Faith and Order marks 75th anniversary

 — May 10, 200210 mai 2002

Faith and Order marks 75th anniversary
Celebrations to be held in Switzerland on 25 August 2002

The first meeting of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches
(WCC), held in Lausanne on 3 August 1927, had very high hopes. Participants believed that
the goal of visible unity of the churches was really attainable.

The preacher at the time, Bishop Charles Brent of the Protestant Episcopal Church of
the US, reminded the representatives of the churches of Christ’s hope “that they
might all be one”.

“The 75th anniversary of that meeting in Lausanne on 25 August this year provides
an opportunity to call the churches once again to the goal of visible unity,” says
the present director of the WCC’s Faith and Order Commission Rev. Dr Alan Falconer.

The 1927 meeting took place when memories of the first world war were still fresh.
“In 2002, in a deeply divided world, the call to unity assumes even greater urgency
if the church is to provide an alternative of reconciliation between peoples and with
God,” Falconer explains.

During the 75 years, Faith and Order has encouraged the search for unity on a number of
levels. For parishes, it provides worship materials and brings local communities together
for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, that serves to stimulate a vision of
the church as wider than the local parish.

Secondly, it brings churches who are seeking to unite, into dialogue, facilitating the
exchange of information on church union negotiations and bilateral dialogues, and bringing
people together for common reflection. The results of Faith and Order dialogues have
become the basis for many agreements for changed relationships among churches.

“The patient work of dialogue in and through Faith and Order leads to conversion
to inclusiveness and communion. It is essential for the witness of the church,” says

The anniversary celebrations will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, on the afternoon
of Sunday 25 August. They will begin with the laying of a wreath on the grave of Bishop
Charles Brent, who had been so inspired by the visions spelled out in Lausanne in 1927,
especially as they were manifested in the local churches, that he later chose to spend his
retirement there.

There will be a convocation with a number of presentations on the work, impact and
future of Faith and Order, and the celebrations will culminate in an ecumenical service of
celebration in Lausanne’s cathedral.

Arrangements for the celebrations are in the hands of a local committee of
representatives of church communities in the Canton of Vaud, Switzerland, as well as of
Faith and Order staff.

The WCC Central Committee is due to meet in Geneva the following week. Thus all WCC
officers, Executive Committee and many Central Committee members will be present, ensuring wide international representation in the celebrations.

The celebrations will include significant Roman Catholic participation. “Since
1968, the Roman Catholic Church has been a full member of the Faith and Order Commission.
They had already participated in two earlier Faith and Order world conferences (Lund 1952
and Montreal 1963). Their participation has always been intense and they have played a
seminal role in Faith and Order since that time,” Falconer reports.

The local Lausanne ecumenical committee will hold a preliminary PRESS CONFERENCE on Tuesday 14 May 2002 at 1130hrs at the Maison du dialogue L’Arzillier, Av de Rumine 62, Lausanne Contact: Pastor Martin Hoegger: tel: 0041 21 635 9708; mobile 0041 79

The WCC will hold a press conference in Geneva before the August
celebrations. Details to be announced later.

Sunday, 25 August 2002

75th anniversary of the first world conference of the
Commission of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches
held in Lausanne, 3 August 1927

1500hrs – Wreath-laying at the grave of Bishop Charles Brent of the Episcopal
Church of the USA. Bishop Brent preached the sermon at the first Faith and Order
conference. He later retired to live in Lausanne. The short ceremony will be attended by
officers and staff of the present Faith and Order Commission. (Cimetière du Bois de Vaux, route de Chavannes 2, Lausanne)

1600hrs – Presentations on the work, impact and future of Faith and Order,
including a presentation by a young theologian, Anastasia Vassiliadou of the Church of
Greece. (Aula of the University of Lausanne, Aula du Palais de Rumine, Place de la Riponne,

1800hrs – Ecumenical service of celebration and thanksgiving for the work of the
Faith and Order movement. The preacher will be His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of
Tirana, Durres and all Albania. (Lausanne cathedral, place de la Cathédrale, Lausanne)

Contact people:
Local ecumenical committee:
Pastor Martin Hoegger: tel: 0041 21 635 9708; mobile: 0041 79 7744 149, e-mail:

WCC Faith and Order:
Rev Dr Alan Falconer: tel: 0041 22 791 6337, e-mail:

WCC media relations:
Rev. Bob Scott:, Public Information Team, tel: 0041 22 791 6166; mobile 0041 79 304 7612,

For more information contact:
Media Relations Office
tel: (+41 22) 791 64 21 / (+41 22) 791 61 53

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