World Council of Churches

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

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Document Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (Faith and Order Paper no. 111, the "Lima Text")
This famous text, adopted by Faith and Order at its plenary commission meeting in Lima, Peru in 1982, explores the growing agreement - and remaining differences - in fundamental areas of the churches' faith and life. The most widely-distributed and studied ecumenical document, BEM has been a basis for many "mutual recognition" agreements among churches and remains a reference today.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document Called to be the One Church (The Porto Alegre Ecclesiology Text)
Called to be the One Church (The Porto Alegre Ecclesiology Text) This concise text (about 2,300 words) was adopted by WCC member churches at the Porto Alegre Assembly (February, 2006) as a basis for their renewed commitment to the search for visible unity. It invites the churches into a renewed conversation - mutually supportive, yet open and searching - about the quality of their fellowship and communion, and about the issues which still divide them. WCC member churches are asked to respond officially to the text by the next WCC Assembly; study groups and individuals are also invited to offer comments and reactions.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
Document Frequently asked questions about the date of Easter
In 2007 Christians from all traditions will celebrate Easter on the same day, April 8. But in many years major Christian traditions celebrate Easter on different dates, thus giving the impression of a divided witness to this fundamental aspect of the Christian faith. In recent years the desire to find a common date for the celebration of Easter, the Holy Pascha, the feast of Christ's resurrection, has become more and urgent. Initiatives by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches have urged churches to address this issue. This page seeks to provide some answers to frequent questions asked about the date of Easter.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / I. Unity: The Church and its mission
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 The Unity of the Church: Gift and Calling - The Canberra Statement
This text developed by Faith and Order is another of the "unity statements" adopted by WCC Assemblies over the years. It is one attempt to indicate the elements of "full communion" among churches.
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 Becoming a Christian: The Ecumenical Implications of Our Common Baptism
This is the report from the second consultation in Faith and Order's study programme on worship in relation to Christian unity. Mindful of the importance of the churches' "mutual recognition of baptism" as a basis of the ecumenical movement, the text explores the meaning and structure of the baptismal service, issues raised by the inculturation of baptism, and how baptism determines the nature and practice of Christian ethics.
Located in Resources / / Faith and Order Commission / II. Worship and Baptism