WCC launches Faith and Order convergence text
In a World Council of Churches (WCC) governance meeting, The Church: Towards a Common Vision, a convergence text of the Commission on Faith and Order, was officially presented by the WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
Tveit launched The Church at the WCC Executive Committee meeting on 6 March, which took place at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland.
“The Commission on Faith and Order presents to us a gift, a statement about the Church,” stated Tveit in his foreword to The Church.
“Work on ecclesiology relates to everything the Church is and what its mission implies in and for the world. It reflects the constitutional aims and self-identity of the WCC as a fellowship of churches who call each other to the goal of visible unity,” he added.
The Church identifies what Christians can say together about the Church in order to grow in communion, to struggle together for justice and peace, and to overcome together their past and present divisions.
After twenty years in the making, The Church was approved by the Standing Commission on Faith and Order at its 2012 meeting in Penang, Malaysia. It was later received by the WCC Central Committee and commended to the churches for study and formal response.
It is the second convergence text to be a proved in the long life of the commission, the first being the Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry which was celebrated at the WCC 6th Assembly in Vancouver (1982).
“The aims of The Church are twofold. The first is renewal,” said Canon John Gibaut, the WCC director of Faith and Order. “Some reading this text may find themselves challenged to live more fully the ecclesial life; others may find in it aspects of ecclesial life which have been neglected or forgotten; others may find themselves strengthened and affirmed,” he added.
“The second objective is theological agreement on the term ‘Church’. The responses to the document will reflect the level of convergence on ecclesiology amongst the churches. Such convergence will play a vital role in the mutual recognition between the churches as they call one another to visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship,” noted Gibaut.
The document is currently being translated to German, Spanish, French, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian. Cooperations for translations into additional languages are being explored. The English version has been published online.
Read full text of The Church: Towards a Common Vision