The Oxford Conference: (Official Report)

The Oxford Conference: (Official Report)

The Oxford Conference: (Official Report)

The Oxford Conference: (Official Report)

Excerpt

Americans are accustomed to being in the presence of many nationalities, for their country is itself the result of a great fusion of peoples. Yet even for an American from polyglot New York it is an unforgettable experience to be for weeks part of an intimate Christian fellowship in which forty-five nations are represented. And when one worships twice a day with that varied and colorful company in a church whose site had been used for Christian worship for five hundred years before there was any Protestant church one begins to perceive anew why even Protestants still say: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church."

In the generic sense Oxford was catholic -- meaning of course universal, all-inclusive, inter-racial, supra-national. A better word, less subject perhaps to misunderstanding, is the one so frequently applied: Oxford was ecumenical. That old word from the Greek was reborn and brought back into circulation, along with the fundamental idea for which it stood in the early Christian centuries -- the idea of the whole household of faith.

The Oxford Conference on Church, Community and State (by community Europeans mean, of course, the social order) was almost literally ecumenical, representative of the whole household of non-Roman Christianity. It was inclusive at a time when terrific forces are tearing the human family apart. It drew the world together when hate and fear are splitting it up. It thought, and spoke, and worshiped, and acted together; not in the interest of any one part of the church, but for the sake of the whole church throughout the world.

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