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Porto Alegre 2006: Called to be the One Church: Ecumenism beyond its Crisis?

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From 9-23 February 2006 the World Council of Churches held its 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brasil with the theme God, in your grace, transform the world. It gathered in an atmosphere of crisis in the ecumenical movement, caused by global political and religious developments, post-modern thinking on the value of plurality and difference and by the slow reception of ecumenical agreements. The Assembly, though, became a sign of hope beyond the ecumenical crisis. Its reflections and proposals on Globalisation and economic injustice, on Christian identity and religious plurality and on Church Unity and the Mission of the Church demonstrate a matured ecumenical and ecclesiological awareness, strengthened by a new method of decision-making by consensus. The document Called to be the one Church might be seen as the constitutional basis for a reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement and as a refinement of the Toronto Declaration of 1950. It formulates a matrix of catholicity and of a legitimate diversity of church forms within an essential convergence about its structures of continuity and mission.

Affiliations: 1: Intercultural Theology, Faculty of Theology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


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