The primary focus of this gathering will be to provide continuity in the work of the commission and anticipate the work ahead. The meeting is also serving as preparation for the first in-person meeting which will take place from 1-8 February in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. At that meeting, the commission is expected to elect vice-moderators, discern the methods and areas of future study processes it wishes to engage with, and establish respective study groups.
During this week’s meeting, the commission is receiving inputs from the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism; setting the groundwork for the discernment process on future work; and reflecting on the contemporary issues and challenges.
The group is also reflecting on the preparation process for the Sixth World Conference (Nicaea 2025).
Commission moderator, Rev. Prof. Dr Stephanie Dietrich, said that the commission is called to continue and renew its work. “We are standing in the long tradition of Faith and Order meetings over many decades, and the meetings this week are intended to remind us of all the work of our Faith and Order mothers and fathers, on whose shoulders we stand,” she said. “Our commitment to visible unity is no longer self-evident and obvious for everyone. Perceptions and understanding of unity may differ, and there is a need to explore and to explain why our work for unity is still urgent, and maybe even more urgent than ever before.”
Dr Andrej Jeftić, director of the WCC’s Commission on Faith and Order, said: “Indeed, we hear about horrible wars happening across the globe, political and social unrest, economic crises, environmental destruction, and the climate emergency, forced migration, oppression, systemic corruption, and the list goes on. Behind all the cries uttered in the face of our tragedies, we hear and recognize the longing for justice, peace, reconciliation, and unity.”
He reflected on the quest for unity. “Faith and Order has persistently worked on church unity for what will soon be an entire century” he said. “It has served the global ecumenical movement faithfully and contributed significantly to the uniting of particular churches, the reconciliation of church families, and the growth in unity of the global fellowship that is the World Council of Churches.”