Walk together to the nursery

Ecumenical Hopes and Expectations for 2022

As we come to the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the meditations of the Middle East Council of Churches remind us that we never really “conclude” this prayer! We pray unceasingly for unity, as Christ prayed for his disciples to be one. It is through our fervent, constant and global prayer that we enter more fully into this mystery of communion which is the Church.

Nor does the work for unity cease. Even though COVID has slowed down activities, with many meetings postponed, the LWF and its ecumenical partners continue to find ways to move forward. We sincerely hope that 2022 will be a year when face-to-face international dialogue meetings can once again take place. The Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue Commission has been postponed twice and we are now considering a possible meeting in the second half of 2022. The Lutheran-Pentecostal Dialogue Group has been busy completing its report and we are hoping for an in-person meeting for the finalize in the fall of 2022.

In the meantime, work is also continuing online. The Lutheran-Roman Catholic Study Group on the Excommunication of Martin Luther has compiled several documents and plans to meet this spring to define next steps towards a Common Word to be presented to the LWF Thirteenth General Assembly in Krakow, in Poland, in 2023.

The Religious Liberty Study Group—composed of theologians from the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the LWF—began to explore the complexities of the right to religious freedom and belief. If COVID permits, a conference on the subject will be held at the end of November in Germany. This study group lives in the Witness of Wittenbergsigned between the WCRC and the LWF in 2017, committing us in particular to renewing the imagination of what it might mean to be the Church in communion (point 5).

Acceptance and implementation

An internal study group also took over the work of the trilateral report (Baptism and Incorporation into the Body of Christ, the Church) which addressed a number of challenges to the three partners – Lutheran, Mennonite and Roman Catholic. Challenges to Lutherans are at the center of this group as they explore the connection between baptism, catechesis and a life of service, while exploring the many dimensions of a renewed theology of the child.

The Steering Committee of the Anglican Lutheran International Commission on Unity and Mission (ALICUM) has been working online for two years. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to meeting in person this year to initiate the work of reception, bringing together local Bishops for the implementation of the many agreements reached between the Anglican Communion and the LWF.

The work of receiving and implementing consensus statements remains crucial, as indicated in the LWF Commitments on the Ecumenical Path to Church Fellowship. The many ecumenical documents drawn up over the years point us towards this unity which is the gift of God. But we are also called to go ever further in this gift, living this unity in a way that is already possible now. This calling is both a joy and a challenge, requiring continuous self-examination and inner conversion. As the Magi walked to the manger guided by the star, we walk together, supporting each other, seeking together, keeping our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ.

MECC Resources

Comments are closed.