The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (ESBVM) exists to advance the study at various levels of the place of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church, under Christ and of related theological questions; and in the light of such study to promote ecumenical devotion. Its aim is to show that, in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Christians of many traditions may find a focus in their search for unity.
    Prayer for the Society God our Father, through the Blessed Virgin Mary you gave your Son to be our Redeemer; send your blessing on the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary; so that strengthened by your grace, enlivended by by your Spirit, and renewed in the One whom Mary bore, your Church may grow in the unity You desire. We ask this through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord.
  • Social media

  • Contacts

    General enquiries (UK & international)
    Fr Bill, OSM
    Hon General Secretary

    General enquiries (USA)
    Dr Virginia Kimball, Chapter President

    Membership (UK & international)



    Web site

    ESBVM is registered in the UK as a charity. No. 282748

ESBVM Branch Lecture, May 10th 2014, 11am: ‘The icon-writer and how an icon on the BVM is inspired …

Posted by esbvm on April 14th, 2014

… and also how it is regulated by traditions of the discipline – with illustrations.’

To be given by Silvia Potter-Dimitrova on Saturday 10th May 2014 at 11am in The Magdalen Chapel [St Mary Magdalen's Chapel], Holloway, Bath BA2 4PX. Those attending should seek parking round The Magdalen Chapel on Saturday morning [partly residents' and partly two hour free] in a couple of roads nearby where free parking is possible on a pot-luck basis. Otherwise, No 13 bus from Dorchester St Bus Station to Bear Flat / alighting at Shakespeare Ave and walking back to Holloway. Coffee offered from 10.30am by kindness of the Chapel. Free admission / All welcome / Further info: Father Bill, OSM / / 01225 832096 R.S.V.P would be helpful both for this occasion and others and useful for future publicity about other events.

Posted in Lectures | No Comments »

Mr Geoff Dignum R.I.P.

Posted by esbvm on March 28th, 2014

With sadness the ESBVM, in a letter to Mrs Anne Farrelly, learnt this week of the death of Mr Geoff Dignum, a long-time supporter of the Society who devoted considerable effort in the promotion of its activities as our ESBVM Promotions Secretary and as a member of our Council and Executive. His jovial presence at ESBVM occasions was a blessing and much valued. Geoff died on 16th March 2014 and His funeral Requiem is to be held at St Alban’s Cathedral & Abbey Church on Friday April 4th 2014 at 10am in St Alban’s Cathedral followed by a reception in the Deanery. The Rev’d Marianne Atkinson and her husband Revd Bob Torrens will represent the ESBVM for which we are all most grateful. May Geoff have the full share in the Resurrection in the hope of which we all live and may he rest in peace.

Our deepest sympathy and prayers to his two sisters, Mrs Gillian Giddings and Mrs Jenny Ironmonger and to all of Geoff’s family.

Posted in Council & Executive, News, Obituary | No Comments »

The Marian Aspects of the Wilton Diptych – March 29th 2014, Bath

Posted by esbvm on March 25th, 2014

ESBVM Branch Lecture

‘The Marian Aspects of the Wilton Diptych’
by Dr Penny Wallis [Licensed Lay Minister of the Diocese of Salisbury]

11.00am, Saturday 29th March 2014

Catholic University Chaplaincy Centre
below St John The Evangelist Presbytery, South Parade, Bath BA2 4AF
accessed via stone steps to the right of the St John’s Presbytery

Free admission
All welcome
Further info: Father Bill, OSM (; 01225 832096)

Download PDF poster

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ESBVM Council Meeting – Wednesday March 12th, Oxford

Posted by esbvm on February 28th, 2014

The next ESBVM Council Meeting will take place between 2pm and 4pm on Wednesday 12th March, in the Narthex at the University Catholic Chaplaincy, St Aldate’s, Oxford, by kindness of the Chaplain, and to be preceded by lunch (pre-lunch drink at 12-30 in the Buttery Bar and lunch at 13.00) at Christ Church.

At their earliest convenience, Council Members and Branch Representatives should please notify the Hon Gen Secretary of their wish to take lunch (indicating vegetarian option where applicable) and intention to attend the Council meeting.

Each Branch may send one representative. Please take this as formal notification of the next meeting of the Council.

