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PLEN 2 Plenary outline: Ecumenical Conversation on contemporary ethical challenges: human sexuality

22 February 2005

Mandate from Harare:

As we stand at the dawn of a new millennium, one of the most significant tasks for the churches will be to address the contemporary ethical issues growing out of the enormous advances in fields such as genetic engineering and electronic communication. Issues of personal and interpersonal ethics must also be addressed. The WCC should offer space and direction for conversation and consultation enabling member churches to discuss these difficult issues - including human sexuality - which cause division within and among its member churches. This conversation must build on the shared theological and hermeneutical reflection that has informed earlier ecumenical ethical discussions on issues such as racism.

With the ecumenical map changing rapidly, the WCC must continue to encourage and support bilateral and multilateral discussion on local and regional levels, offering space for reflection, conversation and evaluation of progress and process for those actively on the road to unity (Excerpts from the programme guidelines report, Harare assembly).


To briefly outline what the WCC has done to facilitate the churches' discussions on issues of human sexuality and to focus on what the churches have done in this area (show what has happened since the Harare mandate and let the Central Committee deliberate).

Bible Study:

Rev. Dr Maake Masango will lead the Bible study in the morning (focusing on Healing and Reconciliation in a time of HIV/AIDS).

Plenary Flow:

  • Consensus discussion

10 minutes

  • Introduction by Moderator

5 minutes

  • Brief introduction and report on work of RG by Erlinda Senturias, RG Moderator

10 minutes

  • Testimonies
  • Review of Church statements on human sexuality - George Mathew Nalunnakkal
  • Methodology of the Bossey Seminars as an alternative model - Valburga Schmiedt-Streck
  • Ethical Challenges to the church - Leonid Kishkovsky

10 minutes

7 minutes

7 minutes

Small Group discussions (with prepared questions)

20 minutes

  • Plenary Discussion

15 minutes

  • Wrap up by Erlinda Senturias

5 minutes

Practical Matters:

Moderator: Bishop Eberhard Renz

Speakers: Dr Erlinda Senturias

Dr Valburga Schmiedt-Streck

Dr Fr George Mathew Nalunnakkal

Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky

Rev. Dr Maake J. Masango (Bible Study)

Background Document: Aide Memoire (revised) (GEN 14)

Expected Outcome:


The Central Committee members feel informed on the work and discussions going on in member churches and the WCC's facilitation role.

That the Central Committee members feel more prepared to take this issue back to their churches.

That the Central Committee members are more equipped to prepare for the discussion on this issue at the Ninth General Assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006.