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Joint Report of the Programme and Policy Reference Committees (adopted)

06 September 2006

1. The programme committee and the policy reference committee met in combined session to discuss the draft programme plans of the World Council of Churches for 2007-2013.  

2. In plenary hearing sessions and in dialogue with the general secretary, the participants discussed practical aspects of implementation, including the new groupings of programme areas, the roles of commissions, the cooperative working style expected of staff and the process for establishing criteria for evaluation of activities, projects and programmes of the WCC. The rationale for integrating the work of separate advisory commissions, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, Inter-religious Dialogue and Diakonia, into one advisory committee, namely the CCIA, was reviewed as not only a response to the financial situation in the Council but also as a new and more integrated approach to work in related areas. 

3. Members of the two committees then divided into self-selected small groups to focus on each of the proposed six main programme areas and communications, the programme plans as a whole, and the reports of the moderator and general secretary, specifically as they relate to the mandates of the committees.  

A.Comments on the reports of the moderator and the general secretary 

4. Committee members reflected general remarks on each report and reaffirmed discussions at the Assembly that the moderator's address should be a visionary, while the general secretary should report back to central committee on work accomplished since the last meeting. Concern was also expressed about inadequate youth representation on the Continuation Committee to implement the recommendations of ecumenism in the 21st century process. 

5. Questions were raised concerning the process of coordination with the Christian World Communions (CWCs) and the WCC. A joint consultative body has been proposed, and one sub-group believes that a clear initiative should come from the central committee, as decided by the assembly, to establish this body, working in consultation with the CWCs. 

Moderator's address 

6. The moderator's address was received with appreciation and its pastoral tone welcomed. His emphasis on religious pluralism, spirituality and forward-looking theme of hope were particularly noted. At the same time further reflection is needed on the contents, implications and actual presence of hope. 

7. Some felt discussion regarding religious pluralism ought to go beyond inter-denominationalism and while the distinctiveness of Pentecostalism, Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism ought be understood, good relationships among them can be highlighted. His report from the context of the situation in Brazil illustrated the benefit of delegates sharing their contexts with the central committee and the ecumenical movement.  

General secretary's report  

8. The attention in the general secretary's report to the issue of migration was greatly appreciated. At the same time, to have a comprehensive approach to migration, many more aspects need to be developed, and more clearly reflected in the programme work, in the context of the relationship between globalization and oikoumene, for example: the brain drain; South-South migration; human trafficking; migrant churches leading to multiplication of churches and the implications for church life and the unity of the church; outsourcing of industries from the North; migration for the sake of economic benefit and the effect of this migration on the exploitation of Indigenous Peoples' resources; "the gospel of prosperity" and spirituality, and the migration of ideas and its impact on the church.  

9. Consideration of migration issues and the "church of the stranger" will necessarily involve integration of programme areas as it includes issues of hospitality and welcoming, of health and healing, of justice, human rights and human security, and many others. Migration and hospitality raise important and related theological and sociological questions.  

10. The Middle East priority and the proposal to create an Israel-Palestine forum were welcomed. The need to base advocacy efforts on "moral and theological principles and the thoughtful analysis of the roots of the conflict" (paragraph 12), in the wider geo-political context was underlined. Similarly, the need to maintain the WCC's global coordination of EAPPI was affirmed. The importance of integrating different programmes focused on the Middle East was also highlighted. We have to take into account that the Middle East is also the region of "holy places". 

New challenges 

11. The statement of the integration of Indigenous Peoples calls us to examine further:

  1. Various expressions of spirituality;

  2. The recognition of all churches having equal rights and responsibilities within the society (the question of majority/minority churches). 

B. Comments on the programme plans 

General comments 

12. The organization and style of work presented in the proposed programme plan was affirmed strongly by the committee, and the staff was congratulated on the concept and process. Appreciation was also expressed for the way that language in the presentation also points to seeing the Council's work in the context of broader ecumenical developments and initiatives consistent with the CUV. Further, the committee welcomed the plan's clear commitment to more integrated theological reflection and to more explicit spiritual foundations, as well as the inclusion in all programme areas of peoples movements within civil society. The committee affirms the overall direction of the plan, with its clear intent to relate historic "streams" and corresponding staff teams of the WCC to one another, and build deeper collaboration in the whole work of the Council.

