While church leaders from across denominations discuss new directions for the 100-year-old ecumenical movement, one conservative Christian believes major changes need to be made in order for there to even be a future.

Sadly, over the last 50 years, it (the ecumenical movement) has faded into the sidelines and is now largely ignored,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, which monitors mainline denominations and ecumenical groups.

Some 400 people from various mainline Protestant churches and Catholic and Orthodox traditions opened a celebratory gathering on Tuesday in New Orleans, marking 100 years of the ecumenical or Christian unity movement.

Throughout the three-day gathering, led by the National Council of Churches, participants are discussing diversity, interfaith relations, and ecumenical cooperation for the next century, among other things.

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