Reflections and Visions for the Future Ecumenical Movement

Antelias, Lebanon -- Two consultations commissioned by the World Council of Churches on the future and renewal of the worldwide ecumenical movement is slated for mid November in Lebanon. Delegates to the conferences are expected to bring “personal experiences and insights from the many different actors in the ecumenical movement,” in discussing the visions and values that might guide this movement into the 21st century.

The first conference, scheduled for Nov. 14-15, will bring together 14 young adults from 13 countries to begin their reflections on the vision for the coming ecumenical movement. The youth, all under thirty, will identify sources of energy and hope for the movement in the perspective of the future leaders.

The second conference, open to all age groups, will focus on designing a study for churches and organizations on the century-year old worldwide ecumenical movement. This larger consultation, with 34 expected attendants, will discuss the vision and values that might guide this movement into the 21st century, in the context of the realities of churches today in civil society, global politics, economics, and culture, during their Nov. 17-20 meeting.

The attendants are encouraged to actively inform their respective organization or church of the reflections shared throughout the conferences. The hope is to generate broad discussion throughout the wider ecumenical movement over the next several years, perhaps leading to specific proposals to the WCC assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006 as well as to other organizations involved in the process.

The movement toward such consultations began in 1998 with the acceptance of a policy statement “Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches,” during the assembly at Harare.

The general secretary, Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, a noted supporter of the consultations, emphasized that before any possible structural changes are considered, conversation and reflection need to start regarding a common vision for the ecumenical movement in the 21st century. According to Raiser, the Antelias consultation "is the first stage of a process, and the launch of what we hope will be intensive consultations with the churches".

The following is the list of attendants to the consultations.

Participants in the youth consultation, 13-16 November

Ms Asha Susan Abraham, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, India

Ms Rima Barsoum, Syrian Orthodox Church, Syria

Mr Nelson Edwards, Anglican Church, Panama

Mr Adriano Frattini, Methodist Church, Uruguay

Ms Lei Garcia, United Church of Christ, Philippines

Mr Samuel Jayakumar, Church of South India

Mr Mutua Mulonzya, Roman Catholic Church, Kenya

Mr Lukasz Nazarko, Orthodox Church in Poland

Mr Richard Tatwin, Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu,

Mr Dirk Thesenvitz, Evangelical Church in Germany

Ms Anastasia Vassiliadou, Church of Greece

Mr Marlone Zakeyo, Anglican Church, Zimbabwe

Ms Motoe Yamada, United Methodist Church, USA

A participant from the Armenian Orthodox Church, Lebanon will be named later.

Participants in the 17-20 November consultation

Dr Fritz Erich Anhelm, Evangelical Church in Germany, political scientist and director of the Evangelical Academy of Loccum, Germany.

Dr S. Wesley Ariarajah, Methodist minister from Sri Lanka, currently professor of Ecumenical Theology at Drew University, USA, former staff of the WCC working in inter-religious relations and dialogue before becoming deputy general secretary of WCC from 1993 until 1997.

Archimandrite Benedict (Ioannou), permanent representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Geneva.

Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, Russian Orthodox Church, WCC central committee member, deputy chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Rev. Christopher Ferguson, ecumenical officer for the United Church of Canada, member of the WCC Commission of the Churches on Diakonia and Development.

Rev. Kathy Galloway, Church of Scotland, theologian, poet and community activist, currently leader of the Iona community in Scotland.

Rev. Dr Kondothra M. George, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, dean of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam Kerala, India, member of the WCC central committee and moderator of the programme committee of the central committee.

Rev. Paul Goodliff, regional minister and team leader of the Central Baptist Association of the Baptist Union in Great Britain, moderator of the Church Relations Committee of the Baptist Union, representative to the Joint Consultative Group between WCC and Pentecostal Churches.

Dr Ahn Jae-Woong, Presbyterian Church of Korea, General Secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, chair of the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism.

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kenya, general secretary of the World YWCA, president of the World Association of Christian Communication, ISIS-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange, and the International Service for Human Rights.

Rev. Nangula E. Kathindi, Church of the Province of Southern African (Anglican), secretary general of the Council of Churches in Namibia (first woman elected to this position).

Ms Priscilla Karimi Kinoti, Methodist Church of Kenya, coordinator of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa, member of the WCC Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation.

Dr Ninan Koshy, Church of South India, academician and political commentator based in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, former director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

Rev. Dr Hong-Jung Lee, director of planning, ecumenical relations and publicity of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, member of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Dr Eileen Lindner, Presbyterian Church (USA), deputy general secretary for research and planning of the National Councils of Churches of Christ in the USA.

Rev. Dr Peter Lodberg, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, general secretary, DanChurchAid, former WCC Central Committee member and lecturer at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, executive secretary of the Department of Theology of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches with special responsibility for bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogues.

Rev. Herbert Meissner, Evangelical Church in Germany, director of Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland, member of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Dr Larry Miller, executive secretary for the Mennonite World Conference (based in France).

Prof. Rev. Dr Nicolae Viorel Mosoiu, Romanian Orthodox Church, member of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Msgr John Mutiso-Mbinda, Kenya, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, co-secretary of the Joint Working Group between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church.

Dr Michel Nseir, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All East, lecturer at University of Balamand, executive secretary of the Association of Theological Schools in the Middle East, former president of Syndesmos, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth.

Rev. Sven Oppegaard, Church of Norway, assistant general secretary for ecumenical affairs, Lutheran World Federation.

Prof. Dr Alexandros Papaderos, Ecumenical Patriarchate, general director, Orthodox Academy of Crete, advisory committee/central committee member of the Conference of European Churches, member of the Executive Committee of the Ecumenical Association of Academies and Lay Centres in Europe.

Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Anglican Consultative Council, general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Ms Dafne Sabanes Plou, Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina, regional coordinator for Latin America of the Women's Networking Support Programme - Association for Progressive Communications.

Rev. Dr Juan Esteban Sepúlveda, Presbyterian pastor at the Mission Pentecostal Church, Chile, theologian and historian, working in numerous roles for the Evangelical Service for Development (SEPADE).

Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri, Methodist Church in Malaysia, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, member of the WCC central committee.

Dr Lorine Tevi, Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, lecturer at the Methodist Theological College in Fiji.

Mr Dirk Thesenvitz, Evangelical Church in Germany, national youth officer for international and ecumenical relations in the Federation of Protestant Youth in Germany, chairperson of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe.

Mr Jack van Ham, Roman Catholic Church, general director of the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (Netherlands).

Ms Anastasia Vassiliadou, Church of Greece, currently doing post-graduate studies on ecumenical theology in Thessaloniki.

Rev. Dr Robina Winbush, Presbyterian Church (USA) director of the Department of Ecumenical and Agency Relations.

Mr Marlon Zakeyo, Anglican Church, former general secretary of the Zimbabwean Student Christian Movement, currently an intern in the International Affairs Team of the World Council of Churches.