In Councils of Churches and the Ecumenical Vision (Geneva: WCC Publications, 2000) Diane Kessler and Michael Kinnamon define a council of churches as “…a voluntary association of separated and autonomous Christian churches, within a defined geographical area, through which its members seek to manifest their fellowship with one another, to engage in common activities of witness and service, and to advance towards the goal of visible unity.”
In the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, we try to live up to this definition. Each of our 43 member bodies has made its own decision to be a part of the Council. We focus on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we provide programs and ministries in each of the three key areas–fellowship (or koinonia), witness and service, and visible unity.
We understand our reason for being to be rooted in scripture. We frequently cite passages like John 17, Ephesians 2 and 4, and 1 Corinthians 12 as fundamental to our self-understanding.
Further, we understand our quest for unity to be part of the reconciling of all creation to God. We long for the day when the whole, united church bears witness to the whole gospel to the whole world.