13. However, concern was expressed about the capacity of WCC staff to carry out the work of the 80 activities presented in the programme plans. Further work is needed to develop measurable indicators of results as part of the monitoring process. Measurable results should be indicated for each activity and be directly tied to the goals and objectives of each programme and project. The sub-committees found budget allocations unclear and therefore found it difficult to evaluate whether sufficient funding is allocated to specific activities and to priorities of the WCC. The Central Committee agrees that mechanisms to enhance the integrated approach be clearly defined and built into the structure of all programmes and projects.  

14. Some lack of clarity exists, it seems, in the audience for each of the programmes outlined in this section. The Central Committee agrees that the intended primary audience of every activity to be implemented be clearly identified. 

15. Questions were raised whether the words "programme" and "project" are in fact the best terms for referring to the work of the WCC with some preference for terms such as "priorities" or "areas of engagement". Concern was expressed that the priority of mission and evangelism in the life of the WCC appears to be lost in the overall programmatic work of the WCC with only one project area specifically referring to mission. Pentecostalism has been confined to the aspects of unity and mission, but greater recognition needs to be given to the fact that it relates even more directly to spirituality. The word "evangelism" does not appear in any of the programme titles. Concern was expressed about the unclear definition and usage of the term "mission" and about the financial resources being designated for work with Pentecostals and Evangelicals and the importance of prioritizing the work of the Council in designating funds. 

16. The committee affirms the rationale of bringing the four advisory groups into one under the name of CCIA and understands the role of the CCIA as advisory, while the task of monitoring and evaluating the programmes is a responsibility of the executive committee. There remains some concern about how the expertise and representation of the discontinued commissions could be retained to have continuing impact on the programme work. Reference to the new CCIA as an advisory body needs to be included in the plans for the concerned programmes. A suggestion was made that the CCIA should be encouraged to follow the example of the Special Commission to work in plenary sessions and in subcommittees when needed.  

17. Committee members emphasized the need both to "deepen" and "broaden" the living out of the ecumenical movement in the 21st century. The process of deepening ecumenical life has already been experienced in the work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation, and this should be clearly recognized. "Broadening" the ecumenical movement depends on a focused and intentional effort and there must be clear accountability for the time and effort, which staff devotes to such relationships. The Central Committee agrees that a specific report be prepared for the central committee on how this approach is deepening and broadening ecumenical relationships for the 21st century. 

18. The work of the Global Christian Forum was noted as a major step in the "broadening" of ecumenical relationships today. The Forum has sought to build new relationships between those who have not participated fully in ecumenical structures or the modern ecumenical movement and those who have. The WCC's continual support, as approved by the assembly, is a key example of ecumenical imagination and hope as we look to the future.  

19. The committee stressed that relationships with others doing WCC-related work be encouraged in informal but meaningful ways that can lead to fruitful collaboration and avoid unnecessary over-lapping of efforts. When this work is done on behalf of the WCC it should be recognized and expressed in appropriate ways.

20. A concern was raised that the churches must be setting the WCC agenda in all respects. For example, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Colombia are critical situations that do not receive enough attention in the media and so may not be receiving deserved attention from the WCC.  

21. The committee highlighted the specific role the WCC needs to play in relation to the UN, and especially called for strengthening the WCC UN liaison office so that the UN Office also can inform the work of the WCC. There was some question as to whether the budget for the UN office adequately reflected the importance of that role. 

22. Regarding women and youth, the committee discussed whether the shared goal of their full participation is achieved through programmes with a particular and exclusive focus on these groups, or whether efforts to fully integrate women and youth in the life of the member churches first, as complementary and essential parts of every programme, provide the best way forward. Benchmarks for participation by women and youth could perhaps be included as criteria for evaluation of every programme. Specific attention ought to be given to including women and youth in the "reconfiguration" of the ecumenical movement in the 21st century. Indigenous Peoples' concerns should be more integrated in the overall programmatic work of the WCC.  

23. The committee acknowledges the positive impact of the "Focus on Africa" for the last seven years, and would like to see how the achievements, lessons learned, challenges for the future are included in the present programme plans. 

24. The Committee, recalling that the Assembly in Porto Alegre received the statement Called to be the One Church and called for a seven year process of discussion among the churches in response to this statement, looks forward to receiving regular reports from Faith and Order on the progress of the discussion (cf para 33c). These responses may help "towards furthering progress to visible unity of the church and will go some way to addressing the fundamental ecclesiological issues raised by the Special Commission". (cf resolution of 9th Assembly).  

25. Committee members noted that a comprehensive evaluation report of programmes should be submitted no later than the central committee meeting of 2009. An affirmation was made of the importance of having a more coordinated communication strategy to improve a more concise image of the WCC and a clear voice.  

Specific programmes 

P1 The WCC AND THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT IN THE 21ST CENTURY

26. Interpretation of the ecumenical vision of the WCC (P101) and global platform for theology and analysis (P 102): The committee pointed out the need for specific programmes of advocacy, given the continuing relationships of inequality regarding the participation of women and youth within ecumenical life. Further, the role of women and youth in the "reconfiguration" of the ecumenical movement in the 21st century, as outlined in this section, should be a crucial point of emphasis in these programmes.  

27. The global platform for theology and analysis (P102) was strongly affirmed as a key priority. It was highlighted that theological reflection on the HIV crisis should be an area of work according to the decisions of the 9th Assembly. The committee also suggested that the global platform for theology and analysis include theological reflection on human rights. 

28. The committee proposes that Faith and Order, the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, and the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey be included in the project's methodology as part of the consultation process. 

29. Nurturing relationships with member churches (P103): The committee strongly affirmed these priorities, and the methodology of visits between member churches (such as those which took place some years earlier through "living letters"). However, it was noted that the projected level of spending in this area (P103-03) is very minimal in light of the deep significance for ecumenical formation, and suggests that higher priority be given to this approach. 

30. Partnership with ecumenical organization (P104): The Central Committee agrees that more reflection about the meaning and significance of a "common ecumenical assembly" be undertaken to assess this possibility, preferably for 2013. 

31. The Central Committee agrees that the officers review the proposed membership of the continuation committee on ecumenism in the 21st century in light of the lack of youth representation (which contradicts the description of this project), the lack of sufficient Orthodox representation, the lack of any Pentecostal or free church representation, and other imbalances. 

P2 UNITY, MISSION, EVANGELISM AND SPIRITUALITY

32. Regarding the Unity, Mission and Spirituality Programme, the committee is concerned that (a) by virtue of its integrative nature areas of work may be overlooked by one or another area, and (b) difficulty of the scope and effective evaluation of specific projects and the work as a whole. 

33. The committee affirms the integration of a number of Commissions as proposed at this central committee meeting, while stressing the value and role of the historic Commissions on Faith and Order and CWME. The committee also urges that in all its programmes the WCC be sensitive to and aware of the contributions and insights that Pentecostal churches can bring. 

34. The Central Committee agrees that: 

a) "Evangelism" be added to the title of the programme, so as to read: "Unity, Mission, Evangelism and Spirituality" and clarify the definition and usage of the terms. 

b) Regarding the relationship of the unity, mission and spirituality (P2) and the inter-religious dialogue and cooperation (P6) programmes, special care be taken to include the theological dimension in the work on inter-religious dialogue, and the continuation of joint work, at both Commission and staff levels, on "Religious Plurality and Christian Self-Understanding" undertaken by the Inter-Religious Dialogue, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, and Faith and Order. The WCC is a fellowship of churches. As people of faith our reflection on our identity and on other religions must be motivated from our faith perspective, and not merely from a political and societal perspective. 

c) Regarding the call to be one church (P201) and the spirituality and worship in ecumenical context (P202) projects, work should be done in the areas of "Theological Anthropology and moral discernment in the churches" and "Tradition and traditions: sharing sources of authority", as formulated in the report from the Faith and Order standing commission meeting in Faverges, June 2006 (attached as an Appendix).
 

d) Regarding just and inclusive communities (P204): recognizing that these areas of concern (people living with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, Dalits, and persons facing racial discrimination) raise questions of justice and require advocacy, this area be undertaken within Justice and Diakonia (P4), and recognizes that these issues have theological dimensions, and therefore must impact reflection done with Unity, Mission and Spirituality (P2). 

e) Regarding ecumenical AIDS Initiative in Africa (P407): there be work with networks of Pentecostal churches, in order to involve them and to enable them to receive ecumenical funding, and notes that this would be effective because these networks have high impact in local situations. 

P3 PUBLIC WITNESS: ADDRESSING POWER AND AFFIRMING PEACE  

35. Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace (DOV) (P301): The committee reaffirms the Assembly mandate on team visits during the second half of the DOV, and asks for funds to be allocated. It also suggests an integrated approach to team visits, e.g. with youth and inter-religious projects.  

36. The committee recalls the decision of the Assembly to have International Ecumenical Peace Convocation as the culminating event of the DOV and welcomes the steps taken to set in motion the preparatory process.  

37. DOV (P301-01c) (Coordination and networking at the UN and at the World Social Forum) should include networking with women peace initiatives.  

38. Global advocacy for justice and accountability (P302): The committee asks that the coherence and potential synergies between Global advocacy for justice and accountability (P302) and Poverty, wealth and ecology: reflection and action (P306) projects be explicitly spelled out.  

39. The Central Committee affirms the unique role WCC should have at the UN and the need to strengthen the advocacy work and witness at this level and increase the respective budget. This work would mean both to bring WCC concerns to the UN and UN-related agencies and also to report back to the WCC the actions of the UN and UN-related agencies. Coherence needs to be maintained between WCC advocacy at the UN and the accountability of the churches. (This comment relates also to the Mutual Accountability project (P402)). A clear theological discourse on concepts used by UN and the international community (for instance, genocide, "war on terror", "collateral damage", human rights) needs to be developed. 

40. The work indicated in global advocacy for justice and accountability (P302) needs to be coordinated with other areas. For example, the Convention on People with Disabilities currently before the UN is an area of concern to the WCC and to the churches as is the proposed UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights. The committee commends the advocacy work at the UN carried out by the WCC Indigenous Peoples Programme and calls for the continuation of this work.  

41. Human rights to enhance human dignity (P303): In this area, the committee affirmed the urgency to develop an agreed theological basis for Human Rights as reflected in the programme. In the context of the attention given in the project to religious freedom, special consideration should be given to religious minorities, including Christians who are denied their rights to express their faith, oppressed and persecuted. 

42. Churches and the Middle East: solidarity and witness for peace (P304): The Central Committee agrees that the Israel-Palestine Ecumenical Forum proposed by the report of the general secretary, under the wider scene of the Middle East, should come under Project P304.  

43. Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)(P305): The Central Committee agrees that the WCC continue to be the convener of the EAPPI, to guarantee the global dimension of the programme and to continue to facilitate the participation of churches all over the world. 

44. Poverty, wealth and ecology: reflection and action (P306): The committee suggests changing the name of this project into: "Poverty, wealth and ecology: impacts of economic globalization". 

45. The committee draws the attention of the central committee to the following recommendation from the programme guidelines committee of the assembly: "The WCC 9th Assembly affirms that a follow-up of the AGAPE process be undertaken and expanded in collaboration with other ecumenical partners and organizations to engage (1) in the work of theological reflection on these issues that arise out of the centre of our faith, (2) solid political, economic and social analysis, (3) on-going dialogue between religious, economic and political actors, and (4) sharing practical, positive approaches from the churches." 

46. Poverty, wealth and ecology: reflection and action (P306) needs to be shaped in this framework established by the assembly. 

47. It was noted that the assembly did not approve the AGAPE action plan, as stated in the project, but that the AGAPE document was presented as a background document to the assembly. The language of the project needs to be adjusted to accurately reflect the status of the AGAPE document. 

48. The Central Committee agrees that the title of the activity "Church encounters on economic globalization" (P306-01) be changed to "Church encounters on wealth and poverty: impacts of economic globalization".  

49. The Central Committee agrees that a visible connection be established between the AGAPE process and the DOV international peace convocation and the declaration that will conclude the decade.  

50. Poverty, wealth and ecology: reflection and action (P 306). The committee noted that Indigenous Persons are the poorest of the poor in every global context. Trade regulations, development of free trade zones, harvesting of natural resources and compliance with structural adjustment policies of the IMF/World Bank have all had detrimental effects on indigenous communities that are caught in the tension between tradition and "development".  

