Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > JWG > Fourth Official Rep. | CONT. > Part III


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   PART I - select
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Part III
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       (JOINT PROGRAMS) - select
       (CONCLUSION) - select



a) Continuation of the Joint Working Group

    There continues to be the need for a forum enabling the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches to evaluate together the development of the ecumenical movement. Therefore, a joint group with continuity of membership and sufficient breadth of representation from both sides should be appointed. As an instrument of the parent bodies it will be in close contact with them and accountable to them.

b) The Functions of the Joint Working Group

    The Joint Working Group will primarily aim at discovering and assessing promising new possibilities for ecumenical development. It has the task of stimulating the discussion on the ecumenical movement in being a challenge to the parent bodies by proposing new steps and programs.

    The Joint Working Group will endeavor to interpret the major streams of ecumenical thought and action in the Roman Catholic Church and in the member churches of the World Council of Churches. It will facilitate the exchange of information about the progress of the ecumenical movement, especially at the local level.

    The Joint Working Group will seek to establish the collaboration between the various organs and programs of the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. In accordance with the principles and procedures of the parent bodies it should encourage the genuine development of any ecumenical collaboration. It should draw upon the insights gained from local experience to foster such collaboration. As in the past, it will remain a consultative group, not an operative agency. It may be empowered by the parent bodies to develop and administer programs it has proposed when this is called for.

    As the joint Working Group seems to initiate and help keep alive the discussion on the implications of the ecumenical movement in the Roman Catholic Church and in member churches of the World Council of Churches, it will seek the best means of communicating its findings and recommendations.

    An essential aspect of its task is to share its findings with its parent bodies.

c) Expanded Relationship

    The Joint Working Group will be in contact with a large number and range of ecumenical organizations and programs, especially on the local level. It may call upon various offices and programs of the parent bodies for assistance when special help is needed in certain areas in the process of collaboration. It will also seek information and advice from individuals and organizations which have particular ecumenical experience and competence.

d) Flexible Style

    As the joint Working Group seeks to meet the needs of the churches, the style of collaboration must be kept flexible. It must be adaptable to the various and changing needs. Therefore, it will seek to keep new structures to a minimum, while concentrating on ad hoc initiatives, as they are required by the actual developments within the ecumenical movement. On occasion, of course, particular projects may call for some structural organization which will be set up after due authorization. Flexibility of style does not mean unplanned activity or lack of accountability. It rather means more careful attention to the setting of priorities and to the use of resources.

e) Suggested Structures

    On the basis of these general considerations the following is proposed:

1) The Joint Working Group shall be a group of approximately sixteen members, some of whom shall be chosen from the staff of the World Council of Churches and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (and other organs of the Curia).

2) The Joint Working Group will normally meet once a year. Further, enlarged meetings could be held on occasion to deal with specific issues. Such meetings may be arranged to coincide with some important regional event when this is judged useful.

3) A small Executive Group of six members shall be responsible for the ongoing work between meetings and for preparing the meetings of the Joint Working Group.

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