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‘Ecumenism: is it still on?’ WCC general secretary addresses global peace conference

‘Ecumenism: is it still on?’ WCC general secretary addresses global peace conference

Panel gathered to explore the question ‘Ecumenism: is it still on?’. Photo courtesy of Sant'Egidio

16 September 2019

The Sant'Egidio community began a “Peace with no borders” conference in Madrid on 15 September, gathering religious leaders from all over the world to address each other on migration, the environment, dialogue and inclusion.

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit addressed the wide-ranging group by exploring the question: “Ecumenism: is it still on?” Tveit was part of a panel discussion held on 16 September to reflect on this topic.

“Indeed, honest self-reflection obliges us to ask: are ecumenism and the ecumenical movement a spent force from a bygone era, or do they have something relevant, even essential, to offer the world today?” Tveit asked. “My answer is an emphatic affirmation of the vital character and crucial contribution of ecumenical Christianity today.”

Tveit said he believes the ecumenical movement has never been more relevant. “Moreover, I maintain that the movement, including the fellowship of churches and their partner agencies, has evolved in ways that closely align with the challenges we now face in the churches and the world,” he said. "Ecumenism is evolving, partly as the fruit of consensus and convergence in the fellowship of Christian churches on foundational theological matters, partly through reframing our collective journey of faith through the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, and partly in loving response to the felt needs of the world around us.”

Unity now often travels under the banner of solidarity, Tveit continued. “Given the unprecedented peril in which the world finds itself, the evolution of ecumenism toward a unity in praxis is natural and, in fact, a measure of the movement’s accountability to the world and to God,” he said. "Looking at the matter institutionally, theologically, programmatically, and existentially, I find this an exciting time for the ecumenical movement—one of both promise and peril.”

Read full speech by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Sant'Egidio: Peace with no borders