Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Writing and Animation Team

Contents

About the CFW

The Commission on Faith and Witness (CFW) engages churches in theological reflection to foster greater understanding of the faith we hold in common and to provide an ecumenical witness to Christ’s mission in the world.

The Commission provides a meeting place, a lively and fertile ground for reflection and work, among Christians of different families. Together, we think theologically about matters that concern CCC member churches.

Current Program Priorities (2018-21)

Theology of ‘the human person’, with a focus on ‘mental health’: As Christians, we believe that every person is created in the image and likeness of God. In 2018-21, CFW is engaging the question ‘what is a human person?’ – a central theological issue of our time. ‘Mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are likewise burning issues, not only theoretically but also in the lived experience within and outside our churches. CFW will approach these complex topics by articulating member churches’ theologies of the human person and asking how they impact our approaches to persons living at various points along the mental health continuum. After learning the views of each CFW member church, we will seek possible consensus and produce a resource for use in parishes and congregations.

Supporting the annual celebrations of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) in Canada: Canadian WPCU Writing and Animation Team (a standing subcommittee of CFW) continues to produce yearly resources for Canadian churches, contextualizing international and developing original materials. Partnering with the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, CFW manages and maintains a dedicated WPCU website including international and Canadian resources and stories and photos from local celebrations. We promote WPCU through a network of church leaders, ecumenical and worship officers, and local organizers.

Encouraging ecumenical theological education and formation: Ecumenical formation of next generations of pastors, scholars and lay members is our future. We are exploring ways to encourage Canadian theological colleges and seminaries in this endeavour. We also continue to provide coordination on theological and ecumenical issues with bodies and groups within and outside the CCC.

Recommended Resources Developed by the Commission on Faith and Witness

church in downtown toronto

Religious Diversity

Most recently, the Commission considered theological questions arising from religious diversity. A common introductory statement and other resources can be found on www.faithandwitness.ca.

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Book Cover: The Bruised Reed: A Christian Reflection on Suffering and Hope

Suffering and Hope

Suffering is a universal characteristic of the human condition. Christianity’s response to suffering is both the hope offered in and by Jesus Christ and concrete action to relieve suffering. The Commission explored Christian perspectives on suffering and hope, which resulted in the personal and pastoral resource, The Bruised Reed: A Christian Reflection on Suffering and Hope. You can also download the working papers prepared by Commission members.

Why be a Christian

Salvation

The Commission has examined the notion of salvation and related themes such as redemption, justification and union with God, in the context of modern secularism and widespread indifference to spiritual concerns and religion. It is hoped that the Commission’s work in this area, focused in part on the question “Why be a Christian?”, will assist in making the essential Christian message more relevant in contemporary context. Find short reflections, videos and podcasts, and discussion papers on this topic on www.faithandwitness.ca.

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Palliative Care

The Statement of Support for Universal Access to Palliative Care in Canada (October 2016) is a consensus statement of all the delegates of the thirteen churches which comprised the membership of CFW in 2015-2016. This Statement is the outcome of a long and profound discussion among CFW members. This discussion was prompted at first by the issue of legalizing physician-assisted death in Canada, but broadened into a wide reflection on life and death as the bedrock of Christian anthropology.

CFW Members 2019
Members of the CFW take a short break for some fresh air during their October 2019 meeting focused on the triennial topic, Theology of the Human Person, with a Focus on Mental Health

CFW Members

  • Major David Allen, Salvation Army
  • Rev. Mokwadi PT Basele, United Church of Canada
  • Dr. John Berkman, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church
  • Fr. Dr. Jaroslaw Buciora, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
  • Lt. Col. Jim Champ, Salvation Army
  • Dr. Patrick Fletcher, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Rev. Dr. Walter Hannam, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Rev. Dr. Will Ingram, Presbyterian Church in Canada
  • Dr. Jessica Joustra, Christian Reformed Church – North America
  • Dr. Paul Ladouceur, Orthodox Church in America, Archdiocese of Canada
  • Pastor Chung Yan (JoAnne) Lam, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Rev. Theodore Paraskevopoulos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada
  • Very Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Ready, Orthodox Church in America, Archdiocese of Canada
  • Rev. Tim Reimer, Mennonite Church Canada
  • Prof. Richard Schneider, Orthodox Church in America (CFW chair)
  • Rev. Canon Dr. Scott Sharman, Anglican Church of Canada (alternate)
  • Rev. Donald Shields, Anglican Church of Canada
  • Rev. Noël Suministrado, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Rev. Das Sydney, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec
  • Rev. Dr. Michael Wagenman, Christian Reformed Church – North America
  • Rev. Dr. John Young, United Church of Canada

Ex Officio:

  • Sr. Gill Goulding, C.J., CCC Vice-President liaison to CFW, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Dr. Mary Marrocco, Associate Secretary, Faith and Witness
  • Maria Simakova, Program Coordinator, Faith and Witness

CFW Executive Committee

  • Major David Allen, Salvation Army
  • Dr. Patrick Fletcher, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Dr. Paul Ladouceur, Orthodox Church in America, Archdiocese of Canada
  • Pastor Chung Yan (JoAnne) Lam, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Prof. Richard Schneider, Orthodox Church in America (CFW chair)
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