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Reflections on “What Are the Churches Saying About the Church” share fruits of WCC Commission on Faith and Order

Below, Rev. Dr Susan Durber, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith and Order and His Eminence Bishop Maxim, from the Serbian Orthodox Church and a WCC Faith and Order commissioner, reflect on the publication What Are the Churches Saying About the Church?”

The publication, which presents key findings and proposals from responses to The Church: Towards a Common Vision,” is among the many fruits being harvested by the study groups of the WCC Faith and Order Commission for the WCC 11th Assembly.

Spiritual path to the WCC 11th Assembly continues with Holy Week Bible studies

As the series of Bible studies leading up to the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly continues, the focus moves to Holy Week and Easter. Below, Dr Ani Ghazaryan Drissi, WCC programme executive for the Faith and Order Commission, reflects on how churches, together, can focus on Holy Week in the context of of preparing for the assembly.

Common Threads

Key Themes from Responses to The Church: Towards a Common Vision

Faith and Order Paper No 233

Churches now agree more than they disagree on many characteristics of the Church and its faith, mission, and life: the responses to the convergence statement The Church: Towards a Common Vision make this clear. Within this growth in agreement, key themes come to the fore, calling for greater understanding, study, and common conversation: visible unity, communion, mission, the role of the people of God in ministry and decision-making, sin and the church, and more. 
This volume presents essays on sixteen of these key themes. Each essay was written by a member of the subgroup of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order that focused on reading and analyzing the responses. The essays were then discussed by the group and revised in light of the discussions. Some of the themes have been prominent since the 1982 convergence statement Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry. Others have emerged more recently. 

Together with the report What are the Churches Saying about the Church?, the essays illuminate the many ways in which the vision of unity has inspired and changed the churches, as well as critical areas where future work is needed.

New Year’s resolutions: a biblical reflection

The year often begins with making firm resolutions, taken with earnestness and commitment. The following weeks and months are familiarly littered with broken promises and failures. Successful and consistent adherence to new yearsresolutions is, from my experience, rare. To change this pattern of failure, I look to the holy scripture for help.

Perkins names Dr Evelyn Parker as 2021 Distinguished Alumna

The Perkins School of Theology Alumni/ae Council selected Dr Evelyn L. Parker as the 2021 recipient of the Perkins Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. The award recognizes Perkins graduates who have demonstrated effectiveness and integrity in service to the church, continuing support for the goals of Perkins and Southern Methodist University, outstanding service to the community, and exemplary character.

What Are the Churches Saying About the Church?

Key Findings and Proposals from the Responses to The Church: Towards a Common Vision

Faith and Order Paper no. 236

This report was developed by the WCC Commission on Faith and Order as part of an ongoing conversation by churches about the Church that has included various elements. Following the publication of the two volumes of Churches Respond to The Church: Towards a Common Vision, this text provides an accessible summary of the findings of a process that took years of intense and hope-filled listening. It provides some highlights and impressions of what those who have listened have discerned what they heard.

The Commission on Faith and Order hope that readers will find this short text fascinating, challenging, and significant and that it will encourage the churches to take stock of the theological unity made evident here.

Churches and Moral Discernment (III)

Volume 3: Facilitating Dialogue to Build Koinonia

Faith and Order Paper No. 235

The study document “Churches and Moral Discernment: Facilitating Dialogue to Build Koinonia,” harvests the fruits of the study process on moral discernment which began in 2015. In its analysis, the document describes patterns in the complex negotiations between continuity and change as churches respond to moral challenges. At its core, the study document invites the churches to more deeply understand the significance of “the conscience of the church” in moral discernment processes and points to its ecumenical potential. The document offers a tool to analyse core elements in the conscience of the church that shape moral discernment.

Less COVID-19 cases, more “hope cases”

The Uruguayan Council of Christian Churches (CICU, by its Spanish acronym), the only ecumenical organization in the country, hosted an online gathering during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It took place last 26 May at 7:30pm (local time) via Zoom. I had the immense joy of participating as a Catholic communicator, currently serving as correspondent for SIGNIS ALC (Latin-American and Caribbean Association of Catholic Communication) and as vice president of SIGNIS Uruguay (the Uruguayan Association of Catholic Communicators).

Week of Prayer brings fruits of the Spirit despite COVID-19

Prayer is a powerful way to be united as Christians from all over the world. Every year my church community in Cuba joins the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with daily devotions and a special worship service, usually on Sundays. Being connected in the same prayerful spirit around a common text that turns into so many testimonies of faith is truly a gift of the Spirit and an ecumenical commitment.