WCC Previews 2013 Christian Unity Statement: Church is 'Foretaste of the New Creation'

(Photo Credit: World Council of Churches)Alice Fabian, of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, speaks at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, Greece on August 30, 2012. Fabian is a member of the World Council of Churches group drafting a statement of Christian Unity that will be presented at the group's 10th Assembly in the fall of 2013 in Busan, Repbulic of Korea.

The World Council of Churches has given a preview of its statement on Christian Unity intended for the group's 10th assembly next year.

The statement, which was developed at the request of the group's Central Committee in 2011, will be presented in Busan, Republic of Korea in during the meeting which starts in late October 2013.

Snippets of the statement released Monday portray the church as a "foretaste of the new creation," called to be a "sign to the whole world of the life god intends for all."

The statement also calls the church an instrument for "spreading the good news of God's kingdom of justice, peace and love."

It includes a reflection on experience, highlighting the tension between hope and despair in the world, and a similar dynamic of celebration and sorrow in the churches.

The draft also urges affirmation of God's gift of unity and a renewed response to the call to make this unity more visible in the church and all creation.

The committee is meeting from August 28 to September 5 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolympari, Greece, at the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Constantinople.

The Central Committee is the main decision-making body of the WCC between assemblies. This is the fifth and final meeting of the committee elected in February 2006 at the 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Dame Mary Tanner, WCC president from Europe and moderator of the drafting group on the unity statement, outlined the document's vision.

"We have come to understand something of a holistic vision of unity and the need to go on with a holistic agenda – an agenda where the different parts always challenge and illuminate on another and contribute to a wider biblical vision of unity."

She said this is the "learning from the ecumenical journeys" which needs to be "said again in our generation."

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