World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / 70 years of the World Council of Churches

70 years of the World Council of Churches

The 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches in 2018 is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and to look to the challenges ahead as a fellowship of churches responding to God’s call for unity, mission, justice and peace.
70 years of the World Council of Churches

US delegates to the founding Assembly of the WCC in 1948 watch as as Herbert Wing, 6, hands the president to the Federal Council of Churches one of 10'000 copies of the Gospel of St John to be presented to Dutch Sunday School children as gifts from New York boys and girls.

Walking together, serving justice and peace

In 2018 we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches and the fellowship that is its heart and soul. This is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and to look to the challenges ahead as a fellowship of churches responding to God’s call for unity, mission, justice and peace.

Click here for a pdf version of the infographic.

Let's celebrate throughout the year!

The WCC, its member churches and partners are planning a variety of events to move us forward on our ongoing Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, and at the same time honour and learn from these 70 years of ecumenical endeavour.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the WCC Central Committee meeting in Geneva in June, a joint consultation on sustainable development with the ACT Alliance in Uppsala, exactly 50 years after the WCC Assembly there: the anniversary year of 2018 will offer many opportunities to focus firmly on envisioning our common future: united in faith, eager for witness, and fearless in the quest for justice and peace.

We invite you, and all member churches and ecumenical partners, to take part in this important anniversary.  Here are some ways you can participate:

  • by sharing stories and prayers or songs related to our seven-decades-old common pilgrimage
  • by organizing or hosting events in your own context
  • by bringing the WCC anniversary exhibition to your venue or event
  • by choosing a day for celebrating the anniversary, preferably on 23 August, which marked the opening of the 1st Assembly in Amsterdam and the formal constitution of the WCC.

Related Events

Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018

Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018

05 - 13 March 2018 Arusha, Tanzania

The Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) 2018 is a global ecumenical short-term study and exposure programme in accompaniment of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism.

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

08 - 13 March 2018 Arusha, Tanzania

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism is the long tradition of the International Mission Council and the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), organized every decade.

Central Committee meeting

Central Committee meeting

15 - 21 June 2018 Geneva, Switzerland

The Central Committee serves as the chief governing body of the WCC until the next assembly, meeting every 2 years. It is responsible for carrying out the policies adopted by the Assembly, reviewing and supervising WCC programmes and the budget of the Council.

Related News

#WCC70: A chance to change

#WCC70: A chance to change

In 2018 we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches. In order to create a lively firsthand account of the ecumenical fellowship and of our shared journey, member churches have contributed stories of people, events, achievements and even failures, all of which have deepened our collective search for Christian unity. This story was written by Dame Mary Tanner, a lay theologian from the Church of England who served as WCC vice president for Europe.

Visiting WCC, Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on “ecumenism of action”

Visiting WCC, Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on “ecumenism of action”

During a visit to the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva on 16 February, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke on an “ecumenism of action” as he also congratulated the WCC on its 70th anniversary.

At mission conference, “let us tune ourselves to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit”

At mission conference, “let us tune ourselves to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit”

Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos is moderator of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism. He is also author of a “Welcome” in the Handbook for the upcoming WCC Conference on World Mission and Evangelism. Below, Metropolitan Coorilos is featured in an interview that reflects on how we can prepare our ecumenical heart for the upcoming conference, which will occur in Arusha, Tanzania on 8-13 March.