World Council of Churches

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

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Ecumenism is a sense of belonging

Ecumenism is a sense of belonging

Ecumenism is a sense of belonging

Photo: Church of Sweden Skara Diocese

08 February 2019

Under the headline Free to change hundreds of Swedes gathered in the sacred cathedral in Gothenburg on 2 February to learn more about international advocacy from a faith and human rights perspective.

A full-day programme arranged by the dioceses of Skara and Gothenburg in cooperation with Church of Swedens youth organisation, covered a wide spectrum of pertinent issues facing the ecumenical movement.

Being a voice of hope, peace and justice in the world is one vital aspect of the ecumenical movement which Sweden’s director of international affairs, Erik Lysén, elaborated on together with the World Council of Church’s director of communication, Marianne Ejdersten, in a keynote speech opening an international day.
“Representing 350 member churches in 120 countries, the World Council of Churches exerts a strong influence on world affairs. We are indeed a prophetic voice for human rights, non-violent change and unity”, Ejdersten explained.
She pointed at several challenges facing today’s ecumenical movement, namely growing polarization and nationalism, religious and political fundamentalism, racism and gender inequality, migration and trafficking, and climate change. 
“The list of urgent issues, where the ecumenical movement can – and must – make a difference, is long, but we stand together in faith, side by side with the marginalized, oppressed and defenceless, determined in our cause for a better world where justice and peace prevail”, Ejdersten continued.

Interreligious dialogue, which the World Council of Churches (WCC) is deeply engaged in, was also mentioned as a crucial ingredient in a united approach to challenges ahead.

Representing the Church of Sweden, which is one of the largest Lutheran churches in the world, Lysén went on to emphasize the sense of belonging to a global Christian movement and a yearning for unity in Christ: 
“That gives us a broader perspective beyond a strictly national understanding of our church as Swedish public movement, plus deeper experiences and opportunities to influence important global and national issues crucial to the survival of mankind. We strive towards Christian unity expressed across national and traditional boundaries”, said Lysén, and added "Church of Sweden is part of the ACT Alliance, a global alliance of churches and church-related organisations for disaster relief, development and advocacy."

Lysén concluded "This framework looks to people’s own resilience and their own capacities to manage the situation and to recover and to restore hope, dignity, mental and social well-being and a sense of normality to people affected by a disaster."

Church of Sweden