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Towards a Global Vision of the Church Volume I

Explorations on Global Christianity and Ecclesiology, Faith and Order Paper 234

 As a part of the reception process of the convergence document The Church: Towards a Common Vision (TCTCV), the ecclesiology study group of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order undertook a wide range of conversations on global Christianity and ecclesiology. This  included perspectives from various regions (especially Asia, Africa, and Latin America), denominational families (such as evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and independent churches), and forms of being church (such as ecclesial movements, new forms of monasticism, and online churches) which have not always been clearly or strongly represented in the discussions on the way to TCTCV. 

This first of two volumes offers a taste of the insights, contributions, lively dialogue, diverse perspectives, and mutual exchange of ecumenical gifts between the members of the commission and theologians from  around the world, which took place through a series of international consultations between 2015-22.

The fruit of this work is offered with the hope that it will contribute towards a clearer, global vision of the Church in the 21st century.

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.

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.