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The Church: God's Gift to the World -- on the Nature and Purpose of the Church (*).


Impulses for the study on "The Nature and Purpose of the Church"

In the responses of the churches to the Faith and Order study Baptism, Eucharist, Ministry (BEM), many church commissions detected that there had been an implicit ecclesiology, and called for a more explicit and focused study on the church. (1) While BEM itself had not specifically addressed the nature, purpose or form of the church, affirmations in each section of the statement about the church led readers to suggest that a baptismal or eucharistic ecclesiology was an implicit framework for the text, and that the threefold ministry as evident in some Christian traditions was being proposed as a sine qua non of the church.

In the light of those reactions, the Plenary Commission on Faith and Order, meeting in Budapest in 1989, proposed that the overall programme of Faith and Order (F&O) should focus on "The Nature and Mission of the Church - Ecumenical Perspectives of Ecclesiology". (2) The commission felt that such a study might provide a coherent and comprehensive ecclesiological framework for the studies on BEM, apostolic faith, and unity and renewal being undertaken by the commission. The study might also respond to some of the critical comments to BEM, and could draw on the increasing ecumenical discussions on the understanding of the church evident in a number of international bilateral dialogues. (3) The recommendation was that previous work on the topic be brought into consideration alongside that on koinonia, which was the subject of a number of bilateral dialogues, to provide basic ecumenical perspectives on ecclesiology which could serve as an impetus for the renewal and enrichment of the ecclesiologies of the differe nt Christian traditions, and thus for their convergence in the movement towards visible unity. Various themes for the development of the study were suggested - the church as the body of Christ, the temple of the Spirit, the people of God, the kingdom of God and the covenant. The intention was therefore not to develop a detailed ecclesiological system or even an "ecumenical ecclesiology".

The commission also found itself seeking to articulate for the Canberra assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) a statement on "The Church as koinonia: Gift and Calling". This statement, which was adopted at the assembly after a number of emendations, had been a response to a request from the central committee of the WCC. The statement begins with a reflection on the purpose of the church, rooted in the action of the Holy Trinity. It notes that the unity of the church to which we are called is a koinonia given and expressed in faith, worship, ministry and life, and then identifies a number of common actions which might help the churches to realize more faithfully the character and purposes of the church. (4)

A further reflection on koinonia also emerged from a series of essays published by the Joint Working Group between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church. This was designed as an interpretative study on the Canberra text, setting it in the context of previous ecumenical statements on unity. It was also to be a contribution to the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order in Santiago de Compostela, August 1993. (5)

After the Canberra assembly, the major work undertaken by the F&O Commission was the organization of the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order. This was the first such conference for thirty years, and also the first to draw on the fruits of full Roman Catholic participation in the ecumenical movement. The major theme was that of koinonia, and the conference sought to reflect on the theological and biblical understanding of koinonia, and on koinonia in faith, life and witness. A preparatory discussion paper was prepared and examined in a number of regional conferences. (6) The conference itself explored the importance of an understanding of the Holy Trinity for an understanding of koinonia, and called for a study on the nature of the church -- a community confessing the one faith to God's glory, sharing sacramental and ministerial life, and engaging in common witness. (7)

In the light of these impulses, the F&O Standing Commission in 1994 began a process of study and reflection on "The Nature and Purpose of the Church".

Faith and Order reflections on the church

The question of the nature of the church has been on the agenda of Faith and Order since its First World Conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1927.

