- The Early Stages: Pre-1910
- Laying the Foundations: 1910–1948
- Pivotal Years: 1948–1965
- Intense Activity: 1965–1990
- Consolidation and Challenge: 1990—Present
- Pentecostal and Charismatic
- Faith and Order
- World Council of Churches
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Bilateral Dialogues
- Chevetogne, Taizé, and the Groupe des Dombes
- United and Uniting Churches
- Regional and National Councils of Churches
- Interchurch Families
- Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
- Global Christian Forum
- Britain and Ireland
- United States of America
- Latin America
- The Middle East
- The Unity We Seek
- In Search of a Way
- Method in Ecumenism
- Kenotic Ecumenism
Abstract and Keywords
Councils of Churches are perhaps the most important instruments of the modern ecumenical movement, which works for the visible unity of Christians. This chapter describes the nature and ecclesiological significance of councils of churches, arguing that the essence of any council is the growing relationship of the member churches to one another. The focus of the chapter is on councils at the national and regional levels. It briefly surveys the history of these councils, and considers the challenges they now face with regard to their membership, programme, finances, accountability, and also with regard to their relationships with other Christian movements and organizations.
Michael Kinnamon served as general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (2008-11), and prior to that as Spehar-Halligan Professor of Ecumenical and Interfaith Studies at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry. He was an executive secretary of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission from 1980-83.
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