The declared purpose of the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order is “to serve the churches as they call one another to visible unity in one Eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world.” One part of fulfilling that calling must be undertaken through careful, patient, and open listening to the churches themselves.
This document is but one small part of a long story of a particular conversation about the Church over decades, that has included the publication in 2013 of The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV); and then the patient waiting for responses to TCTCV from churches, from ecumenical organizations and from passionate ecumenists. The work has continued as those responses, in turn, have been carefully read with faithful attention and have become material for reflection and discernment.
The responses themselves are now available and published, along with a (soon to be published) additional volume of papers on key themes that emerged from the responses.
This text, much shorter than either of those, provides an accessible, go-to summary of the findings of a process that took years of intense and hope-filled listening. It is by no means a complete summary and neither will it tell the reader all the findings there are to discover in the volumes of responses. What it can provide are some highlights and impressions of what those who have listened discern that they have heard.
(From the foreword by Rev. Dr Susan Durber, Moderator, Commission on Faith and Order and Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, Director, Commission on Faith and Order)