More than 120 theologians from various Christian traditions concluded on Tuesday a meeting in Greece where they discussed ecumenism and the call to be one church.
The weeklong meeting of the World Council of Churches' Faith and Order Commission was considered to be a "landmark in ecumenical dialogue," according to Dr. John Gibaut, director of the commission.
On the opening day of the Oct. 7-13 meeting the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians around the world, acknowledged the unity of the Church is a "never-ending search, an ever-unfolding journey." But he added that their ongoing pursuit of unity is "a testimony to the fact that what we seek will occur in God’s time and not our own." more >>
Both the incoming and outgoing heads of the World Council of Churches this week stressed honesty as the basis upon which people of different faiths can have meaningful encounters.
Speaking at a conference on inter-faith relations in Geneva this week, outgoing WCC General Secretary the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia said that a fruitful understanding between people of faiths depended on honesty and being able to recognize and hold in “creative tensions,” areas of convergence as well as genuine differences.
"Because we are different, we each have something unique to contribute, and every contribution counts. At the same time, dialogue partners seek to discover and appreciate the common values held by all,” he said during the gathering initiated by the Muslim World League and also attended by Jewish leaders. more >>
The World Council of Churches elected the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit as its new general secretary last week during the meeting of its main decision-making body in Geneva.
The following is an edited transcript of an interview with Tveit during the Aug. 26 to Sept. 2 meeting:
CT: What is your overall impression of this meeting that has just concluded? more >>
The World Council of Churches on Wednesday called on Israel to cease and dismantle its settlements in the occupied territories.
Passed on the last day of the WCC Central Committee meeting, the “Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” encouraged an international boycott of products and services from settlements. It also urged the Israeli government to commit to non-violence and peace negotiations.
“[While] Israel’s own right to exist in security evokes sympathy and solidarity around the world,” states the Central Committee, WCC’s main decision-making body, “its policies of expansion and annexation generate dismay or hostility.” more >>
The outgoing general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, spoke about his last six years in office and where he is headed next in his ecumenical ministry.
CT: How do you feel coming to the end of your tenure?
Kobia: I feel a sense of satisfaction that I am coming to the end of what I really consider to have been a long journey. The last six years as General Secretary, and before then having worked for the WCC for a long time, it gives me a sense of satisfaction that I have served and have given as much as I could give to an organization from which I have also received a lot. It has been a very enriching experience for me and coming to the end I do feel ready for the next phase of my ecumenical journey. more >>
Organizers of the 2013 World Council of Churches assembly stressed that the next meeting would bring together not only WCC members, but also representatives of other Christian traditions, including Pentecostals and Evangelicals still outside the WCC fold.
“Moving together towards a wider Christian family, a wider global Christian forum – that is our goal and we are moving towards this goal,” said Dr. Jong-wha Park of the assembly organizing committee.
“That’s why Pentecostals are invited, evangelicals are invited, ecumenicals are invited to Korea. This is the clear sign that we are working towards a wider ecumenical solidarity.” more >>