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The Nature and Mission of the Church

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  • SOCM News Bureau
    THE NATURE AND MISSION OF THE CHURCH. Recommendations to extend and expand a consultation process on The Nature and Mission of the Church emerged from 12
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2009

      Recommendations to extend and expand a consultation process on
      "The Nature and Mission of the Church" emerged from 12 small
      groups reviewing the text of that title on the final day of a
      7-13 October meeting of the Faith and Order Plenary Commission at
      the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, Greece. The groups'
      proposals will be forwarded to the smaller Faith and Order
      Standing Commission and to officials of the World Council of
      Churches (WCC), which the Plenary Commission serves as an
      advisory body.

      The Nature and Mission of the Church, a 40-page book, was issued
      in December 2005 and commended to Christian churches by the WCC's
      Ninth Assembly at Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 2006.
      Churches, church-related institutions and interested individuals
      were requested to submit responses to the text by January 2010.

      The document attempts to achieve ecumenical agreement on world
      Christianity's understanding of "ecclesiology" – the doctrine of
      the church, its nature and mission – and to identify those
      church-related matters that continue to divide Christians. As of
      late September 2009 nearly fifty responses had been received by
      Faith and Order, but only eighteen of them were official
      communications from churches.

      In addition to the written responses, participants in the plenary
      considered a series of presentations on the text and on the
      commission meeting's theme, "Called to Be the One Church".
      Presenters came from a wide range of geographical regions and
      traditions of Christianity, and a recurring criticism in their
      analysis of the text was a failure to take fully into
      consideration the broad diversity of the world's churches and
      their differing contexts.

      In one of the speeches, Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Coorilos of
      India, a bishop of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch
      and all the East, expressed gratitude for the Faith and Order
      text's "philosophical imagination", typical of "classical models
      of dialogue". He suggested that this western, academic approach
      to ecclesiology now "needs to be complemented with sociological
      and poetic imaginations where the text (the Word) takes on flesh
      and enters the realm of the pain and pathos that the poor and
      their earth endure". Using as an example the full involvement of
      members of the disadvantaged Dalit caste in the life of the
      Indian church, he called for "a dialogue from below" to
      complement traditional encounters "at esoteric and intellectual
      levels". He characterized this more contextual form of dialogue
      as "a process of challenging religious traditions, including
      one’s own, on questions of injustice".

      To read more: http://www.wfn.org/2009/10/msg00071.html

      More on the Faith and Order meeting:

      Presentations and documents:

      Photo gallery (high resolution pictures available free of

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