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The Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra and World Council of Churches commissioner colleagues begin work on Christian unity

CHICAGO, June 16, 2015—The Rev. Dr. Ellen K. Wondra, research professor of theology and ethics at Bexley Seabury, and her colleague commissioners on the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Faith and Order today take up their charge to search for ways that participating churches can “call one another to visible unity” while responding to impediments to “Christian unity, justice and peace in today’s world.” Elected by the WCC Central Committee in 2014, Wondra is serving a seven-year term, through the 2021 WCC Assembly. The WCC Commission on Faith and Order, a global think tank of ecumenical theologians representing 33 countries, five continents, and many Christian traditions, will be in session June 16-23 at the Manastirea Caraiman near Busteni, Romania.

Wondra comes to the commission informed by her service on The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations, 2001–2006; her service on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the U.S.A. (ARCUSA), 1992–2010; her experience as co-coordinator of the ARCUSA project on authority, 1996–2008; and by decades of ecumenical dialogue and scholarship addressing the theology and practice of the office of clerical and lay authority.

“Ellen Wondra’s election to the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order is testimony to her leadership, her excellent scholarship, and her faithful service to the church,” said the Rev. Dr. Roger. A. Ferlo, president of Bexley Seabury. “It is entirely fitting that Ellen’s voice and views be made part of the global conversation on Christian unity.”

The Rt. Rev. C. Christopher Epting, a 1972 alumnus of Seabury-Western and former Bexley Seabury board member, served with Wondra on ARCUSA. He is the retired bishop of Iowa and is currently assisting bishop in Chicago. “It is difficult to overstate the importance of the World Council of Churches Commission on Faith and Order and its contribution to the unity and mission of the Christian Church,” Bishop Epting said. “Ellen Wondra will represent The Episcopal Church, and indeed Western Christianity, well given her academic credentials and practical involvement in ecumenical dialogue over the last quarter of a century of amazing breakthroughs and promise for the future.”

Wondra, a Chicago resident, holds an MDiv from Church Divinity School of the Pacific and a PhD in Christian theology from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. She became professor at Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary in 1989; was named professor of theology and ethics at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in 2004; and served as Seabury-Western’s academic dean 2008–2014. After serving eight years as editor in chief, in 2013 the Anglican Theological Review (ATR) named Wondra editor emerita. Now she is serving ATR as interim editor while a search for a new editor in chief proceeds.

Bexley Seabury is an Episcopal center for learning and discipleship offering theological education in a generous spiritual and intellectual tradition. Our mission is to equip lay and clergy leaders for bold inquiry in service of the Gospel and active engagement in congregational and community life. Learn more at