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Consultation in Brazil focuses on "Towards a Global Vision of the Church"

Consultation in Brazil focuses on "Towards a Global Vision of the Church"

Photo:WCC

26 March 2019

On 18-22 March, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission gathered at Faculdade Unida de Vitoria in Brazil for a consultation entitled “Towards a Global Vision of the Church”.

Those gathered aimed at broadening the ecumenical ecclesiological discourse by going into more and wider conversations with churches who have not yet been part of discussions on “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” and whose understandings of ecclesiology the commission wants to discover and to enter into dialogue with.

A major challenge for Faith and Order, and its Study Group working on Ecclesiology in particular, has been incorporating as many expressions of church life as possible in a sound theological conversation about the vision of the church.

Currently, this is being accomplished through both indirect and direct encounters. Latin America was among the destinations for the Faith and Order Commission to engage in dialogue with new and emerging churches. The Faculdade Unida de Vitoria, in Vitoria, Brazil, which is offering theological reflection open to dialogue through courses of practical use to church communities since 1997, created this space of dialogue between the commission and Latin American new and emerging church representatives. Ten church leaders and Pentecostal theologians from Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador were invited in order to give the Pentecostal understanding of the nature, ministry and mission of the church.

During the consultation, an observation has been that, the more one engages in this broadened dialogue on ecclesiology, the more points of convergence are being found.  Although many of the ecclesiologies of these regions or denominational families seem distant from (or incompatible with) “traditional” ecclesiologies, a closer look shows that there are significant commonalities and similarities. The major challenge the Faith and Order Commission has ahead of it is to continue unearthing points of convergence that do not appear initially, but come to the surface when one digs deeper.

The commission representatives had working sessions and discussions with students of the Faculdade de Unida de Vitória, mainly from the new and emerging churches. They also joined in prayer the local communities of Pentecostal Independent and Mega churches.

The Faith and Order Commission is planning to have at least one consultation in each major region of the Global South by the next WCC Assembly in 2021.

 

WCC Faith and Order Commission

“Towards a Global Vision of the Church”

The working groups of Faith and Order Commission (video)