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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.

Sharing and Learning

Bible, Mission, and Receptive Ecumenism

Receptive Ecumenism can be described as an ecumenism of the wounded hands. It brings to the fore the self-critical hospitality, humble learning, and ongoing conversion that have always been quietly essential to ecumenical work. “What do we, in our tradition, need to learn and receive, with integrity, from others?”

The book is meant for all those interested in the theological relations between mission and unity, as well as in Receptive Ecumenism. It is intended for all who are interested in the practical consequences of committing themselves to foster the unity and mission of the Church in the world. It serves both academics and practitioners engaged in mission and unity. If the book can be a source of inspiration for them, it will have fulfilled its purpose.

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.

Churches Respond To The Church: Towards A Common Vision Volume I

Faith and Order Paper No. 231

This publication and its companion volume collect the responses received to The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV) between 2013 and 2020.
The responses address the Church’s mission, unity, and its being in the Trinitarian life of God in order to encourage and advance the churches’ growth in communion with each other in apostolic faith, sacramental life, mission, and ministry for the sake of God’s world.
These responses are of great importance, not only because they test the points of convergence and of difference identified in TCTCV but also because they express the interests and concerns of many member churches and ecclesial bodies engaging in the work for Christian unity. They also provide invaluable insight and guidance for future work on ecclesiology.

Churches Respond To the Church: Towards a Common Vision Volume II

Faith and Order Paper No. 232

This publication and its companion volume collect the responses received to The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV) between 2013 and 2020.
The responses address the Church’s mission, unity, and its being in the Trinitarian life of God in order to encourage and advance the churches’ growth in communion with each other in apostolic faith, sacramental life, mission, and ministry for the sake of God’s world.
These responses are of great importance, not only because they test the points of convergence and of difference identified in TCTCV but also because they express the interests and concerns of many member churches and ecclesial bodies engaging in the work for Christian unity. They also provide invaluable insight and guidance for future work on ecclesiology.

Love and Witness

Proclaiming the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ in a Religiously Plural World

Faith and Order Paper No. 230

“Love and Witness,” intends to flesh out more fully the insights of Come and See with regard to peace and religious plurality. It seeks to engage with the insights of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and others to ask what our many traditions can say together as we journey towards visible unity about the encounter with other religions that will necessarily be a part of the Church’s pilgrim way.

Cultivate and Care

An Ecumenical Theology of Justice for and within Creation

Faith and Order Paper No. 226

The alarming climate change demands that the churches’ journey toward visible unity must include a sustained dialogue with a theology for justice for and within creation and seek ways to put the fruits of that dialogue into practice.

This theological document seeks to demonstrate how a committed response to the environmental devastation of our time can be motivated by Christian faith in God the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier.

We have sought, first, to point to some of the urgent environmental situations which cry out for Christian reflection and action. Next, we have sought to root such a response in the progressively increasing ecumenical consideration of creation on the part of the WCC in recent decades and in various theological, ecclesiological, and ecumenical convictions which our churches share and which call them to join together in engagement to protect the environment. Finally, we have proposed ways in which such engagement can take form.

Churches and Moral Discernment (I)

Volume 1: Learning from Traditions

Faith and Order Paper No. 228

The volume features 14 self-descriptions of different traditions regard­ing moral discernment: their sources, the interplay of sources, and the processes of ecclesial deliberation. The different self-descriptions are presented to enable reflection on and provide awareness of how processes of moral discernment are envisioned by the respective traditions. They invite the reader, as well as churches, to study them, reflect on the moral discernment of their own tradition, and learn how others engage in moral discernment.

 

Churches and Moral Discernment (II)

Volume 2: Learning from History

Faith and Order Paper No. 229

Many of the tensions between and among churches can be traced to the different positions they take on important ethical issues that face the churches and society. Yet, even within traditions positions change. In this second volume examining moral discernment in church traditions, the authors imagine changes in position on issues such as usury, slavery, marriage, suicide, as well as freedom of religion, apartheid, and involvement in war and peace.

Mission Rediscovered: Transforming Disciples

A Commentary on the Arusha Call to Discipleship
Kenneth R. Ross

This book offers a commentary on the Arusha Call to Discipleship, unpacking the meaning of its 12-part summons. It provides an up-to-date theological and missiological view on a major ecumenical mission document with a personal reflection on the state of the world desperately in need of change and transformation. It intends to be a key resource for discovering what it means to become what Pope Francis described as "missionary disciples". Primarily meant for individuals and study groups in churches, mission agencies and theological institutions, it is a useful tool for anyone interested in the ecumenical mission movement and World Christianity.

For Those Who Wish to Hear

Emerging Theologians on Mission and Evangelism

For those who wish to hear, these novel voices of emerging theologians offer authentic clues to translating the received traditions of Christianity in ways that might also transform the world.

Moving in the Spirit

Report of the World Council of Churches Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

The aim of this report of the World Council of Churches Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, which took place in Arusha, Tanzania, in March 2018, is to be as useful and user-friendly as possible for the reader, whether they are used to the ecumenical context or not. The Arusha conference was an extraordinary event in many ways, as the reader will discover in going through the conference material.

Arusha Report

Report and other resources of the WCC Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, held in Arusha, Tanzania, 8-13 March 2018.

Come and See

A Theological Invitation
 to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.

Faith and Order Paper No. 224.

This document invites the churches to explore the ways that “pilgrimage” can help the churches deepen and express the commitment to oneness in their work.

Current dialogue

Current Dialogue is the World Council of Churches’ journal on interreligious dialogue, offering a platform for debate to those who want to build bridges across religious divides and to their partners of different faiths.

Translating the Word, Transforming the World

An Ecumenical Reader

A stellar collection of nearly 30 of the most important, orienting documents of contemporary ecumenical and missiological reflection. Composed and compiled to serve as a textbook for the meeting of the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute, held in Arusha, Tanzania, in conjunction with the world conference of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism in March 2018, the volume nurtures ecumenical theological formation with a contextual sensitivity yet a truly global focus.

International Review of Mission

International Review of Mission is the leading journal on missiology with contributions from all over the world and from various Christian backgrounds. Founded in 1912, it is published by the World Council of Churches, and focuses on the ecumenical theology and practice of mission.