In the first stage of the ecumenical movement as the churches sought to move from a situation of competition with each other, and to move towards acceptance of each other's existence and co-existence, they adopted an approach which was at root "comparative". Churches compared their stances on doctrinal questions with each other. Thus, in the early F&O conferences a comparative approach to the church was evident. Each tradition presented papers on its confessional understanding of the subject. In Lausanne, papers were presented by His Beatitude Chrysostom (Greece), Dr Parkes Cadman (Congregational-- USA), Rt Rev. Dr Alexander Raffey (Lutheran-Hungary), Dr Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze (Evangelical Lutheran -- Germany), Dr H.B. Workman (Methodist -- UK), Prof. Femand Menegoz (Lutheran -- France), Metropolitan Stefan (Orthodox -- Bulgaria). The Second World Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1937 reflected on "The Church of Christ and the Word of God", using a similar methodology. (8) The same method was also i n evidence at the Third World Conference on Faith and Order in Lund, Sweden, in 1952. Papers on "The Nature of the Church" were presented on behalf of the Church of Rome (Dr Newton Flew), and from the Greek Orthodox Church, the German and Scandinavian Lutheran churches, the Reformed churches in Scotland and other European countries, the Church of England, Old Catholic Church, Baptists, Congregationalists, Society of Friends, Methodists, Churches of Christ and the Church of South India. While this was a comprehensive comparative approach, it became clear that such a methodology was no longer appropriate. (9) This comparative methodology, however, is at root not a method of dialogue but one of monologue. It can be characterized as "We will accept you as long as you are the same as us, but we will reject you at the points of difference". Edwin Muir phrased this well in his poem, "The Solitary Place":

If there is none else to ask or reply

But I and not I,

And when I stretch Out my hand, my hand comes towards me

To pull me across to me and back to me,

If my own mind, questioning, answers me,

If all that I see

Woman and man and beast and rock and sky,

Is a flat image shut behind an eye,

And only my thoughts can meet me or pass me or follow me,

O then I am alone

I, many and many in one

A lost player upon a hill. (10)

With our own perspectives as the only acceptable positions, it was possible only to affirm the status quo -- "the solitary place". The comparative method evident in doctrinal and church and society discussions in the first phase of the ecumenical movement moved interchurch relations from conflict, competition, and co-existence to comparative acceptance. However, it was evident that such a method could not effect real relationship -- communion. At Lund, therefore, a different methodology was adopted. Theological discussions now proceeded on the basis of an attempt to reach consensus. The conference, as has been noted, received a comprehensive series of confessional papers on the nature of the church. But the conference noted:

We cannot build the one Church by cleverly fitting together our divided inheritances. We can grow together towards fullness and unity in Christ only by being conformed to Him who is the Head of the Body and Lord of His people.

The statement then explored the complementarity of the various understandings, identified the one-sidedness of many approaches, and called the church to reassert its nature as the pilgrim people:

Those who are ever looking backward and have accumulated much previous ecclesiastical baggage will perhaps be shown that pilgrims must travel light and that, if we are to share at last in the great Supper, we must let go much that we treasure...We cannot know all that shall be disclosed to us when together we look to Him who is the Head of the Body. It is easy for us in our several Churches to think of what our separated brethren need to learn. Christ's love will make us more ready to learn what He can teach us through them. (11)

This approach to doctrinal questions was matched also by the attempt to act as churches in a cooperative and consensual manner. The Lund world conference adopted what came to be known as the Lund Principle:

Should not our churches ask themselves whether they are showing sufficient eagerness to enter into conversation with other churches, and whether they should not act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately? (12)

This question addressed to the churches proposed a new relationship between the churches. In fact, it became a methodology adopted in doctrinal and church and society discussions. The comparative methodology began to give way to a consensus methodology. In this, the churches sought to do theology together. They sought together, out of the riches of their confessional traditions, to affirm a common theology. An underlying understanding of the nature of the church was also evident at Lund. The church was described as the pilgrim people of God -- a community that learns from each other on the journey and seeks to discern truth. A first stage in this new method was reached through the attempt by the commission to agree on how to do theology together, the discussion on scripture and tradition at the Fourth World Conference on Faith and Order in Montreal, Canada, in 1963, and subsequent discussions on the interpretation of scripture. (13) On the basis of this agreement on method it has been possible to reach consen sus on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, on the Common Confession of the Apostolic Faith and on a wide variety of doctrinal questions evident in bilateral and multilateral dialogues. The consensus methodology pursued in doctrinal and church and society discussions has encouraged the churches to move beyond the "solitary place".

