faith & order plenary commission
28 july - 6 august 2004
kuala lumpur, malaysia
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Orthodox voices are heard but not always understood

10 August 2004 - A black-robed priest wanders slowly along the dazzling white walls of a monastery, beneath a bright blue sky. This is the "postcard" image which many western Christians have of the Orthodox world. The reality is much richer and more varied. Eastern Christians represent a sizeable part of Christianity, present in a great variety of contexts, often at the edges of the "Christian world" and therefore in close contact with other religions, notably Islam.MRead more

Photo: Metropolitan Amba Bishoy

Human sexuality - a question of identity

6 August 2004 - One Sunday afternoon last year at the ice hockey stadium near the small US town of Durham, a small but noisy protest group confronted a larger group of university students. The demonstrations were controlled by mounted police. It was an unusual context for the consecration of a bishop, but this was an unusual consecration. Read more

Prof. Valburga Schmiedt Streck: "A broad view of human sexuality is needed"..

Colourful ecumenism

6 August 2004 - Those who imagine theological discussions to be arid debates better suited to grey, badly lit cloisters would certainly have been surprised during the recent World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order plenary commission meeting. Read more

Photo: Painting it is my own way of expressing inner compassion."

Living in a world of difference

6 August 2004 - The World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order plenary commission is just that - churches meeting to discuss theological issues touching the way they conceive the Christian faith, and the way in which, on the basis of that faith, their life together in fellowship is organised. But on Thursday 5 August, two Malaysian women - one Christian, one Muslim - made powerful pleas for genuine inter-religious dialogue. Read more

In the jungle of ecclesiology, how do we avoid the tigers?

5 August 2004 - There are over three hundred and forty members of the World Council of Churches. But what do they think that a church is, and how does each church relate to other churches? The study of these issues is called "ecclesiology", and it's a central issue on the Faith and Order agenda as well as a concern of the WCC. Read more

Photo: According to Professor Dr Anne Marie Reijnen of the United Protestant Church in Belgium, we have to accept that there's a biblical presupposition in favour of unity

Next generation of Asian theologians coming up

6 August 2004 - "Future Asian theologians should be like ants, bees and spiders! Ants because of their way of patiently gathering nourishing materials, bees because they have to fly all over the world and bring home more knowledge and good ideas, and spiders because they have to be able to build webs between different theological concepts from around the globe and the inherited notions of their local cultures and religions."MRead more

Photo: Miriam Shastri, the 18-year-old author of this feature, is a steward at the Faith and Order plenary commission meeting.

What is our understanding of human nature?

6 August 2004 - The study on the understanding of human nature marks one of the most significant steps forward in the work of Faith and Order, whose plenary commission is meeting from 28 July to 6 August in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The study aims "To identify what the churches can say together about the nature of human nature: what it means to be human, made in the image of God". The question is important and is closely linked to how we make ethical choices and deal with particular events and circumstances of life.MRead more

Photo: William Tabbernee: "Would you be ready to baptise a robot...?"

Christians in Sandokan's land

3 August 2004 - They represent nearly all confessional families but together do not constitute 10 percent of the population. They are thankful for the freedom of religion they enjoy in this majority-Muslim nation but they have to buy tickets to see The Passion of Christ in the churches. They are allowed to worship freely but if they marry a Muslim they must adopt that religion. They descend from immigrants but are committed to the construction of national unity. They are Malaysian Christians. Read more

Photo: Tourists visit the Petronas Towers, a KL landmark

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Message of hope from Faith and Order

6 August 2004 -A message to the churches from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order plenary commission meeting in Kuala Lumpur 26 July to 6 August refers to "a moment of hope" in its discussions.

"There are still many questions we need to explore together, but we became aware of reaching a moment of hope, having identified a framework which might enable churches to move forward in terms of mutual recognition," the message stated in regard to the commission's study on ecclesiology. More

Call to include the missing 25 per cent

6 August 2004 - The sole Pentecostal member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order plenary commission has made a powerful call for the inclusion of independent, evangelical and new churches, estimated at more than 25% of Christians worldwide, within the ecumenical movement. More

Younger theologians: Keep in mind the realities of life

5 August 2004 - Pleasure at seeing theological studies on issues like peace and violence as well as gender and sexuality located next to classic studies on baptism and ecclesiology was expressed by nine "younger theologians" in a message to the Faith and Order plenary commission meeting in Kuala Lumpur, 28 July - 6 August, 2004. More

Middle East church leaders respond to Iraq bombings: solidarity and work for peace needed

2 August 2004 - Middle Eastern church leaders have condemned attacks on Iraqi churches and called for solidarity following bombings at churches yesterday. More

The power of the Gospel for the Two-Thirds world

2 August 2004 - A Malaysian theologian pointed scholars to evidence from the grassroots of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in and for the Two-Thirds world at the opening of the 11th Quadrennial Conference of the International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS). More

Nature and Mission of the church: the "BEM" of the 21st century?

31 July 2004 - This document "will become a major ecumenical instrument for the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer" for the unity of Christian believers, stated Metropolitan Dr Gennadios of Sassima from the Ecumenical Patriarchate today as he introduced the study "The nature and mission of the church" to the World Council of Churches (WCC) plenary commission on Faith and Order. More

Call to costly acceptance

29 July 2004 - Paul's call to Christians to receive each other is a call to move beyond the boundaries of our security, according to a major presentation given today to the WCC Faith and Order Commission, meeting in Kuala Lumpur 28 July - 6 August. More

Protest as Mel Gibson's film shown only to Christians

29 July 2004 - "The general secretary of the Council of Churches in Malaysia has criticized the decision by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board’s to restrict the showing of Mel Gibson’s film "The Passion of the Christ" only to Christians. More

The other as a gift, not a threat

29 July 2004 - The Christian concept of pilgrimage was chosen as the main image to convey the meaning of the work of the Faith and Order commission by its former director Rev. Dr Alan Falconer in his report to the plenary commission meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 28 July to 6 August, 2004. More

Focusing on visible unity, Faith and Order work has to be meaningful to the churches, its moderator says

28 July 2004 - "Keeping the focus on visible unity, making its work more meaningful to the life of the churches and helping to overcome denominationalism are the three main challenges before the Faith and Order commission at the beginning of the 21st century, according to its moderator Rev. Dr David K. Yemba. More