12 June 2015
Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, professor of ecumenical theology at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland and acting director of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith and Order, has been confirmed as the new Faith and Order director. He has been appointed by the executive committee of the WCC, at their meeting in Armenia 8-12 June, on the recommendation of the general secretary, supported by the clear and unanimous recommendation from a search panel representing the Faith and Order Commission and senior staff of the WCC.
The Faith and Order Commission provides a forum for ecumenical dialogue on theological matters ofunity , and particularly on aspects of ecclesiology. Its membership extends beyond that of the WCC, including representatives of the Roman Catholic Church. The work now entrusted to the Commission has its origins in the first international conference of the Faith and Order movement at Lausanne in 1927.
A pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Odair Mateus has worked for the World Alliance of Reformed Churches where he run its bilateral ecumenical dialogues and edited its quarterly journal. He has served both the Faith and Order secretariat in Geneva and the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey since 2007.
The director’s position fell open after the Rev. Canon Dr John Gibaut left Geneva for London in early 2015 to become director for Unity, Faith and Order of the world-wide Anglican Communion. Mateus has been supervising the work of Faith and Order office as acting director.
Following the election, the WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit said: “Mateus is a good theologian, creative thinker, solid communicator and teacher, and will be leading the work of the secretariat of Faith and Order with competence and commitment. “
British theologian Rev. Dr Susan Durber, moderator of the Faith and Order Commission, praised the choice of Mateus in this statement: “I am inspired by his wide knowledge and experience of Faith and Order, his visionary ideas about ways forward and his commitment to the future. I recognize that he will be a director who will bring a new spirit to the work with a new style. He is also the first Faith and Order Director from the Global South.” Members of the Faith and Order Commission took part in the interview and selection process.
The first meeting of the new Faith and Order Commission after the WCC Assembly in 2013 will take place under Mateus’s leadership at the Caraiman Romanian Orthodox Monastery outside Bucharest from 17 to 24 June.