In the period after the Montreal Faith and Order world conference, while there was no specific study undertaken on the nature and purpose of the church, a number of ecclesiological questions were the subject of discussion, e.g. catholicity. As noted above, however, it became clear after the "Responses to BEM" that it was important that this subject be examined.

The Nature and Purpose of the Church

1. Its framework and method

With this background on the impulses for the study on the nature of the church, and on the methodology of the F&O commission, the work towards a convergence text on ecclesiology began. In the course of four years, three different attempts were made to find an appropriate framework.

In the first attempt, at a consultation in Dublin, Ireland, in 1994, discussions focused on perceived church dividing issues, e.g. apostolicity and catholicity as elements of the life and faith of the church as koinonia; forms of authority and decision-making in the service of the church as koinonia; the place and mission of the church as koinonia in the saving purpose of God. These materials were then placed in a wider framework by a drafting group of the commission in Barbados in November 1994 -- the purpose of God, the church of the triune God, the nature and mission of the church, word, sacrament and ministry, local church and the communion of local churches; church and history, church and kingdom, and an attempt was made to identify converging understandings towards mutual recognition. (14) It became apparent that it was not sufficient to address specific issues on ecclesiology, since it was perceived that a number of assumptions were being made on ecclesiology which were not shared by all the traditions in F&O.

In the attempt to find a wider framework for a convergence text, the drafting group of the commission began to use the Canberra statement on koinonia. In doing this, much of the previous work was adapted to the new framework which was to be a scholion -- to use the term of the late Fr Jean-Marie Tillard -- or memorandum and trajectory drafted on the basis of the Canberra text. This text was presented to the meeting of the Plenary Commission at Moshi, Tanzania, in August 1996. (15) On the basis of discussions there and in subsequent reflections in the drafting group, it was agreed that it was not appropriate to use the Canberra statement as a basis, since it might give the impression either that the text had been adopted at Canberra on the basis of such an understanding, or that the Canberra text provided a sufficient theological outline on ecclesiology.

It was therefore decided to attempt a statement on the church in the style of the BEM methodology, viz. to produce what was felt to be a convergence text, but identifying those questions where it was felt that convergence had still to be reached (material placed in boxes in the report). In all this struggle to find an appropriate framework, the drafters sought to draw on the agreements of international bilateral dialogues, on previous F&O work, on the understanding and images of the church in scripture, and on the other studies being undertaken by the commission, e.g. on hermeneutics, worship and ethics. In particular, two discrete projects were drawn on.

After the Canberra assembly, the F&O commission and the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) stream in the WCC began an exploration of the relation between ecclesiology and ethics. While this was designed to bring those two streams of work in the WCC into closet relationship, the reports of the study process emphasize the rootedness of discipleship in the sacrament of baptism and the Lord's supper, and that ethical engagement is an expression of koinonia. (16) The very existence of the church is such that it is making a statement to society. The study process explored ways in which that statement about and to society is firmly and intentionally rooted in the reflection and life of the Christian community.

Secondly, in the light of the bilateral dialogues, a request was made to the commission by the meeting of representatives of United and Uniting Churches at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, in 1995, that a study on episcope and episcopacy be undertaken. (17) The last such study had been published in 1979 and had made an important contribution to the discussion on ministry in BEM. (18) There, two distinctions had proved to be fruitful - viz. that between apostolic succession and apostolic tradition, and between episcope and episcopacy. However, since that time, a number of bilateral dialogues have considered the question, a number of church unions have been effected and a number of regional ecumenical agreements between, e.g. Anglicans and Lutherans, have come into effect. The consultations on episcope and episcopacy in Strasbourg, therefore, presented a comprehensive account of the state of the question and sought to move forward on the issue. While the papers and consultation reports have been published, the study on the nature and purpose of the church drew on the reports for its own section on the ministry of oversight. (19)

The study paper, then, on The Nature and Purpose of the Church employs a method similar to that used in BEM, draws on previous work undertaken by the F&O commission and the international bilateral dialogues, and incorporates the results of discrete studies on ecclesiology and ethics, and episcope and episcopacy in the quest for the visible unity of the church.

