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

Annual ESBVM AGM Lecture: ‘An Anglican observer at Vatican Council II and the Declaration of ‘Mater Ecclesiae’ – Mary as Mother of the Church by Pope Paul VI’

Posted by admin on June 2nd, 2015

The Ecumenical Society of The Blessed Virgin Mary


ESBVM logo (c)

‘An Anglican observer at Vatican Council II and the Declaration of ‘Mater Ecclesiae’
– Mary as Mother of the Church by Pope Paul VI’
The Rt Revd Bishop Christopher Hill [Bishop Emeritus of Guildford].

Saturday 6th June 2015 at 11.30am
In the Refectory Hall of The Carmelite Priory
41 Kensington Church Street
London W8 4BB
[By kind permission of The Prior. O.D.C.]

Free admission / All welcome

Please bring packed lunch for a lunch break from 12.45pm until 13.30.
Coffee and tea provided by ESBVM

The Annual General Meeting is at 13.45 until 15.30pm

There is a large range of bus and Underground services going very close to the Carmelite Priory

Click here to open the TfL Journey Planner

Further information from Hon General Secretary / e-mail:

Click here for a PDF poster advertizing the AGM Lecture

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ESBVM USA 2015 Weekend Conference – “The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence, and Vision”

Posted by esbvmusa on April 9th, 2015

The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA presents its 2015 Annual Weekend Conference on the theme of: “The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence, and Vision.” The conference will be held on the campus of Misericordia University in Dallas, Pennsylvania on the weekend of August 7-9, 2015.

The mother of Jesus has stood at the heart of Christianity’s most profound truths, passionate devotions, and fiery controversies. For centuries after the Protestant Reformation, the mere mention of Mary’s name in certain contexts could ignite hot-tempered disagreements.

By the twentieth century, Christians began trying to repair divisions by coming together in formal dialogues. Marian topics were cautiously included in the later of these dialogues, and joint statements that described new appreciation for each other’s Marian traditions – while still noting important areas of disagreement – were signed.

While great progress was made during these dialogues, very few people are aware of them, and the way forward is not clear. The purpose of this conference is to continue the important work of Marian dialogues, assessing their relevance to contemporary religious thought and practice within the various Christian traditions and providing some discussion regarding future possibilities.

The cost for the entire weekend is $75.00. Fees for Friday only and Saturday only vary. Please click on the link below for the Conference Information and Registration Packet for detailed information. The packet contains the program for the weekend; speaker biographies, along with the title of each speaker’s presentation; a complete list of fees; information on accommodations and transportation; and on the final page, the registration form. Please share the packet and registration form with interested friends and colleagues. There is also a link to a poster that may be printed and distributed freely.

Please join us for what promises to be a stimulating and enlightening weekend of conversation about the mother of our Lord!

2015 ESBVM Weekend Conference Info and Registration Packet

Poster Final

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ESBVM Dublin @ The National Gallery of Ireland – April 11th 2015

Posted by esbvm on March 29th, 2015

Mary Hodegetria – She Who Shows the Way

Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

A talk to be hosted by the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary [ESBVM] by kind permission at the National Gallery of Ireland at 2pm on the 11th of April 2015.

The re-launched Dublin branch of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary [] has organised a talk in conjunction with the National Gallery of Ireland on the 11th of April at 2pm in the lecture room of the gallery. The talk is part of the current exhibition on the Baroque Saints that has been running since February and will finish in May. The venue of the lecture is National Gallery of Ireland Lecture Room.

The talk is on the icon ‘Mary Hodegetria’ – she who shows the way – with particular emphasis on the Gallery’s own icon Virgin and Child, St. John the Baptist and Prophet (see below). The National Gallery of Ireland acquired the icon in 1858 which is c1325 from the Constantinople School on egg tempera and gold leaf on wood. The talk will also cover the history of icons.

The speaker is Br Martin Browne OSB of Glenstal Abbey who has long links with ecumenical work in Ireland and beyond. Br Martin Browne OSB is a Deacon-monk of Glenstal Abbey in County Limerick. He is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and Durham University. He serves on the editorial board of the ecumenical journal One in Christ, and is Chairman of the Council of the Glenstal Ecumenical Conference.

Those interested in Mary and her role in ecumenical dialogue as well as art enthusiasts are all welcome!

For more information please contact Dr Mary Frances McKenna, chair of the re-launched Dublin Branch of the ESBVM on e-mail or at  086-8786517.

Click HERE for a poster / flyer advertizing this event.

