In preserving and restoring unity, churches are increasingly confronted with moral questions. The World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission has studied this topic and recently presented a new study document called “Churches and Moral Discernment: Facilitating Dialogue to Build Koinonia.” In a series of three webinars, the commission will introduce the document and two other publications that assist in learning from and with each other about discerning ethical questions in the churches.
The first webinar, “Moral discernment – What can we learn from other traditions?” to take place on 29 April, is based on the publication “Churches and Moral Discernment. Volume 1: Learning from Traditions.” The document provides self-descriptions on how 14 different church traditions engage in moral discernment processes. Each one reflects on the sources they use, how these sources interplay with each other and who actually participates in the process.
The second webinar, scheduled for 27 May and entitled “Change in Moral Teaching – Exploring Continuity and Discontinuity,” will examine concrete historic examples where churches have modified or changed their understanding of a specific moral issue. Participants will be using “Churches and Moral Discernment. Volume 2: Learning from History,” a publication in which expert historians, theologians, and ethicists examine the occasions for and the processes of change within traditions.
The final webinar, ”Moral Discernment: A Tool to Explore Common Ground and Disagreement,” will be held 10 June. Based on the study document “Churches and Moral Discernment: Facilitating Dialogue to Build Koinonia,” the webinar will harvest the fruits of the study process on moral discernment which began in 2015. In its analysis, the study document describes patterns in the complex negotiations between continuity and change as churches respond to moral challenges. At its core, the study document invites the churches to more deeply understand the significance of “the conscience of the church” in moral discernment processes and points to its ecumenical potential. The document offers a tool to analyse core elements in the conscience of the church that shape moral discernment.Read more
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