2. The text of the study

The study has six chapters. The first "The Church of the Triune God" explores the nature of the church and God's purpose for the church. In the first part, the major focus is on the church as the creation of the Word and of the Holy Spirit (creatura Verbi et creatura Spiritus), thus emphasizing that the church belongs to God, is created, nourished and sustained by God, and because of God is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. This is further elaborated by an exposition of three central biblical images, which refer to the trinitarian dimension of the church -- the people of God, the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit. None of these images is exclusive but all of them implicitly or explicitly include the other trinitarian dimension as well.

The 'development of the section on God's purpose for the church is rooted in Ephesians 1 and John 17. The church participates in God's mission of healing and reconciliation, and anticipates the new humanity which is God's intention for creation. An examination of this section shows that it draws on bilateral dialogues, e.g. the Reformed-Roman Catholic statement Towards a Common Understanding of the Church and on previous work reflecting on the Canberra statement, and reflects the direction for a statement which the Budapest plenary commission meeting indicated.

The second, and perhaps the most contentious, chapter of the statement focuses on the church in history. This is an attempt to explore the church in its human dimension. The statement declares that the church

is exposed to change, which allows for both positive development and growth as well as for the negative possibility of decline and distortion. It is exposed to individual, cultural and historical conditioning which can contribute to a richness of insights and expressions of faith but also to relativizing tendencies or absolutizing particular views. It is exposed to the Holy Spirit's free use of its power (John 3:8) in illuminating hearts and binding consciences. It is exposed to the power of sin. (20)

In this carefully worded section, the church is described as a historical reality, exposed to the ambiguity of all human history and is thus not yet the community God desires. And yet - the church is called to be the sign and instrument of God's design. The chapter carefully reflects the tension between that which the church is and that which the church is called to become, and elaborates the further questions to be explored as the churches seek to move towards convergence. Of course it is too facile to identify the different approaches as simply stances taken by different confessional traditions. The controversies surrounding the actions and words of Pope John Paul II on reconciliation and his pleas for forgiveness, particularly in the context of the jubilee year celebrations (e.g. 12 March 2000), demonstrate differences of approach within the Christian communions and churches also.

The third chapter discusses the church as koinonia. The rich tapestry of the scriptural understanding is presented and summed up in the following paragraph:

The basic verbal form from which the noun koinonia derives means "to have something in common", "to share", "to participate", "to have part in", "to act together" or "to be in a contractual relationship involving obligations of mutual accountability" (21)

While most of those definitions have appeared in previous discussions on koinonia, the new definition is one which is evident in the New Testament and draws on the business world of contract and of mutual accountability. Koinonia entails and is predicated upon mutual accountability to each other in Christ. Through Christ we are bound to each other, and are involved in a dialogue with each other which invites us to give an account of our stewardship of faith, life and witness. This chapter continues by exploring the relation between unity and diversity, and the church as a communion of local churches. It thus emphasizes the importance of understanding the church as a community that exhibits diverse expressions and experiences, and a community that seeks to express koinonia in a variety of diverse cultural circumstances and geographical locations.

Life in communion is the subject of the fourth chapter of the text. God bestows on the church apostolic faith, baptism and eucharist as means of grace to create and sustain the koinonia, and this koinonia is furthered by structures of ministry, oversight and conciliarity. In this section, the reflections of the commission on apostolic faith, baptism, eucharist and ministry provide the basis of the convergent text, and further questions in each area are identified for future work. The chapter seeks to draw on the convergence evident in the responses of the churches to BEM and to take discussion forward on disputed questions. Thus, the discussion on oversight places the issue in the context of balancing the communal, personal and collegial dimensions of episcope, and notes that in fact the ecumenical movement itself is increasingly leading to a degree of shared oversight in many parts of the world. The chapter points to the importance of conciliarity and primacy but notes that fundamental and basic work needs t o be done on this before any common statements can be attempted.

