World Council of Churches

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

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Central Committee discusses statement on unity

Central Committee discusses statement on unity

Central Committee discusses statement on unity

Alice Fabian speaking on the unity statement at the Central Committee meeting.

03 September 2012

A draft statement on Christian unity, intended for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 2013, was presented on 30 August to the WCC's 60th Central Committee meeting.

The Central Committee is the WCC's primary governing body between Assemblies, representing the 349 member churches. It convenes approximately once every eighteen months and is currently meeting at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, Greece.

According to the statement, the church is a "foretaste of the new creation", called to be a "sign to the whole world of the life God intends for all". The church is hailed as an instrument for "spreading the good news of God's kingdom of justice, peace and love."

Dame Mary Tanner, the WCC president from Europe and moderator of the drafting group on the unity statement, said, “We have come to understand something of a holistic vision of unity and the need to go on with a holistic agenda – an agenda where the different parts always challenge and illuminate one another and contribute to a wider biblical vision of unity.”

She noted that this is the “learning from the ecumenical journeys” which needs to be “said again in our generation.”

Alice Fabian, a member of the drafting group from the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, spoke about the vision of the statement. She explained that the group sought to produce an “engaging, beautiful and poetic piece of writing, which reflects the nature of our creative, creator God.”

She went on to say that the group wanted the document to “reaffirm the valuable theological work of the past, acknowledge the present realities, and offer hope and direction towards a more visible unity.”

The statement opens with a reflection on experience, highlighting the tension between hope and despair in the world, and a similar dynamic of celebration and sorrow in the churches. It urges affirmation of God’s gift of unity and a renewed response to the call to make this unity more visible in the church and all creation.

The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said the statement on unity makes a significant contribution to the theme of the WCC's upcoming 10th Assembly in Busan, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.

“We are called to bring this into the life of humanity where we live, and even to the care for the unity of creation where we respect the balance of life and the most vulnerable dimensions and conditions of life,” he said.

Reflecting on ways in which the statement speaks to the life of the WCC, he asserted, “It becomes even more urgent that we continue our efforts to make the unity of the church visible, to be more united in our understanding of our faith and our calling, and that it come to expression in shared ministry and in sharing of the sacraments.”

The statement will be presented at the WCC's 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea in the autumn of next year. The statement was developed at the request of the Central Committee in 2011.

More information on the Central Committee meeting

High resolution photos available via