Members of the Commission on Faith and Witness working during their 2016 meeting in Ottawa.

What is the Commission on Faith and Witness?

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. Read more

What does the Commission do?

(see also Other Commission responsibilities)

Some major topics the Commission has addressed:

  • Marriage: This project aimed at furthering a Christian understanding of marriage in a secular and pluralist society. The principal project outcome was the book Together in Christ: The Hope and Promise of Christian Marriage. This book contains general reflections on Christian marriage, information from 14 Christian denominations, and Biblical reflection questions to help pastors and couples preparing for marriage, and those interested in ecumenical perspectives.
  • Doctrine: This project dealt with the different approaches to church doctrine among the members of the Council. The working papers by Commission members considered in the course of this reflection were published in the journal Ecumenism (Vol. 45, No. 179-180, 2010) and are available for downloading.
  • 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 to our contemporaries who see little value in religious commitment. As a part of this reflection, Commission members produced short statements in response to the question “Why be a Christian?”
  • Religious Pluralism: In 2013 the Commission began consideration of theological questions arising from religious pluralism. This is a natural follow-up to the Commission’s role in fostering and monitoring interreligious contacts and dialogue on behalf of the Council (see “Interfaith Dialogue” below).


Other Commission responsibilities

In addition to in-depth consideration and reflection on specific theological questions such as those mentioned above, the CFW has several on-going responsibilities within the Council.

  • Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held from January 18 to 25 each year since 1908, is both a witness of Christian unity in prayer, and an appeal for divine assistance in completing the unity of the Body of Christ, in accord with Christ’s own prayer “That they may be One” (Jn 17:21-22). To commemorate the centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2008, the Commission sponsored the preparation and publication of Liturgies for Christian Unity: The First Hundred Years 1908-2008, with prayers and texts from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity over the years, and ideas for liturgies of all forms and sizes.
  • Biotechnology: Together with the Commission on Justice and Peace, the CFW participates in the work of the Biotechnology Reference Group (BRG), established by the CCC Governing Board as a reference group for the gathering and exchange of information on biotechnology.