Continuation Committee on Ecumenism in the 21st Century

In recent years, discussions about the effects of the changing world on the ecumenical movement and its vision for the future have taken place in different forums, including a consultation on "Ecumenism in the 21st Century" convened by the WCC in 2004. The process was continued from 2007 to 2012 with a stronger theological emphasis through the Continuation Committee.


Ecumenical activities today are carried out at different levels by churches acting through conciliar bodies (e.g. the WCC, regional ecumenical organizations, sub-regional fellowships and national councils of churches). Christian world communions, specialized ministries, international ecumenical organizations, ecumenical communities, mission agencies, theological colleges and associations, ecumenical academies, lay training centres and many other ecumenical bodies. The number of ecumenical organizations constitutes a real challenge for churches and funding partners who are expected to participate in these bodies and support them.

While it is obvious that this movement is far broader than any one institution, the WCC has a privileged role in ensuring the coherence of the ecumenical movement.


The Continuation Committee is facilitated by the WCC, but not a committee of the WCC. The rationale for membership and the mandate were endorsed, but not formulated by the WCC Central Committee. It is composed of 15 representatives of different constituencies, including WCC member churches, the Roman Catholic church, Pentecostal churches, ecumenical youth organizations, regional ecumenical organizations, Christian world communions, national council of churches, specialized ministries, international ecumenical organizations and ecumenical renewal communities.


The final report of the committee included recommendations to the WCC, regional ecumenical organizations, national councils of churches, Christian world communions, ecumenical youth movements, specialized ministries, renewal movements, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and churches and organizations – whether or not traditionally seen as ecumenically engaged – on how to live out the gift of ecumenical calling in more intentional cooperation by all. It was received by the WCC Central Committee in September 2012 and will be forwarded to the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013.

Related documents

Final report of the Continuation Committee

Report on the second meeting of the Continuation Committee

Interim report prepared by the committee at its 10-17 January 2009 meeting in Belem, Brazil.

Report on the first meeting of the Continuation Committee on Ecumenism in the 21st Century

The Continuation Committee on Ecumenism in the 21st Century met for the first time in November 2007 (Bossey) to discuss the effects of the changing world on the ecumenical movement and its vision for the future.

Final statement from the consultation Ecumenism in the 21st Century

Christians face new challenges in the world and new and effective ways of working together are required in order to respond to the demands of the world from the perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ. A WCC consultation on “Ecumenism in the 21st Century” was held in Switzerland in 2004 to reflect on this question.

Related publications