The fifth chapter of the text examines service in and for the world. For a considerable period of the drafting process, there was a move towards including this in chapter four. For some churches, the marks of the church are that the church is the community of word, sacrament and discipline (cf. the Scots Confession of 1560), where discipline refers to the care of the poor, the refugee, the health of the community and the nurture of the community through education. Thus, certain issues described as ethical may be deemed "status confessionis", e.g. inclusion of all people regardless of race or gender. For many churches, however, the church is the community of word and sacrament, and discipline is an explication of the community formed by the word and nourished by the sacrament. This chapter then explores Christian discipleship as bearing witness to God's reconciling, healing and transforming of creation. This discipleship is based on the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.

The final chapter is an encouragement to churches, communions, councils and theological institutes to examine the text and send their reflections to the commission for a further process of drafting.

3. The continuing process

In 1998, the text was sent widely to churches, councils of churches, and ecumenical and theological institutes for comment. The new Standing Commission identified a twofold process for the continuing work. In the first place, a series of consultations on specific themes is to be held.

While the papers and reports of these will be published separately, their results will be incorporated in a second draft of The Nature and Purpose of the Church. (22) The first of these consultations was held last year in conjunction with the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism in Germany on "Ecclesiology and Mission". The papers and reports appeared in the July issue of the international Review of Mission and the results will also be discussed by the new drafting group on The Nature and Purpose of the Church. This year there will be a consultation on the theme "Does the church have a sacramental nature?", while in 2002 the issue will be "Ministry and Ordination in the Community of Women and Men in the Church". In 2003, "Authority and Authoritative Teaching" will be examined. (23) All of these subjects are topics that appear in the boxes of the 1998 statement on the way to convergence. It is hoped that by focusing on these, progress towards greater agreement will be made.

Concurrently with these consultations, a drafting group will meet annually to re-draft the statement on The Nature and Purpose of the Church in the light of the responses received. Some fifteen responses from churches (mainly Reformed or Presbyterian), councils, theological institutes and individuals have been received, although it is known that other responses are being finalized -- including one through the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. They will be seriously examined and, where appropriate, adjustments to the text will be made. It is also anticipated that it will be possible to discern how far the agreement reflects a convergence and how far the material of the boxes -- where a diversity of views still seems to be evident -- reflects diversity, and how far it identifies differences.

The church -- God's poem

Why engage in this theological work? Why is it important to reach an agreement on the nature and purpose of the church, and move into a new relationship of unity? Throughout the New Testament a variety of images of the church emphasize that the unity of the community in God is central to what it means to be church. The New Testament scholar, Paul Minear, has identified some eighty-five such images. (24) In doing so, he has missed one -- tucked away in Ephesians 2:10!

Most translations of this New Testament verse speak of us being "God's handiwork". The original Greek, however, simply says we are God's poem. Let me emphasize the force of "we". The author is not saying we as individuals are God's poem but that the community of the baptized -- the community of those centred "in Christ" -- is God's poem.

One of the most perceptive analysts of the nature of poetry is the Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. Throughout his life, Heaney has sought to reflect on the nature of his art but he has brought his insights to a particular focus in recent years. This is evident in his Nobel lecture, entitled "Crediting Poetry", and his published lectures -- "The Redress of Poetry" -- which he delivered as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. (25) Without attempting to give a detailed analysis of his work, let me pick up a few insights on the nature of a poem, which can help us to understand our text.

First of all, Seamus Heaney credits poetry with its "truth to life". It is a form of art related to our existence as citizens of society, particular to its time and place; it may also illuminate other times and other places. The poem portrays life as it is. Over the years, as I have travelled to take part in consultations in different parts of the world, I have tried to make it a practice -- not always successfully -- to explore a volume of collected poems (in translation!) of the country to which I am travelling. The poems reveal the issues facing the society. They celebrate the identity of the people. They convey the ethos and the atmosphere of the community. They give a glimpse of life as it is.