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ESBVM USA Call For Papers

Posted by esbvmusa on November 22nd, 2014


The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary USA (ESBVM USA) exists to advance the study of Mary, the Mother of Christ, in Christian biblical and spiritual perspectives, and in the light of such study, to promote ecumenical interchange and prayer. Its aim is to show that, in Mary, Christians of many traditions may find a focus in their search for unity.


CONFERENCE THEME: The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence, and Vision

CONFERENCE DATES: 7-9 August 2015

CONFERENCE LOCATION: Misericordia University, Dallas, Pennsylvania, USA (near Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)


ESBVM USA is looking for perspectives on the progress and implications of previously published dialogues about the Virgin Mary from a variety of Christian denominations. We ask that you present on developments within your own particular tradition. So, for example, an Evangelical Christian could present on the findings of the Evangelical dialogue partners written in Do Whatever He Tells You: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Christian Faith and Life, A Statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

Additional published dialogues include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The One Mediator, Mary, and the Saints (1991, American Lutherans and Catholics)
  • Mary, Sign of Grace, Faith, and Holiness: Towards a Shared Understanding (1995, British Methodist-Roman Catholic Committee)
  • Common Declaration: Pope John Paul II and Catholicos Aram I Keshishian, Rome, 1997
  • Mary in the Plan of God and in the Communion of Saints (1999, Groupe des Dombes: French Reformed, Lutheran, and Catholic)
  • Pastoral Agreement between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, Cairo, Egypt 2001
  • Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ (2004, Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission)

The following are possible considerations for your presentation:

  • What, according to your tradition, are the key biblical passages considered in the dialogue that you are analyzing and why?
  • What does your tradition consider the most difficult theological issues that have been broached in dialogue, and what progress has been made?
  • How do conclusions drawn by the dialogue partners that you are considering compare with the cultural and devotional practices in your tradition?

Please submit proposals consisting of a 350 to 500-word abstract and your contact information to the review committee at



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19th International ESBVM Congress 2014 – ‘Christian Perfection, The Immaculate Conception and Contemporary Thinking on Holiness in Christian Traditions linked with the ESBVM’

Posted by esbvm on September 11th, 2014

Magdalene College, Cambridge


19th International Congress of The Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary (ESBVM)

Monday 22nd September – Thursday 25th September 2014

Theme: ‘Christian Perfection, The Immaculate Conception and
Contemporary Thinking on Holiness in Christian Traditions linked with the ESBVM’

Keynote Speakers and Papers

“Difficult Dogmas: Can Methodism’s Christian Perfection and Catholicism’s Immaculate Conception help in understanding each other”
Revd. Dr. Richard Clutterbuck Principal of Edgehill Theological College, Belfast.

‘Holiness and the Sovereignty of Grace: Mary’s Discipleship’
The Master of Magdalene, The Most Revd. & Rt. Hon. Baron Williams of Oystermouth

“The holiness of obedience and thanksgiving”
His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop Coptic Orthodox Church United Kingdom

“The Queenship of Mary in the writing of the Fathers”
Fr. Pierre Najem, OMM, Vice President for Administration & Director of the Center for Digitization and Preservation of Manuscripts, Notre Dame University- Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon

‘Bruised, hurting and dirty’: a Marian Ecclesiology for a church of the poor.
Dr. Gemma Simmonds CJ, Heythrop College, University of London

ESBVM is delighted that our gathering at Cambridge has had a good response.

Many details of planning have been slowly finalising and we are grateful to our contributors, participants and wider membership for their patience.

We have happily reached our allocated number of residential delegates for the Congress but a small number of rooms has been made available to us by the College for any very last minute bookings. Please download latest programme details + booking form .and contact ESBVM Congress organisers immediately FAO Mrs AJ Gate and Hon. Gen Sec.

Our reliance on dedicated officers – all volunteers – prompts a special expression of thanks at this stage and we hope that as always the understanding of our ESBVM Congresses as not ends in themselves but a means of bringing to the attention of a wider community awareness of the work of the society in this delicate area of Ecumenism to which ESBVM is dedicated will bring further interest and a growing participation.

A Congress folder is in preparation and will be ready for Congress participants’ collection at Registration on arrival at the CRIPPS COURT CONFERENCE CENTRE, MAGDALENE COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE CB4 3AD.

We look forward to meeting up with longstanding and new friends and members of the Society.

We ask for prayer for the success of our 19th International Congress.

May it lead to fresh vigour in the life of the ESBVM.

