Interview, Bossey, Faith and Order Moderator

Rev Dr Stephanie Dietrich, moderator of the Faith and Order Commission, interviewed from Xanthi Morfi, WCC communications, Switzerland, 2023, Photo: WCC

In the beautiful setting of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Dietrich opens the interview by speaking of the value of the institute for the future of the ecumenical movement. 

This gives a unique chance, I think, to develop ecumenical theology and cooperation for the future, so Bossey is just a fabulous place for the young people coming here,” she says. 

She also acknowledges that the work of Bossey and of the Commission on Faith and Order is occurring in a world beset with grave challenges. 

This world today, if you look around—it is so divided. Its divided by wars. Its divided by injustice. It is divided by huge differences in living conditions, and certainly the churches are divided which becomes visible by the fact that we cannot celebrate the holy communion together,” she says. We still disagree on many questions, so its clear that we need unity, and the world needs our unity.” At the same time, she underlines, that there is more that unites us than divides us. 

In fact, defining unity and pursuing visible unity are at the heart of the commissions work, Dietrich says. Unity is not uniformity,” she says. But still we have to seek together when it comes to the profound understanding of the Christian faith.”

She describes the commissions work to dig even further into questions of faith, faith that brings us together in order to overcome our divisions and also to contribute to overcome the divisions of the world,” she says, adding that her election to the position of moderator is a call not only from the commission itself but from the outside and a call from God to serve.”

She also describes the commissions three major working areas: the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, ecclesiology, and moral discernment. 

Dietrich summarizes the deep questions the commission continues to ask: What is actually church dividing? Why is it church dividing? How can we seek unity?”

She also offers an update on plans for Nicaea 2025, and plans for involving young people in the work of the commission. 

Theres nothing more exciting than ecumenical theology—and if you ask the students here at Bossey, they would agree,” she says.


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