P4 JUSTICE AND DIAKONIA

51. The Central Committee agrees that: 

a) The name of this programme be re-named "Justice, diakonia and responsibility for Creation", which would give increased visibility to creation and to responsibility for its care. 

b) There be a closer, integrated work between Poverty, wealth and ecology (P306) and Climate change and water: caring for creation (P405), that the budgets be re-worked to reflect this integrated approach and that consideration be given to fully merging these projects.

Both of these projects deal with issues of the environment. Although the focus of the two projects is different, the work must be more intentionally integrated.  

c) Project Mutual accountability (P402) be merged into Ecumenical solidarity (P401) under the title "Ecumenical solidarity, responsibility and accountability". "Mutual accountability" is much broader than the activities suggested. Accountability should be an underlying foundation for most of the Council's programmes. Since accountability is an essential component of ecumenical solidarity, these two projects should be merged.
 

d) The merged project, Ecumenical solidarity and responsibility (P401), take the following into consideration:

  • Communications must be an integral part of the methodology in this work;

  • WCC should facilitate information sharing on capacity-building initiatives carried out by others to local churches and other partners who may need this support;

  • WCC should press participants in both ACT International and ACT Development to build capacities of churches working in diakonia and to do so in a collaborative and coherent way as ACT International and ACT Development move into closer integration. 

e) Project Faith, science and technology (P405) be renamed "Faith, science, technology and ethics". 

f) Considering the link between some aspects of Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network's (EDAN) mandate and the project Faith, science, technology and ethics (P404), the specific objectives be re-formulated to include: "to bring to the table of the science and technology issues raised by and lessons learned by the EDAN network" and EDAN be added to the section on relationships plan.

g) Health and Healing (P406), include an additional activity to be developed under the title "Healing memories, reconciling communities", which should work closely with the projects and activities: Just and inclusive communities (P204), Global advocacy for justice and accountability (P302), Mental health (P406-03), and Decade to overcome violence (P301). WCC is particularly well placed to work on issues of reconciliation and healing of memories. The trauma of conflicts is not overcome when peace agreements are signed and many churches are wrestling with their role in healing individuals and communities. Through this deeper work in the area of reconciliation, WCC's voice will be strengthened in the public arena. 
 

h) Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) (P407) be retained as a separate project. The committee affirms WCC's role in this project and expects further clarification from the 2007 evaluation about WCC's future role and about lessons, which may be applicable to other regions. 
 

i) That there be integration of Indigenous Peoples' concerns into the work of P403. 

P5 ECUMENICAL AND FAITH FORMATION  

52. The committee affirms the work of both Bossey and the Education and ecumenical formation (EEF) activities in the life of the WCC and as expressed in the project proposals. The projects, however, did not give the impression of genuine integration, but of two activities continuing side by side. Not enough of the necessary preparatory work for such integration seemed to have been done.  

53. The emphasis on ecumenical formation across the overall reflects the spirit and mandate of the Ninth Assembly, and we welcome that. The "faith formation" element in the title of this programme area and Commission caused some concern. For many, faith is given by the grace of God, not formed by us. The Commission is invited to propose a more adequate title when it meets, perhaps "Education and Ecumenical Formation" or "Ecumenical Formation and Christian (or Faith) Nurture" or a title using the French language concept of "edification in the Faith". The title "Ecumenical Formation" alone would not be adequate, as it does not include supporting churches in developing ways to introduce their young and develop their people in the faith.  

54. A number of suggestions are made for the Commission to consider: 

a) Is there a place for distributed learning (including e-learning), perhaps as one of the areas where Bossey and the EEF activities might resource one another? The experiment in on-line community learning sponsored by the scholarships programme was noted, as was Bossey by Extension.

b) Could there be more explicit mention of youth and young adults?

c) Could we make space for exploring how to facilitate and learn from theological education among Indigenous Peoples, given the challenge they pose to conventional ways of thinking.

d) Could we make the most of the 50th anniversary of the Theological Education Fund in 2008 to promote the WCC's work in theological education?

55. The Central Committee endorse the following view: 

The central committee affirms the goals in pages 30/31 of document GEN 05, and would see both Bossey's and the EEF team's work as contributing to each goal. The central committee accepts the integration of Bossey and the EEF team, but feels the projects as presently presented do not reflect the intended integration. More time and serious engagement is needed for developing integrated projects, so would recommend that the new Commission be instructed to agree a new project list when it first meets. Given the urgency of the situation, the Commission should meet as soon as possible and report to the Executive Committee. A small planning group of Commission members and staff needs to begin the work urgently, taking into consideration all the comments made by the CC as noted above. 