Wishing a safe journey to all taking part and good wishes to ESBVM at large and to all our friends,

In Christ and His Blessed Mother,

Father Bill, OSM [Hon. General Secretary]
Mrs AJ Gate [Associate General Secretary]
Mr Kevin Gate [Congress Treasurer]

Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Ss.Peter & Paul, 112 Entry Hill, Bath BA2 5LS
01225 832096 e-mail: /

Posted in Conferences & Congresses, News | 1 Comment »

ESBVM Canterbury Branch Relaunch

Posted by esbvm on July 19th, 2014

ESBVM Canterbury Branch is holding a ‘Relaunch’ of the branch with an Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary occasion to be held in Canterbury Cathedral Crypt, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral, offering an evening of music, words and reflection for the Feast of the Assumption, on the 15th of August at 7pm in Canterbury Cathedral Crypt.

Guest speakers on the nature of the feast across traditions, the Greek Orthodox tradition of the Dormition and the Protecting Veil, shared views and points of departure and the special interest the feast has held for artists and composers across the centuries. Speakers to include: The Very Revd. Archimandrite Vissarion Kokliotis Priest in Charge, Greek Orthodox Community of the Archangel Michael, Margate Revd Jon Ehlers Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, Kent Fr. Valentine Erhahon Curate, St. Thomas of Canterbury, Burgate

Music Programme
Assumpta est Maria Morales Palestrina
Exaltata est Sancta Dei genitrix Byrd
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino Tavener
The Dormition from the Protecting Veil

The branch has had a great history in the past and we hope to see past members of the Branch still in the area and to interest new participants in the society.

Free admission / All welcome

CLICK HERE for a PDF poster advertizing this event.

FURTHER INFO: about the society from / 01225 832096
and the local branch via

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Ordination of Fr David McDonald to the Priesthood

Posted by esbvm on July 12th, 2014


The Rev’d David McDonald, member of the ESBVM Council for many years, was ordained to Priesthood in the Catholic Church by the Rt Rev’d Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton, on Friday July 11th at 11.00am in St Gregory’s Catholic Church, 10 St James Square, Cheltenham.

Fr Bill OSM, Hon Gen Secretary of ESBVM, who concelebrated at the Ordination during Holy Mass, represented the ESBVM, along with Mrs Irene Rich and Mrs AJ Gate. Our heartiest congratulations, prayers and good wishes. Ad multos annos.


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Possible relaunch of the ESBVM Gloucester Branch

Posted by esbvm on July 12th, 2014

There are hopes of a revival of the Gloucester Branch in the near future and members in the area are invited to advise the Hon. Gen Sec of any interest and willingness to assist in this renewed effort, using the contact form below or by post at ESBVM HQ, c/o St Peter & St Paul, 112 Entry Hill, Bath BA2 5LS [please note the change of address for ESBVM HQ].

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Ordination of Fr Alan Williams SM as Bishop of Brentwood

Posted by esbvm on July 12th, 2014


The Rt Revd Alan Williams SM, a member of the ESBVM Council for many years and former Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, was ordained as Bishop of Brentwood on July 1st 2014 in Brentwood Cathedral by HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

Fr Bill OSM, Hon Gen Sec of the Society, was among the concelebrants at the Episcopal Ordination during Holy Mass, which was concelebrated by a vast number of the hierarchy including one of our Patrons, HE Cardinal Cormac-Murphy O’Connor.

Fr Bill represented the ESBVM along with The Rev’d Augustine Hoey [now resident in Walsingham], Mrs Margaret Durnford and Mrs AJ Gate [Associate General Secretary]. Bishop Alan is a Marist and among the Bishops present was his fellow Marist Bishop Tom Burns and a host of Marist Sisters also attended. Our deepest congratulations, prayers and good wishes go to the new Bishop. Ad multos annos.

Bishop Alan has graciously agreed to be a patron of the forthcoming ESBVM 19th International Congress to take place at Cambridge, Sept 22nd-25th 2014.


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Memorial Mass for Mr Frank O’Brien R.I.P., Saturday June 7th 2014

Posted by esbvm on June 6th, 2014

The ESBVM Newsletter sent out in February 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 and is on Saturday 7th June 2014.

A Memorial Mass will take place at 12.15 in the Carmelite Priory Church 41 Kensington Church Street London W8 4BB for our deceased Treasurer, Mr Frank O’Brien, whose first anniversary will occur at this time. This 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. Members are asked to call to mind those who have died and to advise the Hon General Secretary by email of any deaths of which one is aware.

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.

There will be no AGM Lecture this year.

Please bring packed lunch / hot drinks will be provided / AGM commencing at 2.00pm and closing by 4.00pm.

February 7th, 2014’s announcement was the formal & the required notification of the corrected date of the ESBVM Annual General Meeting.

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