Julien Hammond was awarded the Rev. Marilyn McClung Memorial Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution to Ecumenism in Edmonton. The ceremony took place Jan. 23 at the prayer service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity organized by the Edmonton District Council of Churches.
The award honours the life of Rev. Marilyn McClung, who passed away on Feb. 7, 2001. Rev. McClung was an EDCC representative for the Anglican Diocese and served on the executive of the EDCC as secretary and vice-president. However, because of health concerns, she was unable to take on the role of President.
When asked about receiving the award, Julien said, “I’m humbled. It’s a big honour to be recognized by your peers. Ecumenical ministry, by its very nature, is never a solo act. You are always working with ecumenical leaders, community members. So this award isn’t for my work exactly, and certainly not for my work alone, rather for the work I have done on behalf of others.”
“I would also like to acknowledge that the work that I have been able to do is because of the generous and forward thinking of the Catholic bishops of Edmonton who have maintained space and structure that supports Christian unity in the Edmonton area. This isn’t just since my involvement for the last 20 years, but for a very long time. This doesn’t happen everywhere, but it happens here and I am very grateful.”
Hammond has received the support of three bishops since he began, including former Archbishop MacNeil and now Cardinal Collins, as well as current Archbishop Richard Smith.
Hammond assumed new responsibilities as the Archbishop’s Principal Secretary earlier this fall and has had to pull back from some aspects of his ecumenical work.
“As many of us have observed, you often only realize how significant the contribution of one person is, once they are not there. This has certainly been the case with Julien Hammond,” noted Rev. Larry Wright, acting president of the EDCC.
Hammond has been the staff lead for the Ecumenism and Interfaith Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton for the past 20 years. In this role, he has been an outstanding mentor, leader, and co-worker for many in the field of ecumenism.
Throughout the years, Hammond has been active in local Edmonton ecumenical initiatives including the Edmonton and District Council of Churches, the Dialogue initiatives, Edmonton Ecumenical Peace Network and No Room in the Inn. He has been a supporter and advisor in other ecumenical groups such as the Ecumenical Outdoor Way of the Cross and Inner City Pastoral Ministry. Hammond has also been seen wearing a hard hat on a Habitat for Humanity build site.
Ecumenical ministry focuses on four areas – formation, dialogue, spiritual and social action. According to Hammond, “Christian unity is important because we are tapping into an element of Jesus’ own spirituality. Jesus prays “That all may be one, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” We are giving fidelity to Jesus own prayer. Unity in the church is tied to our ability to carry out Christ’s mission to the world.”
Through his ecumenical work, Julien noted that he has a greater appreciation for the life of Christ that exists in other ways outside the Catholic Church because it is all of us together working to reach greater fidelity to the gospel, sharing the presence of gifts, and calling each other to come to the higher denominator in Christ.
In reflecting on his future, Julien noted that he hopes his skills and gifts as an ecumenist will add to the abilities he needs in his new role. He knows that his work will be guided by the Holy Spirit.
Archbishop Richard Smith applauded the Edmonton and District Council of Churches for taking the time to nominate Julien for the award and is grateful that Julien agreed to step into his new role. “In the short time that Julien has been working as the principal secretary, there is no doubt that his ecumenical work is important and will continue to be.”
“To speak of Julien’s contribution to Ecumenism, it is necessary to do more than provide a list of organizational commitments. One must also speak of Julien the Ecumenist as a faith-filled, joyous, enthusiastic, prudent and wise Christian leader,” concluded Rev. Wright.
The Edmonton & District Council of Churches (EDCC) was founded in 1942 as a fellowship of Christian churches in the Edmonton area committed to living out Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his followers: “that they may all be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17: 21).
To accomplish this vision, the EDCC organizes and encourages activities of common worship, fellowship, dialogue, cooperation, service and prayer among its member churches, and the leadership and the congregants represented by them. For more information go to http://www.edccunity.org/