Churches' developing common vision explored

By staff writers
January 2, 2014

Publication of the text The Church: Towards a Common Vision has been described as "an ecumenical highlight of 2013".

Now under study by churches throughout the world, it is a document that seeks to move beyond collaboration to convergence -- and sets the scene for another Week of Prayer for Christian Unity later this month.

The most recent issue of the quarterly global journal The Ecumenical Review features commentary on this product of the World Council of Churches' Commission on Faith and Order.

The Commission brings together representatives of a wide range of churches in the Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, Evangelical and Catholic traditions.

Professor John Gibaut, director of Faith and Order for the WCC and guest editor of the October 2013 issue of The Ecumenical Review, explains that the current text comes after more than 20 years of dialogue and the circulation of two earlier documents on the church in 1998 and 2005.

In an editorial introduction, Gibaut writes that “the dialogue continues.” The text, he says, “is not a blueprint or a scientific description of what the church is, but a vision of what the church is called to be.” Responses from churches are awaited.

Among the authors of articles providing historical context and the hope of greater unity are well known ecumenists Mary Tanner, Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar, Hans-Georg Link, Natalia Vasilevich and William Henn.

The Ecumenical Review is published on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) by Wiley.

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