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Towards an Ecumenical Theology of Companionship: PJP Series 3

A Study Document for the Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

Since 2014, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace-Theological Study Group (PJP-TSG) and the Reference Group of the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace (PJP-RG) have been on a pilgrimage, visiting various countries and communities around the world, followed by study and reflection on what it means for churches to be on a pilgrimage of justice and peace today.

During the pilgrimage stations, four central themes have emerged, each raised in different ways by the diverse hosting communities, yet establishing themselves little by little as interpretative keys and pointing to a common agenda for the ecumenical Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace:

1. Truth and Trauma
2. Land and Displacement
3. Gender Justice
4. Racism

Due to the devastating global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that revealed so much injustice in our world, in all our communities, and within the ecumenical community, a fifth theme was added; health and healing.

At each station of our pilgrimage, the PJp-RG and the PJP-RG- after listening carefully-revisited the themes and reflected on them theologically in light of an emerging Ecumenical Theology of companionship.

This document-composed by the “pilgrims” in dialogue with the communities-presents, these findings and reflections for broader sharing in the global ecumenical fellowship.

Conversations on the Pilgrim Way

Invitation to Journey Together on Matters of Human Sexuality

This document was received at the meeting of the central committee held from 9-15 February 2022 by video conference.

The Report of the Programme Committee underlined in the introduction that this is a resource document for those member churches that are interested in deepening the discussion. It was requested by member churches for information and guidance. While it remains clear that human sexuality is a sensitive topic and that some churches may have objections to even discussing this topic, the Busan Assembly stated that controversial themes, like human sexuality, should have a safe space for conversation.

The programme committee, while aware that human sexuality could be a divisive topic in churches and in our fellowship, underlined the importance of ecumenical dialogue in a safe space on topics that could be divisive and welcomed the invitation in this document to journey together in ethical dilemmas.

Ecumenical Youth Gathering Songbook

This collection of songs will be used during morning and evening prayers at the Ecumenical Youth Gathering to be held on 27-30 August before the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, which aims to bring together around 400 young people from various churches and ecumenical partners to discuss a common message. The event is designed to provide an opportunity for young people to participate in intergenerational dialogue and develop a more inclusive agenda for the movement.

Called to Transformation - Ecumenical Diakonia

A joint publication of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ACT Alliance, this study document aims to clarify the understanding of ecumenical diakonia and to provide a common platform for acting and reflecting together for the churches and ecumenical partners worldwide. 

The major publication outlines the theological components of diakonia and offers practical content for those engaged in the service of diakonia. The study document is intended to be used for formation and training in ecumenical diakonia, to strengthen the institutional capacity of those involved in diakonia, and to foster dialogue and cooperation between churches, ecumenical partners, ACT Alliance and the WCC.

Study trip to Rome testifies that ecumenical engagements can move forward

Our successful visit to Rome with various ecumenical deliberations itself testifies that ecumenical engagements can move forward despite the pandemic. The launch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity document “Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic: From Crisis to Opportunity,” followed by an ecumenical panel discussion, helped us to understand how different churches have approached the pandemic. 

Let the food systems nourish people and the planet rather than feed the profits of the privileged

The food system is a complex web of activities involving production, processing, transport, and consumption. Key issues concerning the food system include how food production affects the natural environment, the impact of food on individual and population health, the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, and the degree to which we waste food.

Faith(s) Seeking Justice

Dialogue and Liberation

Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the WCC’s Programme on Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, this volume celebrates a common confidence that dialogue can be linked to liberation in ways that can be both faithful and fruitful.

From the Introduction: “The heartbeat of this book is its concern to reimagine interreligious dialogue as a “dialogue of and for life” by interlinking it with liberation. What drives it is a passion that seeks to hold together two distinct concerns that emerged within theological thinking during the latter half of the 20th century and have since freed theological imagination in manifold ways.”

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.

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.

Tribute to Jonathan Sacks, a rabbi with “huge knowledge, deep wisdom, warm generosity”

‘Resist with all your heart and soul any attempt to substitute power for truth’ – so exhorted the late and widely lamented Jonathan Sacks in his most recent book, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times (2020). Lord Sacks, who died on 7 November at the untimely age of 72, served as chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013, and subsequently as chief rabbi emeritus. 

Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity

A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) released a joint document, “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19.” Its purpose is to encourage churches and Christian organizations to reflect on the importance of interreligious solidarity in a world wounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The document offers a Christian basis for interreligious solidarity that can inspire and confirm the impulse to serve a world wounded not only by COVID-19 but also by many other wounds.

Communication is all about being heard and understood

In most medium- to large sized organizations, there is a communications function dealing with all kinds of “communication issues.” Usually, that comprises everything from producing a broad variety of presentation material and managing websites to writing stories, handling media relations and advising management teams. The tasks are challenging and often stressful. Professionalism and integrity are key.

Japan’s churches urge nuclear-free world

In July 2014, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee adopted a statement entitled "Towards a Nuclear-free World." In the same year, on 4 August, on behalf of the world's 500 million Christians, WCC Asia president Dr Chang Sang visited Japan, and delivered this statement in person to the chief cabinet secretary of the Japanese government, Yoshihide Suga. The churches in Japan, which experienced Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were greatly encouraged by these WCC actions.