The officially recognized churches of the GCF are categorized into five ecclesiastical groupings (families) that are relevant to the Gulf context: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal Churches in Communion, Oriental Orthodox, Protestant. Officially recognized churches are defined as those churches which both own and manage buildings, and have the authority to allocate visas and to sponsor congregations. All other Christian churches in the Gulf are represented through their sponsoring church body.
The five ecclesiastical families hold association in the fellowship. They are equally represented throughout the structure of the fellowship. An ecclesiastical family includes churches that are autonomous within the family administratively and ritually, sharing a common faith tradition and in full communion with each other. In the event that two or more of the ecclesiastical families achieve full communion with each other, each group will retain its previous representation within the structure of the fellowship.
Each ecclesiastical family within the fellowship represents churches specified according to the fellowship’s official list of churches. An ecclesiastical family is able at any time to add a new church to those which it represents.