Secondly, poems can highlight the imbalance in a society. They can point to that which needs to be corrected. The first articulation of the abuse of power leading to a claim for human rights arises in the cry of the poets. Before any wider discussion of human rights issues by social scientists, ethicists or lawyers takes place, the poet has identified an issue which dehumanizes people -- an issue which shows an imbalance in society and which needs to be redressed. It is this function of the poem, which Seamus Heaney emphasizes as "the redress of poetry", which he defines as "setting a person, group or society upright again, raising them to an erect position -- setting up, restoring, reestablishing".

Thirdly, through this art of redress, the poet crafts a vehicle of and for harmony and unity. The poem becomes an act of integration within a context of division and contradiction. Through the poem there is a glimpsed alternative -- a potential which is denied or threatened is presented.

The poem, then, portrays life as it is -- in its very essence and complexity -- points to the imbalance in community, and presents a glimpsed alternative to division and contradiction -- becoming a vehicle of harmony. The poem presents the interconnectedness of human life and provides a statement to show the world as it really is.

There is another aspect of the nature of the poem, which is identified in a poem by the Australian poet, James McAuley. In his "An Art of Poetry", which is written to Professor Vincent Buckley, a pioneer critic of Australian poetry, he wrote:

Let your literal figures shine

With pure transparency:

Not in opaque but limpid walls

Lie truth and mystery. ....

Only the simplest forms can hold

A vast complexity. (26)

The poem is a vehicle of transparent communication -- not obscure, opaque or convoluted -- but simple, obvious and easily grasped. Indeed, James McAuley invites the poem to be a contemporary expression of God's teaching in Jesus of Nazareth. The poem reflects God's communication with humankind.

The author of the Letter to the Ephesians, then, is pointing us to a very important metaphor for understanding our nature and vocation as the church. It is important to emphasize what the writer is not saying. He is not saying that we are God's poets or poet. God is the author of the poem. The poem is the message and the messenger. It is an expression of the vulnerability of God -- of the cost-liness of the love of God. The poem is conflictual. It challenges the values of the addressees -- disturbing, probing, and inviting the hearer into the wider horizon of interdependence with others. The poem is likely to be tossed aside -- rejected.

We are God's poem -- the community of the baptized -- the community "in Christ" -- who reflect God's design for humankind by showing our dependence on God, by living our dependence and interdependence with each other, by acting thereby as a glimpsed alternative to contradiction and division, and thus exposing in our solidarity and accountability to each other the imbalances in our society and in our global village.

That is our calling -- yet the divisions of the church inhibit our being God's poem. We live and show that we are not a glimpsed alternative of the world as God intends but rather reflect the very divisions and contradictions of the world.

As God's poem we are to live the truth to life which seeks to interpret our world and to transform it in the light of God's design.

We are God's poem created in Jesus Christ for the life

...which God designed for us.

We are God's poem --

Called to live as God's hymn of praise.

This is the call and challenge of seeking to reach convergence on our understanding of the nature and purpose of the church as a stage on the way to becoming the community God intends.

(*.) This article is the text of a public lecture delivered at the Centro Pro Unione, Rome. It has also appeared in the Centro Pro Unione bi-annual Bulletin (N. 59 - Spring 2001, pp. 23-29). We are grateful to Dr Giacomo Puglisi, the director of the centre, for permission to publish it here.

(**.) Rev. Dr Alan D. Falconer is director of the Faith and Order Commission, World Council of Churches.


(1.) See Thurian, Max, ed., Churches Respond to BEM, Vols I-VI, Geneva, WCC, 1986-1988.

(2.) See Best, Thomas, ed., Faith and Order 1985-1989, The Commission Meeting at Budapest 1989, Geneva, WCC, 1990, p. 202ff, and p. 216ff, Faith and Order Paper No. 148.

(3.) See Meyer, Harding and Vischer, Lukas, eds, Growth in Agreement, Geneva, WCC, 1984, Faith and Order Paper No. 108; and Gros, Jeffrey; Meyer, Harding and Rusch, William, eds, Growth in Agreement II, Geneva, WCC, 2000, for the reports of the various dialogues, Faith and Order Paper No. 187.

