Language to nourish the vision


The following terms appear frequently:
Full Visible Unity - all Churches united in a visible way.
Visible Unity - some Churches united in a visible way.
Steps on the Way to Unity - a gradual process, with each agreed step being distinct, yet related and consistent e.g.

     Church leaders/representatives;
     Churches of the county or equivalent; 
     Local Covenants - non-formal and also as LEPs,
       (Congregations in Covenanted Partnership); 
     Anglican-Methodist Covenant

     Reconciled Diversity: 
     With Churches distinct, yet related


The Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry Report of the World Council of Churches
(see A Dozen Key Books - Note 10) has encouraged Churches to see ordained ministry as having three complementary expressions:

• As personal - focussing ministry on an individual
• As collegial - clergy as a group, with a corporate life
• As communal - clergy within the whole body of the Church.

This terminology appears in a number of other ecumenical reports and agreements. However, the interaction between the three expressions varies between Churches - a reminder that Churches behave and respond differently. Some are primarily communal; others emphasise the personal; and most would aim to be collegial in their expression of ministry.

These differences explain why church leaders vary in their ability to deliver decisions. Recognising the reasons for this can ease frustration, and eventually create secure decision making.

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