Rev. Dr William Adam is the new director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. He is also the ecumenical adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as well as a graduate of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute.
Can you talk a bit about your new role within the Anglican Communion?
Dr Adam: The new part of my role centres on the different ecumenical dialogues with which the Anglican Communion is engaged. I’ve already been involved with some of them, and with others I’m not so familiar. I’m very happy to be working in this new role. It’s good to be in the ecumenical world on an even broader level.
What are some of your best memories from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute?
Dr Adam: I was part of the 42nd Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies from 1993-94. I think we had more than 50 students that semester in Geneva. They came from 39 different countries, and it was an incredibly rich exposure to the world church. I was one of the younger ones; I was halfway through my ordination training, so I was in my early-to-mid 20s.
The Bossey experience formed me as a person: as a Christian and as a priest. I made some very close friendships. We largely lost touch after Bossey, but with the increase in social media a number of us have been able to get back in touch even after 25 years.
Have you always had such a spirit of ecumenism?
Dr Adam: When I was first studying church history in Manchester, I concentrated on the foundation of the Methodist movement in 18th century England. Quite early on, then, I had developed an interest in a Christian church that was not the church to which I belonged. I went on to study for my seminary training in Cambridge where different churches all worked together to train ministers. I began to take more seriously the imperative for Christian unity, which had been instilled in me by my time in Bossey. After I was ordained, I ministered in parishes for more than 20 years but I always also worked in ecumenical relations at local, national and international levels.
What gives you hope within the ecumenical movement today?
Dr Adam: Very interestingly, if you look through the history of the ecumenical movement, it has constantly changed and I’m seeing some very encouraging signs today, not least through a wider range of churches becoming involved. The Global Christian Forum, for example, has been able to bring in Pentecostal and evangelical churches which have previously not been as involved.