56. "Within that understanding, the central committee emphasizes: 

a) The priority of networking and resourcing formal and informal educational formation in institutions and churches in the nations and regions. APPROVED 

b) The importance of making the WCC's work in this field well known, particularly in Francophone and Lusophone Africa and in Spanish-Lusophone Latin America.  

P6 INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE AND COOPERATION  

57. The committee affirms the inclusion of Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in the joint commission known as the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), bringing the inter-religious perspective into consideration on international and global politics.  

58. At the same time the committee emphasizes the importance of an intra-Christian theological reflection and particularly the continued collaboration among Faith and Order, Commission on World Mission and Evangelism and Inter-Religious Dialogue and Cooperation on the document "Religious Plurality and Christian Self-understanding".  

59. The Central Committee agrees that this work be continued, and recommends that: 

a) Mutual team visits/living letters should be included clearly in the programme of the DOV, and that these include interfaith encounters between youth, in order to make sure that the DOV benefits from the experience of youth in peace making.

b) The International Convocation on Just Peace include the perspectives of other faith communities, including in the preparation planning, regional consultations.

c) The WCC support and advocate for a declaration by the United Nations for a "Decade of Inter-Religious Dialogue and cooperation for peace: 2009 - 2019".

d) Interfaith programmes include an intentional dialogue with Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous religions; and

e) There be collaboration between the Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation programme and the Justice and diakonia programmes on faith, science, technology and ethics, concerning the issue of secularization and fundamentalism. 

60. One of the unique roles of the WCC is to facilitate space for broadening bilateral dialogues to a common ecumenical approach and to represent the Christian voice world-wide. Putting Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation as a priority would help the member churches to communicate the programmatic work. Therefore, the committee strongly feels that the financial allocation for Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation needs to be enhanced. 

61. The committee requests a more detailed explanation on how diaconal action, political advocacy and theological reflection would interact practically. The committee notes the necessity of sharing experiences, linking the congregations and grassroots of faith communities with the WCC and having the potential to include women and youth, including through direct encounters. 

62. Concerning the proposed priority on the Middle East and the role of the WCC as an "honest broker", the committee would like to question this role, as it cannot just be taken but has to be given to the WCC by the conflicting parties. Nevertheless the WCC should strive towards building confidence among all parties towards a constructive dialogue involving Jews, Christians and Muslims.  

C1 COMMUNICATIONS 

63. Communications will help to build ownership of the work of the WCC and build the fellowship, which is at the heart of our understanding and vision, encouraging response, enhancing visibility and strengthening voices.  

64. The communications policy of the Council needs to be evaluated and redefined in the light of the new programmatic work in order to determine the audience and the actors before communications activities are undertaken, in order to raise the interest of the secular media and of the world in general, and in order to measure whether churches are quantitatively more engaged in the life of the WCC, more aware of the work and life of the WCC. 

65. The committee suggests that unity and a global vision be kept at the heart of all communications activities. 

66. Some ideas for communicating the message of the WCC include touchstones as a way of opening dialogue with people as they express interest or ask questions about the symbolism of the touchstone. Touchstones may be posters, bracelets, T Shirts, pendants. Other ways of communicating include: music and songs, flags, production of sermon resources, DVDs, and petitions. 

67. The committee suggests that:

a) research precede communications activities;

b) a network be developed of church appointed contact people for distribution of information, including a minimum of two people per church and National Councils of Churches;

c) timing to allow for action is essential (for example, six months), more if nominations are being sought;

d) list-serves news groups be maintained to facilitate electronic communications, at least amongst central committee members;

e) new means of communication be developed to reach larger constituencies, taking into account different cultural sensitivities.

68. The Central Committee agrees that: 

a) There must be the necessary capacity to achieve what is intended in terms of leadership, staffing, methods, people to whom communications are directed, technology and funding.

b)A comprehensive communications strategy needs to be developed including inclusion of communication staff in project planning and accountability.

c)The communications strategy needs to include aims to increase the WCC public profile and visibility, wider attention to the WCC programmes and the moral influence of the WCC on the international agenda.

d) A mechanism to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of communications needs to be developed with feedback being integrated in the communication strategy to continually improve communication. Evaluation of communications should be regularly reviewed by the executive and by the central committee.  

