Participants are sharing their reflections on what has been achieved theologically, ecumenically, and methodologically, as well as their views about relevant ecumenical theological work to be done.
The study groups—which include pilgrimage, ecclesiology, and moral discernment—will also unpack some of the fruits of the WCC 11th Assembly. Together, they will consider the question: “What has the assembly said about the unity we seek in light of the statement on unity, the assembly message, the report of the Policy Reference Committee, and the plenary on unity and witness?”
Rev. Dr Susan Durber, moderator of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order, reflected that it was a real blessing now for the group to meet again face-to-face. “Our work has been rooted in strong relationships made since our work began after the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan,” she said. “We gather to draw together the results of our labours and to discern what we might pass on to others for the future.”
Durber added that it is not always easy to know what will be of lasting value, “but we trust that we have been guided by the Holy Spirit in the service of the unity of the church.”
For example, she said, the study groups have drawn together from the breadth of their traditions as they reflected together about creation and climate. “We have continued the long and vital work of discerning a common vision of the church,” Durber said. “And we have wrestled with how we discern the will of God on those moral questions that test our unity and our discipleship.”
Durber added: “We celebrate the love that we have found together, our unity as a commission and the hope we carry for the future. We live in testing times, but now together, we gives thanks to God for the privilege of doing this work!”
The meeting will include the release of the Faith and Order paper “Towards a Global Vision of the Church Volume I: Explorations on Global Christianity and Ecclesiology, Faith and Order.”
The study groups will also celebrate the leadership of the WCC acting deputy general secretary and Faith and Order director Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, who is retiring.
The next WCC Commission on Faith and Order meeting will take place online in April 2023.