World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

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Document (Previous stage) The Nature and Purpose of the Church: A stage on the way to a common statement
This text, from the Faith and Order study on Ecclesiology, was issued as Faith and Order Paper no. 181 in 1998. Now superseded by The Nature and Mission of the Church, Faith and Order Paper no. 198, issued in 2005, it is included here to enable comparison of these two texts.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document The Church: Towards a Common Vision
What can we say together about the Church of the Triune God in order to grow in communion, to struggle together for justice and peace in the world, and to overcome together our past and present divisions? The Church: Towards a Common Vision a remarkable answer to this question. Produced by theologians from the widest range of Christian traditions and cultures, The Church addresses first the Church’s mission, unity, and its being in the Trinitarian life of God. It then addresses our growth in communion – in apostolic faith, sacramental life, and ministry – as churches called to live in and for the world.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document The Nature and Mission of the Church - A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement
This extended text (about 18,000 words) was published in December 2005 and is the latest result from Faith and Order's study on Ecclesiology. It seeks to express common convictions about the church, its nature and mission, and to identify the ecclesiological issues which continue to divide the churches today. The text has been sent officially to the churches for evaluation and response; study groups and individuals are also invited to offer comments and reactions. This text replaces the previous study document The Nature and Purpose of the Church (Faith and Order Paper no. 181, issued in 1998).
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document Towards a Common Date for Easter
In most years Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians celebrate Easter on one date, and Orthodox Christians on another (the year 2007, and again in 2011, will be an exception). This text, prepared by Faith and Order in collaboration with the Middle East Council of Churches, examines the reasons for this and offers a proposal for reckoning a common date of Easter.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document Moral Discernment in the Churches
A Study Document: One of the major challenges in the 21st century is the division that exists between churches – and within churches – over moral issues, divisions that threaten the aim of Faith and Order for visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship. This study text does not focus on moral questions per se, but rather on the discernment process. This is a necessary prerequisite for ecumenical dialogue about specific moral issues. To that end, this study identifies sources that churches use for moral discernment (cf. §§ 30-48) and articulates some of the causative factors of the disagreements within and between churches over moral issues as a prolegomenon to ecumenical dialogue that seeks unity.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document Celebrations of the Eucharist in Ecumenical Contexts - A Proposal
In this unofficial text a number of liturgists, theologians and pastors propose, on their own initiative and responsibility, guidelines for those engaged in planning eucharistic worship to be held in an ecumenical context. The text was produced by a working group at a consultation held by Faith and Order and the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey to reflect on the churches' 10 years experience in using the unofficial "Lima Liturgy".
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / II. Worship and Baptism
Document One Baptism: Towards Mutual Recognition
One Baptism: Towards Mutual Recognition is an official study text of the Commission on Faith and Order. It is a further development and explication of the insights of Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. It links questions of Christian initiation with ecclesiology, mutual recognition of baptism, and the basic bonds of Christian unity. The study text also deals with ongoing and more recent issues that prevent mutual recognition of baptism that impede the visible unity of the Church in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / II. Worship and Baptism
Document So We Believe, So We Pray: Towards Koinonia in Worship (The Ditchingham Letter and Report)
The "Letter to the Churches" and report from the first consultation (held at Ditchingham, England) in Faith and Order's current study programme on worship in relation to Christian unity. Drawing on the resources of the liturgical renewal movement, and produced together with leading liturgists, this text focuses on the common structure of Christian worship, on issues of inculturation in worship, and on how, through worship, churches are already expressing their unity in Christ.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / II. Worship and Baptism
Document Report of the 2009 plenary commission meeting
In the spirit of the 2006 WCC Assembly's statement on ecclesiology, «Called to be the One Church», the 120 members of the Commission on Faith and Order, along with 37 guests, consultants and younger theologians gathered on the island of Crete in Greece, 7-13 October 2009.
Located in Resources / / X. Other documents from conferences and meetings / Faith and Order Plenary Commission meeting in Crete 2009
Document The Nature and Mission of the Church - Presentation by Fr Jorge A. Scampini
Fr Jorge A. Scampini emphasizes that theological reflection on the church only becomes meaningful if it leads to a renew of church life, to a widened horizon of the church's mission, and to a contribution of all church activities to making the mystery of its Lord more visible in the eyes of the world.
Located in Resources / / X. Other documents from conferences and meetings / Faith and Order Plenary Commission meeting in Crete 2009