Quaker Theology #9 -- Fall-Winter 2003
The Church: Called, Gathered, and Faithful
a response to
The Nature and Purpose of the Church:
A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement
(World Council of Churches
Faith and Order Paper No. 181, Nov. 1998)
by Friends United Meeting Ecumenical Task Group
Friends United Meeting commits itself to energize and equip Friends through the power of the Holy Spirit to gather people into fellowships where Jesus Christ is known, loved, and obeyed as Teacher and Lord.
– Friends United Meeting Mission Statement
Editor’s Note: The World Council’s Faith and Order Commission has been sponsoring ecumenical dialogue on the nature of the church since its initial gathering in 1927. Three Friends were present at this first conference, and Quakers have been part of its work continuously since then.
The main purpose of the study, The Nature and Purpose of the Church, published in 1998, is to give expression to what the churches can now say together about the nature and purpose of the Church and within that perspective to state the remaining areas of disagreement. Churches The Faith and Order Commission invited churches, commissions, colleges, institutes, and individuals to reflect on the text, and to identify areas of convergence, difference, and what issues may have been omitted.
Although there are many areas in which the diverse communities of Friends might differ from the text in its present draft, most yet affirm, in their various ways, that in God's design the Church exists, not for itself alone, but to serve in God's work of reconciliation and for the praise and glory of God.
In 2001 FGC prepared a response to this draft, which can be found on the web at:
The FUM response is being published here at the request of its sponsors. Issues involving the nature of the church, or ecclesiology, are one of our continuing concerns as a journal and forum for discussion among Friends and other interested persons.
The full text of The Nature and Purpose of the Church can be ordered from the WCC U.S. distribution center by calling 1-800-944-6190. It is also online at: