What we do

Unity is a sacred calling

‘..that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you’    (John 17:20-23 NRSV)

The Council of churches of WA (CCWA) is an incorporated association of Churches who seek to be true to the sacred calling given to us by Jesus, whose prayer was that we would be one.

The Council is an expression of this desire for greater unity and cooperation.  CCWA has an important role in:

  • promoting ecumenical worship
  • encouraging churches to pray for one another
  • facilitating formal and informal conversations between people or organisations of different church traditions
  • promoting joint social mission.
  • Encouraging churches to work together for justice and peace.

The Third World Conference on Faith and Order in Lund, Sweden in 1952 asked:

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 question became the ecumenical movement’s “Lund Principle”

CCWA Mission:

“The Council of Churches WA gathers together in pilgrimage those Churches and Christian communities which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the Scriptures and who commit themselves to deepen their relationship with each other.

Thus they will express more visibly the unity willed by Christ for the Church, and 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.”

The Council of Churches of WA calls on churches and Christian groups to deepen their relationships and their commitment to their common calling through dialogue, prayer, witness, service, and action in the cause of peace, justice and the preservation of the environment.

CCWA History

Despite many denominational divisions over the centuries, there has always been a core group of Christian people who were dreaming of, praying for and working towards a greater sense of unity and co-operation among Churches.

The Council of Churches’ history began in the late 1950s, when its name was the “WA Committee for the Australian Committee of the World Council of Churches”!  Over the years the most common name was the “Western Australian Council of Churches”.

When the Roman Catholic Church joined the name was changed to the “Conference of Churches of WA”.  In 2003 the name of the organisation was changed to “The Council of Churches of Western Australia (Inc)”.

The Council became an incorporated association in 1977.  The first General       Secretary was appointed in 1963.  The Council has been involved with ecumenical advocacy and social justice works, for around half a century.

We offer an open invitation to other churches to consider our invitation to join with us in this ecumenical work.

A brief history of the Council of Churches Office Bearers:

  • 2010-         *Executive Officer: Alan Jennings, Roman Catholic
  • 2011-12     *Ecumenical Officer:  Rev Isobelle Shortreed, Uniting Church
    2013-                                                      Rev Frances Hadfield,  Uniting Church
  • *Two new positions created replacing the General Secretary Position

General Secretaries:

2009-2010                                           Rev Chris Bedding Locum General Secretary, Anglican

1998-2009                                           Rev Eira Clapton, Anglican

1992-1998                                           Rev Wes Hartley, UCA

1987-1991                                           Dr John Neal, Anglican (Full time from 1/1/88- 1/12/91)

1984-1987                                           Part time General Secretaries, one of whom was  George  Idle, UCA for a period of 6 months in l986.

1977-1983                                           Rev Roy Poole, Anglican

1972-1977                                           Rev Keith Dowding, Presbyterian/UCA

1969-1972                                           Mr Ian Allsop, Church of Christ

1963-1969                                           Rev Laurie G Staton, UCA

Presidents:    

March 2011-                                        Rt Rev Bishop Brian Kyme, Anglican

October 2010-March 2011                  Paul Martin, Society of Friends (Interim)

March 2010-October 2010                  Rev Dr Charles Waddell, Roman Catholic

March 2009-March 2010                    Paul Martin, Society of Friends

March 2007-March 2009                    Rev Marie Wilson, UCA

March 2005-March 2007                    Ven David Ingleson, Anglican

March 2003-March 2005                    Ms Ivonna Dansbergs, Lutheran

May 2001-March 2003                       Mr Graham Nielsen, UCA

May 1999-April 2001                         Ms Anne Fox, Roman Catholic

May 1998-April 1999                         Rev Greg Harvey, Anglican

March 1996-April 1998                      Deacon Theodore Issa, Syrian Orthodox

January 1994-February 1996              Ms Wendie Wilkie, UCA

December 1992-December 1993        Sr Sonia Wagner, Roman Catholic

December 1991-November 1993        Sr Libby Rogerson, Roman Catholic

May 1990-November 1991                 Lt Col K B Morgan, Salvation Army

June 1986-February 1990                   Rt Rev Brian Kyme, Anglican

April 1984-April/May 1986                Mrs Leonie Liveris, Greek Orthodox

December 1982-March 1984              Rev G Blyth, UCA

December 1981-November 1982        Archdeacon Dutton, Anglican

December 1980-November 1981        Rev V Cornish, Anglican

June 1979-November 1980                 Major F Linsell, Salvation Army

April 1978-June 1979                         Laurie Wilkinson, Society of Friends

March 1976-February 1978                Rev Jack Wilson, Methodist/UCA

Members:

Churches willing to accept the Basis and Objects of the Council and to co-operate in fulfilling its purposes through providing financial and participative support may apply for Membership of the Council.  Please see the Constitution for further details.

Member Churches in 2011:

  • Anglican Church
  • Church of Christ Wembley Downs
  • Coptic Orthodox Church
  • Ethiopian Orthodox Church
  • Greek Orthodox Church
  • Lutheran Church
  • Religious Society of Friends
  • Roman Catholic Church
  • Romanian Orthodox Church
  • Salvation Army
  • Syrian Orthodox Church
  • Uniting Church

Associate Members of the Council:

Associates are Churches or Christian Associations sympathetic to the Objects of the Constitution; who are willing to participate in the work of CCWA and pay the Associate Membership Fee.

Associate Members in 2011 :

  • Australian Church Women
  • Australian Student Christian Movement
  • Prison Fellowship Australia WA Council
  • PerthPrayer
  • Five Leaf Eco Awards
  • World Day of Prayer Committee

 What we do….

The Council of Churches is an independent association incorporated in Western Australia.  The Council has collegial  relationships with ecumenical councils in other states of Australia,  and with the  National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA).

The Council has no formal structural ties with the World Council of Churches, although many of CCWA’s member churches are members of the WCC.  Many of the WCC study documents, programmes and initiatives are welcomed by the Council and assist in ecumenical endeavours in WA.

The Council of Churches exists to assist our members to work together on a variety of common interests including:

  • Worship and praying together.
  • Working together especially in the areas of hospital and prison chaplaincies through the work of the Chaplaincy Committee.
  • Raising money for overseas aid and development through Act for Peace the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches.
  • Meeting with State Government agencies and civic bodies who are interested in similar areas of concern such as Restorative Justice and Prison Reform, Sustainability, Social Justice and Refugees.

CCWA encourages and assists member churches as they:

  • Plan ecumenical community projects
  • Seek new ways of sharing buildings and ministry

The Council can provide the following resources:

  • Networking and communications through our website and newsletter
  • Seasonal studies for ecumenical groups such as Advent and Lent resources
  • Special day resources including Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Refugee and Migrant Sunday, Social Justice Sunday, Simply Sharing Week
  • Brochures and information from the National Council of Churches on a variety of topics

The Council also works in a variety of networks in Australia, in which it represents the member Churches.