Fr Bill OSM
Hon Gen Secretary

Posted in Council & Executive, News | No Comments »

Mary at the Foot of the Cross – ‘Believe in the victory of love’ (Pope Francis)

Posted by esbvm on February 27th, 2014

One of a series of reflections, ‘A Journey of Hope with Mary’, to help deepen our faith, following the footsteps of Mary and Pope Francis.

Full program

Friday 14th March 8pm
Notre Dame de France
5 Leicester Place
London WC2H 7BX

Please note that this is not an ESBVM event. Any enquiries should be directed to the organizers:
020 7440 2663

Posted in Lectures | No Comments »

Times They Are a-Changin’ for ESBVM – introduction of new banking and membership arrangements

Posted by esbvm on February 7th, 2014

Teams and new help are working on ways to bring the ESBVM organisation into the 21st Century so that it continues its important ecumenical task and can operate as new generations do. Employment of new software for accounts and membership is being introduced for more efficient operation to make it more attractive to a wider membership audience while not disturbing those ESBVM members used to more traditional approaches.

Resolving certain necessary administrative adjustments in our ESBVM Banking arrangements, operation of our ESBVM Membership coordination and re-timings of publications to relate to reduced meetings and different scheduling of the AGM will take time and we must allow for one another’s busy lives with demands outside the activities of the ESBVM. Patience will have its own reward.

Hon General Secretary

Posted in News | No Comments »

ESBVM New Faces, New Efforts, Same ESBVM spirit as of old – Importance of the ESBVM Newsletter + ESBVM Website

Posted by esbvm on February 7th, 2014

The ESBVM like other organisations experiences movement and change – it can’t just stand still. Some of our key members have in the last two years passed to the Lord and others have relinquished their roles having borne the heat of the day for many years. Now we must look for others to step up to the plate and that is happening. ESBVM New Faces, New Efforts, while holding onto the same ESBVM spirit as of old are needed.


In the midst of it all there are reference points of continuing importance and one of these must be the ESBVM Newsletter. Its very name indicates that if it doesn’t convey news of what we are about then we are missing out on one of our major strengths that has enriched us over decades. The same applies to the ESBVM Website. The importance of the ESBVM Newsletter + ESBVM Website are indisputable. We are blessed with two younger contributors who are already working for the society in these areas. The tasks, however, are not to be left at the door of the Newsletter Editor and Website Secretary alone. They must be helped by being fed interesting material from the branches and cells that still exist and from those who are doing things that are worth hearing about, not just to admire but to inspire. If things are happening, please let us all know about them and so it is down to the members to be in touch, please.


The photos of the recent ESBVM Newsletter being sent out give a glimpse of a new face or two taking on tasks fulfilled for years by others. We hope to acknowledge these generous participants past and coming in the near future. The photos show also that after 35 years and more, our ESBVM HQ has moved from the Farrelly home to Bath from where our ESBVM Newsletter is now distributed. The ESBVM acknowledges its huge debt to Joe [RIP] and Anne Farrelly for their tremendous generosity in housing the ESBVM publications, current Archives and serving as the nerve centre of the society’s life for so many years with a gracious hospitality and generosity of service that cannot be calculated or repaid by us.

The essence of sound Ecumenism has surely to be the conviction and practice of “better together” for the sake of the end in sight.

Hon General Secretary

Posted in News | No Comments »

ESBVM AGM & Memorial Mass for Mr Frank O’Brien R.I.P – Saturday June 7th 2014

Posted by esbvm on February 7th, 2014

The recent ESBVM Newsletter gave notice of The meeting of the ESBVM AGM 2014 which is once again graciously to be hosted, by kindness of the Prior, at the Carmelite Priory, 41 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4BB in the Refectory Room. Unfortunately, an error crept into the Newsletter announcement suggesting the date was the 8th June when in fact it is on Saturday 7th June 2014.

Since the Newsletter went out, it has been agreed to hold a Memorial Mass at 12.15 in the Carmelite Priory Church for our deceased Treasurer, Mr Frank O’Brien, whose first anniversary will occur at that time. This may seem a long time to wait for a Memorial Service but it is a moment when members of the Society might easily be together. We will, of course, be remembering others of the ESBVM who have also gone to the Lord in recent times and ask members to advise the Hon General Secretary of any deaths of which one is aware by email.

Coffee will be available from 11.30 am for those who arrive before the time in the church and those who come later, while others are attending the Memorial Mass, may enjoy engaging in conversazione. Our usual AGM Lecture will not take place this year. Please bring packed lunch / hot drinks will be provided / AGM commencing at 2.00pm and closing by 4.00pm. Please take this as the formal and the required notification of the corrected date of the ESBVM Annual General Meeting.

