The relationship between ethnic, national and ecclesiological identities continues to be important topics of ecumenical research. The reports presented at the recent Plenary Commission of FAITH AND ORDER in Kuala Lumpur off er a promising perspective because they link the topic of ethnic and national identities with the identity of the church. In this article, an analysis is made of the most elaborated attempt of the Ecumenical Movement to deal with this issue: the LIFE AND WORK conference of 1937 in Oxford on Church, Community and State. The context and the preparations are described, and the reports analysed. In a conclusion the main results are brought together in seven aspects. The absence of the universal church and the silence about the national church, two weak elements in this document might be overcome in the new document that FAITH AND ORDER is preparing.