The Unity and Relationships Commission (formerly Faith & Order) is made up of 12 representatives representing WCC member and observer judicatories. It meets quarterly. The many New Testament texts that speak about the importance of the Church’s unity for its mission of reconciliation in the world provide the inspiration for the work of the Commission. One of the most important of these is Jesus’ prayer on the night of his arrest, found in John 17. On that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that all who would ever believe in him would be perfectly one as he and the Father are one, so that the world would believe his message of God’s love.
The Commission keeps abreast of the most important national and international dialogues leading to greater unity within the Church. These include the Roman Catholic/Lutheran Joint Declaration on Justification, the Call to Common Mission proposal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopal Church, the Formula of Agreement between the ELCA and the three Reformed Churches and developments among the COCU Churches. Working with the judicatories, the Commission encourages discussion and implementation of these agreements on the state and local levels.
Believing that prayer is the soul of the ecumenical movement, the Commission also encourages ecumenical worship and prayer. Each year it promotes observances of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) in the churches or Wisconsin and distributes resources for use in these observances. It also holds an annual School of Prayer. This one-day event familiarizes participants with some of the various ways of praying that have long existed in the Christian community, some of which are not widely known.
In addition to its work promoting unity and renewal in the Church, the Commission participates in and encourages dialogue with other religions. For more information contact Rev. Kerri Parker.