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Inaugural meeting of interfaith officers in Wales deepens ecumenical dialogue

Inaugural meeting of interfaith officers in Wales deepens ecumenical dialogue

Photo: Joseph Wandera

05 November 2019

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and Churches Together in Wales held the first-ever meeting of interfaith officers involved in interreligious engagement. The gathering, from 31 October to 3 November, was held in Cardiff, Wales, and explored the theme “Towards Fostering Dialogue Ecumenically.”

Speaking to the group, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit reflected that the churches in the world have to work on their relationships with people and communities of other faiths. “This is our call to be peacemakers and our call to welcome the other in our own contexts,” Tveit said. “This new network among those assigned to lead the work of the churches in this respect will be an asset for all of us, and particularly for the work of the WCC.”

Tveit noted that we all live somehow in a context of religious pluralism. “This must be dealt with as a challenge and a task, but also as a way to understand and develop our own faith communities and faith expressions,” he said. “The interfaith relations must be built on principles and structures of mutual accountability, for what we say and what we do, developing qualities of relations of trust and transparency.”

He added: “In all that we do in relation to people of other faith, we must affirm that our basis is that we all are created in the image of God and all belong to the one, human family.”

The meeting begins to build a network of interfaith officers to explore and engage with the ecumenical dimensions of interreligious engagement. Those gathered also established a platform for exchange and encounter, as well as mapped the current status of interreligious engagement within the ecumenical fellowship.

Rev. Dr Peniel Rajkumar, WCC programme executive for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, said that the meeting enabled people engaged in interreligious ministries across the global fellowship to come together and identify common synergies as well as discern strategies for mutual accompaniment.

“The meeting reaffirmed the importance of the WCC's convening role in fostering interreligious dialogue ecumenically,” said Rajkumar. “The conviction that ecumenical witness in today's world is inextricably linked to being sensitive and responsive to the challenges and opportunities opened by our multi-religious realities was acknowledged by the participants."

 

WCC`s work on interreligious dialogue