Evaluation Criteria 

69. The Central Committee agrees that a clear process of evaluation of all programmes, with criteria, be adopted by the central committee. This is important because (1) the early agreement of evaluation criteria assists the planning of programmes and activities, and (2) clear criteria will enable the central committee to monitor more effectively whether the overall goals are being achieved. A clear qualitative and quantitative proposal for evaluation is to be brought to the executive committee for approval at its February 2007 meeting. 

70. While each project/programme may have its own specific criteria based on its own goals, it is strongly recommended that some overall criteria should be applied to all work. (This would be carried out through the planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting office described in GEN 05.) The following are suggested criteria, recognizing that these would need further work and development:

a) Has the programme met its goals?

b) Is it within budget?

c) How far has it been inclusive of all voices (e.g., men, women, youth, children, Indigenous Peoples, and people living with disabilities as well as the diversity of theological perspectives)?

d) How has it strengthened disempowered communities?

e) How has it deepened relationship between churches?

f) How much has it developed relationships with non-member churches (e.g. Pentecostal, evangelical, and others)?

g) How much has it worked in collaboration with partners and wider ecumenical networks?

h) How effectively has it been communicated - to the churches and to a wider audience?

i) What was the theological starting basis, and how did theological reflection develop during the work?

j) How did the work encourage ecumenical formation?

k) Were the goals and recommendations of the Special Commission followed?

l) How did this work contribute to the visible unity of the church?

71. Obviously, there would be flexibility in interpreting such criteria, since some may not be relevant to every activity. Further, other criteria might be added. However, the committee is convinced that evaluations on all work should be given to the central committee that explain how such clear criteria have, or have not, been met.  

Budget considerations 

72. Call to be one church (P201) and the Spirituality and worship in ecumenical context (P202): Concerning project description and project costs 2007-2009, it is noted that programmatic work has been described and is foreseen, but no funds are allocated for this area in 2008 and 2009. The Central Committee agrees it understands that this is an error and recommends that it be corrected.  

73. Ecumenical perspectives on mission and unity (P203): The committee notes the imbalance of budget allocations between the years 2007 and the years 2008 and 2009. 

74. The committee reaffirms the Assembly mandate on team visits during the second half of the DOV, and asks for funds to be allocated. 

75. Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation (P6): The committee strongly feels that the financial allocation for Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation needs to be enhanced. 

76. Global advocacy for justice and accountability (P302): The committee affirms the unique role WCC should serve at the UN and the need to strengthen the advocacy work and witness at this level and increase the respective budget. 

77. The budget allocation for communications includes a substantive amount for Ecumenical News International (ENI). To strengthen the work of the communications programme of the WCC, the Central Committee agrees to an increase in the overall budget of the communications programme, as part of the communications strategy to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of ENI as part of communications programme.

Overall recommendation 

77. The Central Committee, in receiving the report, refers all suggestions in the report to the relevant staff and consultative bodies.  

 

Editorial recommendations 

78. Regarding GEN 05 (Programme plans summary), p. 18, P201, 1st paragraph, the committee recommends that the final sentence read: "…sinful and divisive forces such as racism, xenophobia and aggressive nationalism also challenge their unity". 

79. Regarding the Spirituality and worship in ecumenical context (P202) project GEN 06 (Projects Overview), p. 23, "Relationship Plans": the committee recommends that the first sentence read: "…through common prayer and shared spiritual experiences, bearing in mind the recommendations from the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC". 

80. Regarding the Spirituality and worship in ecumenical context (P202) project GEN 06 (Projects overview), p. 23, "List of activities", the committee recommends that the first sentence read "…WCC member churches, theologians, religious communities, women, youth and Indigenous Peoples". 

81. Regarding the Spirituality and worship in ecumenical context (P202) project GEN 06 (Projects overview), p. 24, the committee recommends that the beginning of the first sentence read: " Facilitating dissemination of spiritual life and worship materials…". 

APPENDIX

Report on Work Planned by the Faith and Order Standing Commission

Chateau de Faverges, France
14-21 June, 2006 

The Standing Commission on Faith and Order considered the programme of work for the next period. The following proposals are made in the light of the By-laws of Faith and Order and take into account the need for continuity with developing work, the resources and expertise of members and staff of the Commission, as well as the advice and guidance of the previous Commission, the 9th Assembly and the General Secretary. 

I. Studies and Activities

A. Ecclesiology 

1. Faith and Order to communicate to the churches on the two texts (TNMC & PA) and work carefully with the general secretary to clarify what is being asked of the churches in respect of the questions attached to both texts; 

2. To focus on the issue of unity and diversity, and specifically on the relevant box in the present TNMC text ("Limits of diversity?"); 

3. To deepen the work on the missional nature of the church which is reflected in the present TNMC text, in collaboration with CWME; 

4. To consider appropriate commemoration and reflection of BEM on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its publication.  

All churches are urged to respond to TNMC; regional groups of churches and theological schools are also invited to send comments as soon as possible. Further revision of the text will be decided in the light of these responses. 

B. Baptism and Worship 

1. The text on baptism will be brought to maturity and presented at the meeting of the Standing Commission in 2007, together with a draft of the questions which should accompany the text when it is sent to churches and church-related institutions for consideration. Responses to the text will set the agenda for any future work in relation to baptism.  

2. The Commission will continue to collaborate with the World Association of Christian Communicators in respect of questions of intellectual property, with special attention to how different understandings of the subject have the potential to be church-dividing. 

3. The Commission will continue to support the worship life of the WCC and other ecumenical bodies, bearing in mind the decisions of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC. 

4. The Commission will continue to support the work on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle. 

C. Theological Anthropology and Moral Discernment in the Churches
 

In light of the recently published ETHNAT and Theological Anthropology texts, Faith and Order will: 

1. Conduct a study of the ways in which the churches formulate and offer teaching and guidance with respect to moral and ethical issues - especially those that are or may become church-dividing, e.g. human sexuality; 

2. Be ready to respond, as appropriate, to selected church-dividing issues that arise from the WCC's investigations into aspects of ‘Faith, Science, and Technology', including by facilitating the active involvement of competent resource persons in collaboration with other partners in and beyond the WCC; and 

3. Make and help to implement suggestions for the promotion, distribution, and use of the ETHNAT and Theological Anthropology texts further to the Group Report (attached), including the appropriate processing of any responses volunteered to these texts by churches, theological faculties, and other regional and ecumenical bodies. 

D. Tradition and Traditions: Sharing Sources of Authority 

1. Faith and Order to initiate a study that will provide a space for sharing with one another the places in which we look for illumination for the living of faithful Christian life today. This mutual enrichment will help us to discover together what common authorities and what different authorities we draw upon and how we understand the ways in which they have authority for us. 

The study will include the witness of the teachers of the early Church, as well as other sources of authority for the churches. 

II. Relational and On-Going Activities 

A. United and Uniting Churches / Christian World Communions
 

The Standing Commission notes and affirms the continuing collaboration with the united and uniting churches and with the Christian World Communions, and affirms the holding of:  

1. A Bi-lateral Forum in 2007, to be organized together with the Secretaries of the Christian World Communions, in order to provide an overall multi-lateral framework for ongoing bi-laterals and to help coordinate their efforts; 

2. An international consultation of united and uniting churches in 2008, to be organized together with the continuation committee of the previous such consultation. Themes of the consultation to include: the understanding of union, and ecclesiological issues raised by the various forms of "union" in evidence today; the relation of union to the mission of the church; issues in the relationship of united and uniting churches to the Christian World Communions; and the question of transitivity (how far unions or agreements between churches in one context affect the faith and life of churches in other contexts). 

The consultations are to be planned with due regard for other events on the ecumenical calendar. 

B. Religious Plurality and Christian Self-Understanding 

1. Faith and Order to continue to accompany, participate in and monitor the joint studies already underway under the rubric "Religious Plurality and Christian Self-Understanding".  

2. Faith and Order to facilitate the involvement of competent resource persons with deep contextual and/or scholarly involvement in interfaith issues in the on-going studies. 

3. On-going discussions of Christian self-understanding and religious plurality may surface matters that directly concern Faith and Order's mandate to address issues that divide the churches contextually or doctrinally. In view of this fact, the Standing Commission regularly to assess the results of such on-going studies to determine whether specific matters may require a specific Faith and Order response.