The Joint Working Group between the World Council of Churches – the world’s largest ecumenical body – and the Roman Catholic Church will meet to discuss the future perspectives of the two influential international church groups, at Kolympari-Chania, Greece, on May 6-13, 2004. The conference will mark the last plenary meeting between the two groups, prior to the 2006 WCC assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
Throughout the weeklong gathering, leaders of the JWG will finalize the “ongoing studies on the nature and purpose of ecumenical dialogue, implications of common baptism, and participation of the Roman Catholic Church in national and regional ecumenical councils,” according to the WCC.
The meeting will also assess the past seven years of collaboration between the WCC and RCC
The meeting will also prepare the eighth report of the Joint Working Group, assessing the past seven years of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches. Participants in the meeting will be invited to evaluate their work done and look at future perspectives.
The JWG had its first meeting in May of 1965, at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, near Geneva. The first meeting had a total of 14 members – eight WCC and six RC, and offered a wide-ranging agenda for RCC-WCC collaboration in study and activities which could serve the one ecumenical movement: the nature of ecumenism and methods of ecumenical dialogue; common prayer at ecumenical gatherings; joint preparation of materials for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; a common date for Easter; the RCC's direct bilateral dialogues with other churches; collaboration in missionary activities in the context of religious freedom, witness and proselytism; the place of the Church in society; Christian responsibility in international affairs, especially in the promotion of peace and justice among peoples and nations; collaboration in social service, in emergency and development aid and in medical work; cooperation of men and women in church, family and society; laity and clergy training; mixed marriages between Christians.