.

In view of the vast sums of money that are being talked about in relation to this initiative and where conflicting messages appear to be being put out by those in positions of leadership about whether money was/is needed or not from participating churches I wonder is it the intention of

Power to Change to put full details of all the financial arrangements concerning this venture into the public arena [without of course infringing any ‘anonymity’ where that has been requested by donors]. Personally, if I were supportive of this campaign, I would be asking for such information to be sent to me.

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 3 October 2002

Additional ‘events’ downloaded 7 October 2002

  • Longford Ecum. Group

  • 3rd Oct. 8pm – Methodist Church, Longford Speaker Rev Warren Nelson
  • 11th Oct. 8pm- Songs of Praise at St John’s Church of Ireland, Longford
  • 12th Oct. afternoon -.Grace Fellowship Drama at Longford Shopping Centre
  • 12th Oct. 7pm -Youth Mass at St Mels Cathedral
  • 12th Oct. 8.30 – 10pm Open Air Concert, Market Square, Longford, music by Ciaran Smith and “One week of days”
  • 13th Oct. 2-5 Family afternoon in the Mall – barbeque and live music

‘Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace’ Raheny, Power to Change Events

  • Sun. 6th – 11.30am Mass, Speaker: John Lonergan (Governor of Mountjoy) – 5.00pm Mass, Speaker: Fr. Chris Miley.
  • Sun. 20th – 11.30am Mass, Speaker: Sr. Patricia Mulcahy – 12.30am Mass, Speaker: Ms. Emer Casey

Location –  ‘Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace’ Raheny, Co. Dublin

P2C Prayer Meeting

  • Songs of worship, Eucharistic adoration, Rosary, Scripture, talk on P2C Gospel message.

Location – Childrens chapel, Church of St. John the Apostle, Knocknacarra, Co. Galway

  • Fr. Hugh Clifford
  • t: 091 590077
  • e: hughclifford@eircom.net

The Person, The Problem, The Power

Today many people are asking questions and sometimes not receiving answers that make sense, or that are confusing

  • The Person – Who is Jesus?, Wed. 9th
  • The Problem – Who am I?, Wed. 16th
  • The Power – What can I become? Wed. 23rd

Location – Westside Baptist Church, Old Chapel, Bandon, Co. Cork

Bishop Martin Drennan & Bishop Ken Clarke

  • Speakers
  • Bishop Martin Drennan, Catholic Auxiliary Bishop.
  • Bishop Ken Clarke, Church of Ireland Bishop
  • Topics
  • ‘The Bible and Change’ – ‘The Bible and You’
  • ‘Jesus and Change’ – ‘Jesus and You’

Supper in St Matthias’ Parish centre on Sat. & Sun. evenings

Location – St. Matthias’ Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church – Killiney, Co. Dublin

Ecumenical Prayer Workshop

An afternoon of reflection, worship, prayer and fellowship culminating in a Service of Thanksgiving for Harvest.

Location – Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna, Co. Galway

  • Claire Besnyoe
  • e: 091 843004

Halloween Fancy Dress

Theme: Saints & Scholars. No Cost. (Youth 2000)

Location – Toners, Baggot Street, Dublin

All ‘events’ are vetted first by ‘Power to Change’ as the following extracts from their web site show – Advertise your Power to Change Event: If you are running an event under the Power to Change theme, and you would like to have it advertised on this web-site and possibly in various printed materials, please fill out the form below as fully as you can.

  • We would like to advertise on this web-site
  • We would like to advertise (if possible) in some printed material
  • I understood that the advertising of my event is subject to approval.

Cecil Andrews – ‘Take Heed’ Ministries – 7 October 2002