(4.) In Gros, J. et al., Growth in Agreement II, op. cit., p. 937ff.

(5.) Gassmann, Gunther and Radano, John, eds, The Unity of the Church as Koinonia, Ecumenical Perspectives on the 1991 Canberra Statement on Unity, Geneva, WCC, 1993, Faith and Order Paper No. 163.

(6.) Towards Koinonia in Faith, Life and Witness: A Discussion Paper, Geneva, WCC, 1993, Faith and Order Paper No. 161; and Best, Thomas and Gassmann, Gunther, eds, Regional Consultations in Preparation for the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order: Summary Reports, Faith and Order Paper No. 163, Geneva, WCC, 1993.

(7.) See Best, Thomas and Gassmann, Gunther, eds, On the Way to Fuller Koinonia: Official Report of the Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order, Geneva, WCC, 1994, Faith and Order Paper No. 166.

(8.) See Bates, H. N., ed., Faith and Order: Proceedings of the World Conference. Lausanne 1927, New York, George H. Doran Co., 1927; Hodgson, Leonard, ed., The Second World Conference on Faith and Order: Edinburgh 1937, New York, Macmillan, 1938.

(9.) Flew, Newton R., ed., The Nature of the Church: Papers presented to the Theological Commission appointed by the Continuation Committee of the World Conference on Faith and Order, London, SCM, 1952.

(10.) Muir, Edwin, Collected Poems, London, Faber, 1960, p. 81.

(11.) Tomkins, Oliver, ed., The Third World Conference on Faith and Order, Lund 1952, London, SCM, 1953, p. 20f.

(12.) Ibid.

(13.) Sec Rodger, P.C. and Vischer, Lukas, eds, The Fourth World Conference on Faith and Order: The Report from Montreal 1963, London, SCM, 1964, and Flesseman-van Leer, Ellen, ed., The Bible: Its Authority and Interpretation in the Ecumenical Movement, Geneva, WCC, 1980.

(14.) See the Minutes of the Meeting of the Faith and Order Standing Commission, Aleppo, Geneva, WCC, 1994, Faith and Order Paper No. 170.

(15.) See Falconer, Alan, ed., Faith and Order in Moshi: The 1996 Commission Meeting, Geneva, WCC, 1998, pp. 97-114 and pp. 232-263, Faith and Order Paper No. 177.

(16.) See Best, Thomas and Robra, Martin, eds, Ecclesiology and Ethics: Ecumenical Ethical Engagement, Moral Formation and the Nature of the Church, Geneva, WCC, 1997.

(17.) See Best, Thomas, ed., Built Together: The Present Vocation of United and Uniting Churches, Geneva, WCC, 1996, Faith and Order Paper No. 174.

(18.) Episkope and Episcopate in Ecumenical Perspective, Geneva, WCC, 1980, Faith and Order Paper No. 102.

(19.) Bouteneff, Peter and Falconer, Alan, eds, Episcope and Episcopacy and the Quest for Visible Unity, Geneva, WCC, 1999, Faith and Order Paper No. 183.

(20.) The Nature and Purpose of the Church: A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement, Geneva, WCC, 1998, p. 18, [section] 37, Faith and Order Paper No. 181.

(21.) Ibid., p. 25 [section] 52.

(22.) See Minutes of the Faith and Order Board, Toronto 1999, Geneva, WCC, 1999, p. 87f, Faith and Order Paper No. 185.

(23.) See Minutes of tile Standing Commission on Faith and Order, Matanzas, Cuba 2000, Faith and Order Paper No. 188.

(24.) Minear, Paul, Images of the Church in the New Testament, Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1960.

(25.) "Crediting Poetry" in Heaney, Seamus, Opened Ground: Poems 1966-96, London, Faber, 1998, p. 445ff; and The Redress of Poetry, New York, Farrar, Strass and Giroux, 1995.

(26.) MeAuley, James, Collected Poems, Melbourne, Angus and Robertson, 1971, p. 70f.
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Author:Falconer, Alan D.
Publication:International Review of Mission
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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