Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC
audience at CUV plenary at the 8th WCC assembly, Harare 1998.
CUV plenary at the 8th WCC assembly, Harare 1998.

 

Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches is the title of a statement adopted by the central committee of the WCC in September 1997. It grew out of a study begun in 1989, and draws on insights from many churches, organizations, groups and individuals. The full text of this statement weaves together understandings that have emerged from fifty years of discussions within the WCC of the unity of the church with an overview and analysis of the contemporary challenges facing churches around the world in their life and witness and in their relations with one another. The eight following affirmations highlight some key features of the understanding of the WCC developed in that statement: 

1. The WCC is a fellowship of churches which have committed themselves to make visible their unity in Christ and to call one another to a deeper expression of that unity through worship and common life, witness and service to the world.

2. There have been many signs of growth towards Christian unity since the founding of the WCC.

3. It is impossible to speak about the WCC apart from the ecumenical movement, out of which it grew and of which it is an important instrument.

4. Today, no less than when the WCC was founded, the world and the churches face a time of crisis whose deepest dimensions are spiritual.

5. The contemporary spiritual crises call the ecumenical movement and the WCC to reaffirm the vocation of being an impulse for renewal.

6. As part of their fellowship in the WCC, the member churches acknowledge a common calling, which they seek to fulfill together.

7. To help the churches to fulfill together their common calling, the WCC must have an effective organizational structure.

8. At the dawn of a new millennium, the churches recommit themselves to the ecumenical vision and deepen their participation in the WCC.

See also the full text of the statement "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches".