Ministry -- I. The Calling of the whole People of God
M1. In a broken world God calls the whole of humanity to become God's people.
For this purpose God chose Israel and then spoke in a unique and decisive way
in Jesus Christ, God's Son. Jesus made his own the nature, condition and cause
of the whole human race, giving himself as a sacrifice for all. Jesus' life
of service, his death and resurrection, are the foundation of a new community
which is built up continually by the good news of the Gospel and the gifts of
the sacraments. The Holy Spirit unites in a single body. those who follow Jesus
Christ and sends them as witnesses into the world. Belonging to the Church means
living in communion with God through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
M2. The life of the Church is based on Christ's victory over the powers of
evil and death, accomplished once for all. Christ offers forgiveness, invites
to repentance and delivers from destruction. Through Christ, people are enabled
to turn in praise to God and in service to their neighbours. In Christ they
find the source of new life in freedom, mutual forgiveness and love. Through
Christ their hearts and minds are directed to the consummation of the Kingdom
where Christ's victory will become manifest and all things made new. God's purpose
is that, in Jesus Christ, all people should share in this fellowship.
M3. The Church lives through the liberating and renewing power of the Holy
Spirit. That the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus is evidenced in his baptism, and
after the resurrection that same Spirit was given to those who believed in the
Risen Lord in order to recreate them as the body of Christ. The Spirit calls
people to faith, sanctifies them through many gifts, gives them strength to
witness to the Gospel, and empowers them to serve in hope and love. The Spirit
keeps the Church in the truth and guides it despite the frailty of its members.
M4. The Church is called to proclaim and prefigure the Kingdom of God. It accomplishes
this by announcing the Gospel to the world and by its very existence as the
body of Christ. In Jesus the Kingdom of God came among us. He offered salvation
to sinners. He preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery
of sight to the blind, liberation to the oppressed (Luke 4:18). Christ established
a new access to the Father. Living in this communion with God, all members of
the Church are called to confess their faith and to give account of their hope.
They are to identify with the joys and sufferings of all people as they seek
to witness in caring love. The members of Christ's body are to struggle with
the oppressed towards that freedom and dignity promised with the coming of the
Kingdom. This mission needs to be carried out in varying political, social and
cultural contexts. In order to fulfil this mission faithfully, they will seek
relevant forms of witness and service in each situation. In so doing they bring
to the world a foretaste of the joy and glory of God's Kingdom.
M5. The Holy Spirit bestows on the community diverse and complementary gifts.
These are for the common good of the whole people and are manifested in acts
of service within the community and to the world. They may be gifts of communicating
the Gospel in word and deed, gifts of healing, gifts of praying, gifts of teaching
and learning, gifts of serving, gifts of guiding and following, gifts of inspiration
and vision. All members are called to discover, with the help of the community,
the gifts they have received and to use them for the building up of the Church
and for the service of the world to which the Church is sent.
M6. Though the churches are agreed in their general
understanding of the calling of the people of God, they differ in their
understanding of how the life of the Church is to be ordered. In particular,
there are differences concerning the place and forms of the ordained ministry.
As they engage in the effort to overcome these differences, the churches need to
work from the perspective of the calling of the whole people of God. A common
answer needs to be found to the following question: How, according to the will
of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the life of the Church to
be understood and ordered, so that the Gospel may be spread and the community
built up in love?