To communicate beyond words. It is spelled love.

Moment of prayer with WCC staff, 13 March 2019. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC

Looking back on a week of grief. A week full of sorrow, tears, loss and anger.
A week of grief that began with the air disaster in Ethiopia, when the life of our colleague Rev. Norman Tendis was taken too early. A question that surfaces: Why? Why this air crash, involving leading climate experts on their way to the UN climate meeting in Nairobi? So many dead and missing. So much grief.

We then received the sad news that a World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee member died at the airport in New York after a ten-day tour of the Middle East. Rev. Robina Winbush, who was in the midst of life, full of life and plans to create an equal world for everyone. A leading voice against racism in the US and one of the initiators of WCC’s renewed focus on Churches overcoming racism.

And on Friday morning, we woke to media reports about the latest horrific terrorist attacks, against two mosques in New Zealand, with 50 people killed and many others injured as they were praying. Children, women and men killed as they prayed. On a Friday, which is a holy day for Muslims. In peaceful Christchurch. How can the face of evil take this form?

A week of sorrow in every possible way. One of the toughest since I joined the World Council of Churches just over five years ago. In the midst of all the grief, there was at least a ray of hope and light, in the togetherness shown among colleagues, churches, the UN, media and religions. We seek out each other in difficult times, and we provide each other with support and comfort. Even the media who visited the Ecumenical Centre passed on their condolences to us. That warms my heart.

I am grateful for the good cooperation between churches and other organisations. Thank you for helping to disseminate the “Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice”. In the midst of grief, we decided to implement Norman Tendis’ plan to launch the Roadmap to all churches around the world. It is important, and he spent half his working life thinking about how to work locally and globally to create a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you to everyone who helped disseminate this important work. A good and concrete example of how churches work together.

When the fog of grief dissipates in my heart

I look forward to a new week of thoughtfulness and gratitude for those who have gone before us and shown the way, with new insights, memories and a renewed belief in the future. Together, we can bring about change.

It is important not to give up, not to be pushed aside, and not to stop fighting for the good in the world. We know that light will always prevail over darkness, and good over evil. We have to believe in what we do and seek hope in everything we do. We must counteract dark forces and hatred. We must seek connections and build new bridges of dialogue, love and trust. We know that we can bring about change together. To do this we have to seek the light and new energy. To communicate beyond words. Just a single word can make a difference: It is spelled love.

Peace be with you.


Read also:

WCC condemns terror attacks on mosques in New Zealand, calls for end to violence

WCC mourns loss of Rev. Robina Winbush with prayers, sadness

WCC honors legacy of lost staff member, launches resource on economic and ecological justice

WCC mourns lost staff member in Ethiopian Airlines crash

About the author :

Marianne Ejdersten was appointed as director for Communication at the World Council of Churches in November 2014. Coming from the Church of Sweden (Lutheran), Ejdersten holds more than 25 years of professional experience in the fields of communication, media, marketing, fundraising and management, both with the churches and international ecumenical organizations.

Ejdersten has authored a number of articles published in several publications across the globe. She was co-author of The Churches and IT, a publication of the Church of Sweden and a special report titled Women and Internet.

Ejdersten and her team were honoured with the Grand Prix and Gold EPICA 2009 award for conducting the best integrated and interactive campaign "The Prayer" in Europe, as well as the Swedish Publishing Award for reporting in 2012, among other honours she has received for her work in the field of media.

The WCC  was honoured as a top non-governmental organization for its work during 2022, receiving the first-place Geneva Engage Award,  for effective and inspiring social media outreach and engagement.

Ejdersten has been the president of the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFOR) and vice president for the European branch of the Word Association for Christian Communication (WACC). Currently serving as the president for Church of Sweden Switzerland 2021-. 

More information


The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.