The Dombes Group
The Groupe des Dombes (Dombes Group) was made up from an initial core of catholics and protestants, French and Swiss, around Abbot Couturier. It met, as early as 1937, at the Abbaye des Dombes (to the north of Lyon). Gradually, the Group grew and, since 1998, has been meeting at the Abbaye de Pradines. Twenty protestant theologians and twenty catholic theologians, from France, Switzerland and today Belgium now meet there each year. This Group is non-official and private.
It produces documents on the most sensitive ecumenical issues. The significance of the documents is now widely recognised. The theses published between 1956 and 1987 were brought together in a single document, the fiftieth anniversary collection, "Pour la communion des Eglises" (For the communion of the Churches), in 1988.
Then came the publication in 1991 of "Pour la conversion des Eglises, identité et changement dans la dynamique de conversion" (For the conversion of the Churches: identity and change in the conversion dynamic).
In 1997 then 1998, the Group published the first ecumenical text on the Virgin Mary: "Marie dans le dessein de Dieu et dans la communion des saints" (Mary in the plan of God and in the communion of saints).
Finally the latest work deals with the question of authority in the Church: "Un seul Maître, l’autorité doctrinale dans l’Eglise" (A single Master: doctrinal authority in the Church).
The sessions of the Groupe des Dombes are each time for the community a more intense time of grace and of prayer in order that the communion of the Churches might grow.