The Churches in Dialogue Commission of the Conference of European Churches held a Consultation on “Visions of unity in our churches – points of convergence” at Ráday College, Budapest from 22-23 June 2011.
“With the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the witness of Holy Scripture and as expressed in the ecumenical Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381, we believe in the Triune God: Father Son and Holy Spirit. Because we here confess ‘one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’, our paramount ecumenical task is to show forth this unity which is always a gift of God”. (Charta Oecumenica 1)
The task of the consultation was to try to discern points of convergence in the conception of the unity of the Church as the main goal of the ecumenical movement. Five papers were presented on the positions of different traditions regarding visions of unity and points of convergence: the perspectives presented were by: Dr Walter Klaiber (Methodist); Dr Martyn Davie (Anglican); Revd Prof. Dr Viorel Ionita (Orthodox); Prof. Dr Annemarie C. Mayer (Roman Catholic); and Prof. Dr Friederike Nüssel (Lutheran/Reformed).
From these papers eight points of convergence were identified:
- The Unity of the Church is from God, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Unity demands expression in live and mission.
- Between ecclesial and Eucharistic community there is an organic link.
- Christian identities are rich gifts of God to be shared with each other.
- The Search for unity always exists in a particular context.
- ‘One Holy Catholic and Apostolic’ is the starting point of the theological reflection on unity.
- The unity of the Church also requires both conciliar fellowship and mutual reception of conciliar decisions by the churches.
- Using the same terms does not always lead to or reflect common understanding.
The report ends by urging the churches to commit themselves “to follow the Apostolic exhortation of the letter to the Ephesians and persevere in seeking a common understanding of Christ’s message of salvation in the Gospel; in the power of the Holy Spirit, to work towards the visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the one Faith, expressed in the mutual recognition of baptism and in Eucharistic fellowship as well as in common witness and service”. (Charta Oecumenica 1)