Faith and Order Commission

Theologians from very different cultures and church traditions work together on theological themes that help churches to move from separation to common life


The name “Faith and Order” refers to two areas in which remaining disagreements prevent communion or unity among Christian churches.

The first is “faith” in the sense of what churches believe. Significant disagreements on what churches believe prevent common life among them. Unity requires a certain level of agreement in matters of belief.

The second area is “order” in the sense of how the church ministry is organized as it serves and communicates God’s salvation in Christ. Significant disagreements in this area also prevent communion among churches. Unity requires a certain level of agreement in matters of “order.” 

The Commission on Faith and Order undertakes theological studies so that the churches may reach sufficient agreement across their diversity and grow in mutual care and accountability. In doing so, the churches are persistent in their belief that the church of Jesus Christ is not many “churches” but One Church.        

Episcopalians and other Reformation churches launched the Faith and Order Movement in the US, in 1910. The movement held two world conferences, in 1927 and 1937. After 1948, the movement became the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. 

The Faith and Order Commission is currently working on three main study projects:

1. The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace 

Faith and Order is drawing wisdom from different Christian traditions to encourage churches to engage together in actions of justice and peace; on matters of ecological justice and justice for the environment; and in the proclamation of the peace of Christ in situations of religious plurality.

2. The Church

Faith and Order is facilitating the search for a common understanding of the church that may help churches come closer to each other. Some of the questions related to this study and its importance are: What do the churches mean precisely when they say “Church”? Do the different responses to this question reveal fundamental differences, which cannot be overcome? What would happen if the churches would realize that they may reach an important level of agreement on their understanding of the Church and its mission? How far can the “traditional” churches go in their dialogue with churches that have not yet been part of the Faith and Order discussions on the Church?

3. Moral Discernment in the Churches

A third area of work is ethics. What happens when churches, on the basis of scripture and their traditions, come to very different understandings of what is acceptable in matters of morality? How should we understand their conflicting moral reasoning and teaching? How can they remain in dialogue, despite serious disagreements? Faith and Order has been struggling with these questions and formulating answers that contribute to Christian unity. 

Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus
Director of the Faith and Order Commission
Phone: +41 22 791 6070, +41 22 960 7346 (Bossey)

Dr Ani Ghazaryan Drissi
Executive Secretary of the Faith and Order Commission
phone: +41-22 791.63.43

Prof. Dr Vasile Octavian Mihoc
Executive Secretary of the Faith and Order Commission
phone: +41-22 791.65.51

Rev. Dr Mikie Roberts
Programme Executive for Spiritual Life and Faith and Order
phone: +41-22 791.61.58

Rev. Dr Simone Sinn
Executive Secretary of the Faith and Order Commission
phone: +41-22 960.73.42