Lund Principle: 1952

Third World Conference of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches held at LundSweden (15-28 August 1952)

On Monday 15th August, it will be 70 years since the start of the Lund Conference, where the important principle now known as the Lund Principle was articulated for ecumenical relations between Christian churches.

After “earnestly request[ing] our Churches to consider whether they are doing all they ought to do to manifest the oneness of the people of God”, it continued: “Should not our Churches ask themselves whether they are showing sufficient eagerness to enter into conversation with other Churches, and whether they should not act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately?

This means that, instead of doing ecumenical things, Christians and churches should try to do things ecumenically, in particular, to do things together which are already a part of their normal life, i.e. to share a common life. 

The real challenge of ecumenism is to share a common life; that is, to do together whatever we do not need to do apart.

some of the F&O participants, Lund, Sweden 1952

There are many questions for us, here in 2022, including:

How can churches in Victoria collaborate more in mission?
How might churches in Victoria plan for mission together?
What examples are there in city/county ecumenical bodies?
How can we move from “doing ecumenical things” to “doing things ecumenically”?
How can the churches think of “ecumenical” as liberating, enriching and a real sharing of common concerns and opportunities?
What can churches share, and what stops them from sharing?
In what ways are relationships and mutual trust built up and deepened so that there can be respectful and truthful conversations, in order to express more visibly the unity we have in Christ as churches journey together?
How can we serve the wider community better, together?
How might our collective voice be amplified in the public arena?

Dialogues happen between Churches. As well, we need:

  • to find ways of delighting in diversity
  • to feel that we belong to one another
  • to develop our inter-dependence
  • to be mutually accountable
  • to become truly reconciled with one another
    … so that the world may believe, and so that the divisions of the Church may not be a stumbling-block to faith

O God, Holy and Eternal Trinity, we pray for your Church in all the world. Sanctify its life; renew its worship; empower its witness; heal its divisions; make visible its unity. Lead us, with all our brothers and sisters, towards communion in faith, life and witness so that, united in one body by the one Spirit, we may together witness to the perfect unity of your love.

Quotes from Lund Conference and ‘Together in a Common Life‘.