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My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The World Council of Churches

The Resolution of the IV All-Diaspora Council of ROCOR referenced in the previous posts contains a critical mention of the Moscow Patriarchate's continued participation in the World Council of Churches (WCC).

Some may be unfamiliar with the WCC and its activities.

Here are sections from their website on what the WCC says it is, a history of the WCC and the Constitution of the WCC.

Here is a section on Member Churches of the WCC which contains the following on Orthodox participation:

The Orthodox churches have been part of the WCC from its beginning. Along the way, they have raised certain questions about WCC positions and practices. In response to these questions, the eighth assembly in December 1998 created a Special Commission to address Orthodox concerns about WCC membership and the Council's decision-making style, public statements, worship practices and other issues.

The Commission's report was received in 2002 and key recommendations will go to the WCC's next (2006) assembly for approval. Its main recommendations relate to:- the centrality of ecclesiology: the Commission reminded WCC member churches that their commitment to the fellowship of churches implies a corresponding commitment to the study of ecclesiology, or what it means to be the church; - praying together: having affirmed the need to pray together, the Commission suggested that worship at WCC gatherings like assemblies, central committee meetings and other large-profile meetings be clearly defined as either "confessional" or "interconfessional" common prayer;- taking decisions: the Council is to move from majority rule to a "consensus" form of decision-making.

The Commission also challenged the WCC to design new categories of membership through which churches may participate in the Council.

The Commission's suggestions and recommendations provide WCC member churches with new opportunities for growing together. The period until the 2006 assembly will allow the Council to test how these recommendations would work in practice.

The full Special Commission Report on Orthodox participation can be read here.

More information on the 9th Assembly of the WCC held earlier this year can be found here.

An Orthodox critique of the 8th Assembly of the WCC can be found here.

More information on Orthodox criticism of the Ecumenical Movement can be found on the Ecumenism Awareness page of the Orthodox Christian Information Center. Some specific articles of interest from this site can be found here.

For further information and materials from Orthodox who support involvement in the WCC see here.


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