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Posted in AGM, Obituary | No Comments »

19th International ESBVM Congress 2014

Posted by esbvm on December 23rd, 2013

Magdalene College, Cambridge

The 19th International ESBVM Congress 2014 is to be held, DV, at Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK from 22nd – 25th September 2014; the venue making it especially attractive.

Please note the dates in your diary now, and if at all possible advise the Hon General Secretary e-mail: if you are interested in attending to help with planning. The Master of Magdalene, The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Baron Williams of Oystermouth, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has generously made himself available as a keynote speaker. In this he fulfils a promise he made to play a fuller part for the ESBVM when he had relinquished office as Archbishop. His willingness to play such a part along with that of other distinguished contributors indicates the privilege the society enjoys in the interest shown by those who recognise the continuing importance of the ESBVM’s efforts in this area of ecumenical exchange. The Congress has been made briefer at the behest of potential participants, but will hopefully have a satisfyingly rich fare in that curtailed meeting time. More details will follow in a full programme with booking details and booking form available on request shortly.

The participation and interest of the Master of Magdalene, former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and others hopefully make the Congress something to be keenly anticipated.

The Congress, based in Magdalene College, is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, and situated in the heart of Cambridge on the banks of the River Cam. Founded in 1428 as a Monk’s Hostel, which hosted Benedictine student monks, it hosts over 300 students in term time. Cripps Court was built in 2005 as a conference and accommodation facility to the College.

Magdalene College has a fantastic range of conference facilities, from beautiful historic buildings, to bright, modern and contemporary spaces for a variety of events. It boasts an auditorium for 142 people, a striking oak beamed gallery for informal dining, five attractive seminar rooms and a large foyer with exhibition space – all fully accessible. In addition, there are high quality ensuite bedrooms and disabled facilities. In the historic part of College, the 16th century Hall and the Parlour will be used for formal dining. The Conference costs will include 3 nights full board with single ensuite accommodation.

Fully inclusive single occupancy for 3 nights £420.00 per person + £30 per person conference fee
Non-residential rate (including lunch) available on request [Dinner extra] + £10 conference fee
All prices include VAT where appropriate.
A full brochure will be sent out shortly with a booking form

Further enquiries about the Congress to:-
ESBVM Hon Gen Sec [Father Bill, OSM] on e-mail: / +44 (0) 1225 832096
ESBVM Congress Secretary [Mrs AJ Gate] on

Click here to download a flyer and expression of interest form. Please return this form to ESBVM, 112 Entry Hill Bath, BA2 5EQ, UK, or express interest using the online form below.

Posted in Conferences & Congresses, News | 1 Comment »

Recent Additions to the ESBVM pamphlet archive – November 2013

Posted by esbvm on November 16th, 2013

Over its history, the ESBVM has published a large number of pamphlets by respected theologians of the traditions that make up its membership. These are now being made available as a free-to-access online archive as downloadable PDF files and using the YUDU magazine publishing facility.

Recent additions to the archive include:

ARCIC Statement on Mary-Grace & Hope in Christ, Dr Desmond Miller (Download as a PDF)
Is That Any Way to Speak to your Mother, Lad?, Michael Russell (Download as a PDF)
The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Doctrine and Devotion of John & Charles Wesley, The Rev’d Norman Wallwork (Download as a PDF)
An Anglican & Catholic View of Mary 1696 & 1703, Peter Sibley (Download as a PDF)
The Contribution of the Abbe Paul Couturier to the Week of Prayer for Christian unity, Sister Teresa Burke (Download as a PDF)
Luther on the Magnificat, Donal Flanagan (Download as a PDF)
The Veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church prior to the Council of Ephesus AD431, Marie Farrell (Download as a PDF)
Mary and the Eucharist: A Seventeenth Century Anglican View, Charles Miller (Download as a PDF)

This is only a small selection and the full list can be seen on our Publications page. If the pamphlet you want is not yet available online, email the publications secretary and that title will be prioritized. Please note that this is a free service offered by an organization with limited income and no paid staff. We cannot commit to any particular timescale in making a requested title available, although we will endeavour to do so in 10 days to a fortnight. Requests for pamphlets needed for essays, articles, term papers &c should be submitted as early as possible.

Posted in News, Pamphlet archive, Publications | No Comments »