Rev. Prof. Dr Stephanie Dietrich, Faith and Order moderator, welcomed the commission members. “A decisive part of our work is our gathering together as Christian sisters and brothers, united by our faith in the triune God and Christ as God incarnated and risen from the dead,” noted Dietrich. “All our meetings, both virtually and in real life, will be carried by prayer and worship, and together we will have the privilege to learn and experience from other traditions and their way of worshipping.”
While some commission members have been part of the ecumenical movement and discourse for a long time, some are new. “I want to underline that, sent and empowered by God’s Spirit, the insights of all of us, our dedication, our time and our wisdom, are the main contribution to the successful outcome of our work,” said Dietrich, who also offered an overview of the commission’s study groups and how they function.
The commission’s task, she added, is to follow God’s call for unity and seek ways to come closer to such unity. “We all know: Unity is not uniformity. In our search for unity, not neglecting that Christian life unfolds itself in many different ways in different contexts and traditions, we follow Christ’s call ‘that they all may be one.”
Dr Andrej Jeftic, director of the Faith and Order Commission, also expressed his gratitude and welcomed the commission members, lauding the exceptional teamwork within the Faith and Order Secretariat.
“Collaborating with my esteemed colleagues, each offering their unique perspectives and talents, has been an enriching experience,” he said. “I am deeply grateful for the collaborative work and synergy we’ve built over the last few months.”
Jeftic added that he senses a historic wave in the life of the commission. “And I am very enthusiastic about what is coming,” he said, mentioning the Nicaea2025 Faith and Order world conference. “This occasion offers us an unparalleled opportunity to amplify our relevance and visibility, serving the churches as they call one another to visible unity,” he said. “I am confident that each one of us will harness this moment, contributing our distinct gifts to the noble cause of church unity.” The plans for marking the 1,700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 2025, culminating in the sixth Faith and Order conference, were presented by the Rev. Prof. Dr Sandra Beardsall.
During this gathering, commission members had the opportunity to share time together, familiarizing themselves with one another, but also to get to know the staff of the Faith and Order Secretariat.
The next meeting of the commission will take place online in late November.