Ecumenical Documents

Australian Churches Covenanting Together

-- The National Council of Churches in Australia Multi-dimensional Covenant

The member churches' pledged "to engage in an ongoing process of growing together (covenanting), not knowing what visible form unity, which is God's will and gift, may take, but believing that, by taking the steps to which we now commit ourselves, we shall be led to grow ever more deeply into that unity." 

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Australian Churches Covenanting Together

The National Council of Churches in Australia
Multi-dimensional Covenant
(Australian Churches)


  • 1996
    NCCA Member Churches consider steps towards more visible unity.
  • 1998
    NCCA National Forum invites Churches to examine their own structures and dialogue with one another about entering into a multidimensional covenant at the 2001 National Forum.
  • 2001
    The Declaration of Intent - which currently forms Part A of the redrafted Multi-dimensional Covenant - was read together by representatives of all Member Churches at an Ecumenical Service during 2001 NCCA Forum on the event of Sunday 8 July.
  • 2004
    Covenant signed by 15 Member Churches of NCCA at its 5th National Forum.

A Commitment
to a Covenanting Process

The Basis of the National Council of Churches in Australia:

The NCCA gathers together in pilgrimage those churches and Christian communities, which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and commit themselves

      1. to deepen their relationship with each other in order to express more visibly the unity willed by Christ for his Church, and
      2. to work together towards the fulfilment of their mission of common witness, proclamation and service, to the glory of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Given the commitment we have made to each other by becoming members of the National Council of Churches in Australia, we are prepared to renew our commitment through this act of covenanting.

 

Part A
DECLARATION OF INTENT

As member churches of the National Council of Churches in Australia,

  • We RE-AFFIRM
    our commitment to one another as partners on the ecumenical journey;
  • We BELIEVE
    that we are being blessed in our generation to witness the action of the Spirit in drawing the Churches in a common search for a fuller expression of unity;
  • We REJOICE
    in all we have in common and GIVE THANKS for the richness of our diversity, though recognising that our disunity is a hindrance to the Church's mission;
  • We RECOGNISE ONE ANOTHER
    as Communities of Faith, Hope and Love, committed to following Christ and pledged to serve God's kingdom;
  • We therefore MAKE A COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER
    to engage in an ongoing process of growing together (covenanting), not knowing what visible form unity, which is God's will and gift, may take, but believing that, by taking the steps to which we now commit ourselves, we shall be led to grow ever more deeply into that unity.

Anglican Church of Australia, Antiochian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Churches of Christ in Australia, Congregational Federation of Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, Romanian Orthodox Church, The Salvation Army, Syrian Orthodox Church, Uniting Church in Australia

Part B
THE PROPOSED COMMITMENT

a.  Dimension One: General

We AGREE together

  • To join in common prayer with one another
  • To intercede and care for one another
  • To explore with one another our Christian convictions and their present application

Anglican Church of Australia, Antiochian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Churches of Christ in Australia, Congregational Federation of Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, Romanian Orthodox Church, The Salvation Army, Syrian Orthodox Church, Uniting Church in Australia.

b.  Dimension Two: Shared Use of Physical Resources

We AGREE together

  • To support initiatives for sharing physical resources, such as buildings,
    and to encourage consultation between the appropriate governing
    bodies of our churches before new major developments are
    undertaken.

Anglican Church of Australia, Assyrian Church of the East, Churches of Christ in Australia, Congregational Federation of Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, The Salvation Army, Uniting Church in Australia.

c.  Dimension Three: Common Mission and Ministry

We AGREE together

  • To explore with one another issues and strategies for mission, so that the possibility of common mission is recognised as a priority, information is shared, issues of mission are discussed, and strategies for evangelisation are planned in consultation
  • To seek to develop clear and sensitive guidelines dealing with how our churches together can best meet to needs of people in local (especially rural) situations:

Anglican Church of Australia, Churches of Christ in Australia, Congregational Federation of Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church of Australia, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, The Salvation Army, Uniting Church in Australia.

d.  Dimension Four: Common Sacraments

We AGREE together

  • To recognise the Sacrament of Baptism administered in each other's church, and to promote the use of the common Certificate of Baptism.

Anglican Church of Australia, Antiochian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Congregational Federation of Australia, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, Romanian Orthodox Church, Uniting Church in Australia.

We AGREE together

  • To invite and welcome members of each other's church to share in the Eucharist according to pastoral need

Churches of Christ in Australia with Uniting Church in Australia

e.  Dimension Five: Shared Ordained Ministries

We AGREE together

  • To continue to work towards the goal of sharing with each other a mutually recognised ordained ministry

Anglican Church of Australia with Lutheran Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Australia with Uniting Church in Australia, Churches of Christ in Australia with Uniting Church in Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia with Uniting Church in Australia

Part C
THE FUTURE PLEDGE

We PLEDGE ourselves

  • To continue to discuss and articulate within our churches the meaning and significance of our involvement in the quest for a more visible expression of unity and the possibilities for further engagement in ecumenical partnership
  • To explore such further steps as will be necessary to make more clearly visible the unity of all Christian people in this country

AFFIRMATION OF COMMITMENT

On behalf of our churches,
we affirm our commitment to this covenanting process.

At this point in our journey towards visible unity,
We confirm those places in this document
where the name of our own church appears,
As a sign of what we can covenant together.

Anglican Church of Australia, Antiochian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church, Assyrian Church of the East, Churches of Christ in Australia, Congregational Federation of Australia, Coptic Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Lutheran Church of Australia, Religious Society of Friends, Roman Catholic Church in Australia, Romanian Orthodox Church, The Salvation Army, Syrian Orthodox Church, Uniting Church in Australia.