WITHIN days of 1,000 Evangelical clergy voicing alarm at "the accelerated movement towards Rome", the British Council of Churches has announced the Catholic and Protestant joint working group on ecumenism is to be extended to include Scotland as well as England and Wales.
The announcement came at the B.C.C.'s autumn meeting this week.
The extension, it was said. had been approved by Archbishop Gray of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and had "the cordial support of Cardinal Heenan".
Aims of the group include the stimulation of action among Catholic and Protestant Churches on common problems such as mixed marriages and proselytism.
When its creation was proposed in the spring it was suggested that it should follow the lines of the one set up early in 1965 by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity.
This week's report stated that the B.C.C. executive committee had proposed it should comprise: Eight representatives from the member Churches of the Council based in England; One from the WeIsh-based member Churches; Three from the Scottish-based member Churches; Five Catholics from England and Wales; Two Catholics from Scotland; and Two co-chairmen, one being the new general secretary of the B.C.C. (the Right Rev. Kenneth Sansbury) and the other to be nominated from the Catholic side.
The report added that the English and Welsh representa tion was practically complete and nominations were expected soon from Scotland.
ARCHBISHOP RE-ELECTED The autumn session of the B.C.C., held at Lambeth Palace, re-elected the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Michael Ramsey, as its president for a further live years after recording "its gratitude to the president for his leadership in and service to the ecumenical movement during the past five years".
The report added : "The executive committee is mindful of Dr. Ramsey's commitment to the ecumenical cause and to the advance of church unity on Orthodox, Roman ratholic and Reformed fronts. It is grateful for his initiative and leadership in the Council's life during the past five years and for his willingness to continue to preside over its deliberations."
The council then went on to record thanks to Dr. Oliver Tomkins, Anglican Bishop of Bristol, who is retiring from the chairmanship of the Faith and Order Department, which he has held since 1963.
Dr. Tomkins, who was associate general secretary of the World Council of Churches and secretary of its Faith and Order Commission from 1945 to 1953, is being succeeded by a Baptist, the Rev. Principal Leonard Champion.
EVANGELICALS* CONCERN The Evangelicals' expression of concern at "the movement towards Rome" was contained in a resolution approved at the second National Assembly of Evangelicals.
The resolution called "on all Evangelicals to give much more serious consideration to the possibility of action, demanded by loyalty to Biblical truth, including some emergency scheme for ministers and churches to be put into operation . . and a declaration to the rest of the religious world of our intentions".
The resolution was proposed by Mr. Leith Samuel, of Southampton, who expressed particular concern over what he described as "Romanising activities" in the Church of England.
He included among these the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Rome last March, the introduction of Prayers for the Dead in the recently approved Burial Service, the move to restrict the receiving of Cornmunion at Anglican altars to confirmed members of the Church of England.
Other examples he gave were the fact that a Jesuit priest had preached in Westminster Abbey and the sermon by Cardinal Heenan in Rochester Cathedral.
The delegates, who represented more than 600 churches and Christian societies, also heard an impassioned appeal for the formation of a United Evangelical Church, but finally approved a report saying there was no widespread demand at present for such a Church on denominational lines.