Reconfiguring the Ecumenical Movement

GENEVA — The representatives to the World Council of Churches-sponsored consultation in Antelias, Lebanon, cooperatively scribed a report that envisions a truly ecumenical gathering of bodies under Christ by next November. Entitled, “From Antelias With Love,” the article calls on the Catholic, evangelical and Pentecostal churches, most of which are not WCC members, to join together to form a new ecumenical network.

According to the report, a “reconfiguring” of the ecumenical movement is necessary to reflect the changes in the world and to bring about the renewal of “the confidence of churches to confront the forces of globalization and hegemony.” Another goal, it said, is to make the WCC and other ecumenical organizations “less Euro-centric and more reflective of the churches in the South.”

The initial proposal for such a union was brought up at the 1998 WCC conference at Harare, Zimbabwe. AT the septennial meeting, the delegates urged for the creation of a global Christian forum with a goal of “widening the circle” of Christian traditions to include the global south.

The reconfiguration may also streamline the churches’ and Christian agencies’ cooperative efforts to prevent the duplication of such programs.

The WCC meeting, held Nov. 17-20, was hosted by Catholicos Aram I of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The WCC has 342 member churches in more than 120 countries. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member but works in cooperation with the WCC.