8th assembly/50th anniversary

Together on the Way
3.6. Our Ecumenical Vision

At the recommitment service on 13 December, delegates reafirmed their ecumenical vision using the following text:

Jesus Christ, who has called us to be one, is in our midst!
As Christians from every part of the world, we give thanks
        that the triune God has drawn our churches closer together
        in faith and life, witness and service.
We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Council of Churches ---
        "a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour
        according to the scriptures
        and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling
        to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

    Receiving the legacy of those who have gone before us:
We are drawn by the vision of a church
        that will bring all people into communion with God and with one another,
            professing one baptism,
            celebrating one holy communion,
            and acknowledging a common ministry.

We are drawn by the vision of a church
        which will express its unity by confessing the apostolic faith,
            living in conciliar fellowship,
            acting together in mutual accountability.

We are challenged by the vision of a church
        that will reach out to everyone,
            proclaiming the good news of God's redemption,
        a sign of the kingdom and a servant of the world.

We are challenged by the vision of a church,
        the people of God on the way together,
        confronting all divisions of race, gender, age or culture,
        striving to realize justice and peace,
        upholding the integrity of creation.

    Affirming anew that our task is to embody, here and now, the vision of what God's people are
    called to be:

We journey together as a people freed by God's forgiveness.
            In the midst of the brokenness of the world,
            we proclaim the good news of reconciliation, healing and justice in Christ.

We journey together as a people with resurrection faith.
            In the midst of exclusion and despair,
            we embrace, in joy and hope, the promise of life in all its fullness.

We journey together as a people of prayer.
            In the midst of confusion and loss of identity,
            we discern signs of God's purpose being fulfilled
            and expect the coming of God's reign.

    Therefore, this is our vision for the ecumenical movement:

We long for the visible oneness of the body of Christ,
        affirming the gifts of all,
        young and old, women and men, lay and ordained.

We expect the healing of human community,
        the wholeness of God's entire creation.

We trust in the liberating power of forgiveness,
        transforming enmity into friendship
        and breaking the spiral of violence.

We open ourselves for a culture of dialogue and solidarity,
        sharing life with strangers
        and seeking encounter with those of other faiths.

This is our commitment:

We intend to stay together and are restless to grow together in unity.
        We respond to the prayer of Jesus Christ
        that all may be one in order that the world may believe (John 17:21).
        We are sustained by the assurance
        that in God's purpose all things shall be united in Christ ---
        things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:10).

We affirm that what unites us is stronger than what separates us.
        Neither failures nor uncertainties
        neither fears nor threats
        will weaken our intention to continue to walk together on the way to unity,
            welcoming those who would join us on this journey,
            widening our common vision
            discovering new ways of witnessing and acting together in faith.

We recommit ourselves in this 50th anniversary year to strengthen the World Council of Churches.
        as a truly ecumenical fellowship,
        fulfilling the purposes for which it was founded ---
        to the glory of the triune God.

            God of unity, God of love,
            what we say with our lips, make strong in our hearts,
            what we affirm with our minds, make vivid in our lives.
            Send us your Spirit
                    to pray in us what we dare not pray,
                    to claim us beyond our own claims,
                    to bind us when we are tempted to go our own ways.
            Lead us forward.
            Lead us together.
            Lead us to do your will,
            the will of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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