World Council of Churches

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Commission on Faith and Order

The Faith and Order Commission promotes visible unity of Christians by dealing with theological questions that divide churches.
Commission on Faith and Order

Crete, 2009

The Faith and Order movement is integral to the World Council of Churches. Its aim has always been, and still is, "to proclaim the oneness of the church of Jesus Christ and to call the churches to the goal of visible unity". The chief means of achieving this goal is through study programmes dealing with theological questions that divide the churches.

Structure

The Faith and Order plenary commission has 120 members. These are men and women from around the world - pastors, laypersons, academics, church leaders - each nominated by his or her church. (Faith and Order enjoys the full membership and participation of several other churches who are not members of the World Council of Churches, among them the Roman Catholic Church.) Thirty members of this Commission constitute the Faith and Order standing commission, who meet at least every 18 months and guide the study programmes of Faith and Order.

Download the list of members (pdf)

Methods

Faith and Order's chief method of approaching and studying questions related to Christian division is through consultations organized around the world. Members of the Faith and Order Commission, together with other invited church members, meet in groups which can vary in size from ten to a hundred people. Whatever the size, the groups continue the dialogue process and produce texts and study documents which, while having no authority of their own over any church, are of significance and use by virtue of having been composed by a widely representative group of people from various Christian traditions. Most of these texts are sent to the churches for study and comment. The administration of these meetings and the publication of their results is the responsibility of the Faith and Order secretariat at the World Council of Churches' headquarters in Geneva. 

Faith and Order meetings are characterized by the strong commitment of each member to his or her own tradition, together with a deep enthusiasm and dedication to the vision and task of the unity of the church. Participants not only seek to work out the many problems that they face in trying to overcome Christian divisions, they also uncover the many opportunities that exist to further Christian unity. The process of dialogue is supported by common prayer and worship.

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