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Youth to start reflections on new configuration of the ecumenical movement

11 November 2003

Cf. WCC Press Release PR-03-27 of 11 August 2003

Cf. WCC Press Release PR-03-29.02 of 27 August 2003

In advance of a major consultation on a new configuration of the ecumenical movement, 14 young people from 13 countries will gather in Antelias, Lebanon, 14-16 November, 2003, to begin reflections on the vision and current shape of the ecumenical movement and the global reality in which churches work. As current and future leaders in the movement, the young people - all of whom are under 30 - will be identifying sources of energy and hope, and issues to be considered by the larger consultation that will follow their own meeting, at the same venue.

The perspective of youth will be one of several entry points to discussion on a new configuration of the ecumenical movement at the larger, 17-20 November, consultation. For its 34 participants, the task will be to design a study for churches and ecumenical organizations on renewal of a movement that began almost a century ago. They will discuss the vision and values that might guide this movement into the 21st century, in the context of the realities of churches today in civil society, global politics, economics, and culture.

The decision to undertake such a study was sparked off by World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser in 2002. But in his report to the WCC Central Committee that year, Raiser noted that the call for such a discussion really began in 1998 with the acceptance, at the Harare assembly, of a policy statement "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches". In his 2003 report to the WCC Central Committee, Raiser also emphasized that before any possible structural changes are considered, conversation and reflection need to start regarding a common vision for the ecumenical movement in the 21st century.

Raiser emphasizes that the Antelias consultation "is the first stage of a process, and the launch of what we hope will be intensive consultations with the churches".

Rather than represent particular organizations, participants were specifically asked to bring experiences and insights from the many different actors in the ecumenical movement and among WCC members: different church confessions; international, regional and national ecumenical organizations; Christian World Communions; ecumenical agencies and specialized ministries; mission organizations; and grassroots networks. A balance of women and men, ages, and regional perspectives has also been sought.

Churches and church-related and ecumenical organizations will be invited to engage actively in the reflection coming out of this initial meeting in Lebanon. The hope is to generate broad discussion throughout the wider ecumenical movement over the next several years, perhaps leading to specific proposals to the WCC assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006 as well as to other organizations involved in the process.

Both meetings in Lebanon are being hosted by the moderator of the WCC Central Committee, His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Armenian Apostolic Church (Cilicia).

Participants in the youth consultation, 13-16 November:

Ms Asha Susan Abraham, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, India

Ms Rima Barsoum, Syrian Orthodox Church, Syria

Mr Nelson Edwards, Anglican Church, Panama

Mr Adriano Frattini, Methodist Church, Uruguay

Ms Lei Garcia, United Church of Christ, Philippines

Mr Samuel Jayakumar, Church of South India

Mr Mutua Mulonzya, Roman Catholic Church, Kenya

Mr Lukasz Nazarko, Orthodox Church in Poland

Mr Richard Tatwin, Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu,

Mr Dirk Thesenvitz, Evangelical Church in Germany

Ms Anastasia Vassiliadou, Church of Greece

Mr Marlone Zakeyo, Anglican Church, Zimbabwe

Ms Motoe Yamada, United Methodist Church, USA

A participant from the Armenian Orthodox Church, Lebanon will be named later.

Participants in the 17-20 November consultation:

Dr Fritz Erich Anhelm, Evangelical Church in Germany, political scientist and director of the Evangelical Academy of Loccum, Germany.

Dr S. Wesley Ariarajah, Methodist minister from Sri Lanka, currently professor of Ecumenical Theology at Drew University, USA, former staff of the WCC working in inter-religious relations and dialogue before becoming deputy general secretary of WCC from 1993 until 1997.

Archimandrite Benedict (Ioannou), permanent representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Geneva.

Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, Russian Orthodox Church, WCC central committee member, deputy chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Rev. Christopher Ferguson, ecumenical officer for the United Church of Canada, member of the WCC Commission of the Churches on Diakonia and Development.

Rev. Kathy Galloway, Church of Scotland, theologian, poet and community activist, currently leader of the Iona community in Scotland.

Rev. Dr Kondothra M. George, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, dean of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Kottayam Kerala, India, member of the WCC central committee and moderator of the programme committee of the central committee.

Rev. Paul Goodliff, regional minister and team leader of the Central Baptist Association of the Baptist Union in Great Britain, moderator of the Church Relations Committee of the Baptist Union, representative to the Joint Consultative Group between WCC and Pentecostal Churches.

Dr Ahn Jae-Woong, Presbyterian Church of Korea, General Secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, chair of the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism.

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kenya, general secretary of the World YWCA, president of the World Association of Christian Communication, ISIS-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange, and the International Service for Human Rights.

Rev. Nangula E. Kathindi, Church of the Province of Southern African (Anglican), secretary general of the Council of Churches in Namibia (first woman elected to this position).

Ms Priscilla Karimi Kinoti, Methodist Church of Kenya, coordinator of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa, member of the WCC Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation.

Dr Ninan Koshy, Church of South India, academician and political commentator based in Trivandrum, Kerala, India, former director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

Rev. Dr Hong-Jung Lee, director of planning, ecumenical relations and publicity of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, member of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Dr Eileen Lindner, Presbyterian Church (USA), deputy general secretary for research and planning of the National Councils of Churches of Christ in the USA.

Rev. Dr Peter Lodberg, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, general secretary, DanChurchAid, former WCC Central Committee member and lecturer at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, executive secretary of the Department of Theology of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches with special responsibility for bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogues.

Rev. Herbert Meissner, Evangelical Church in Germany, director of Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland, member of the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Dr Larry Miller, executive secretary for the Mennonite World Conference (based in France).

Prof. Rev. Dr Nicolae Viorel Mosoiu, Romanian Orthodox Church, member of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.

Msgr John Mutiso-Mbinda, Kenya, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, co-secretary of the Joint Working Group between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church.

Dr Michel Nseir, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All East, lecturer at University of Balamand, executive secretary of the Association of Theological Schools in the Middle East, former president of Syndesmos, the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth.

Rev. Sven Oppegaard, Church of Norway, assistant general secretary for ecumenical affairs, Lutheran World Federation.

Prof. Dr Alexandros Papaderos, Ecumenical Patriarchate, general director, Orthodox Academy of Crete, advisory committee/central committee member of the Conference of European Churches, member of the Executive Committee of the Ecumenical Association of Academies and Lay Centres in Europe.

Rev. Canon John L. Peterson, Anglican Consultative Council, general secretary of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Ms Dafne Sabanes Plou, Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina, regional coordinator for Latin America of the Women's Networking Support Programme - Association for Progressive Communications.

Rev. Dr Juan Esteban Sepúlveda, Presbyterian pastor at the Mission Pentecostal Church, Chile, theologian and historian, working in numerous roles for the Evangelical Service for Development (SEPADE).

Rev. Dr Hermen Shastri, Methodist Church in Malaysia, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, member of the WCC central committee.

Dr Lorine Tevi, Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, lecturer at the Methodist Theological College in Fiji.

Mr Dirk Thesenvitz, Evangelical Church in Germany, national youth officer for international and ecumenical relations in the Federation of Protestant Youth in Germany, chairperson of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe.

Mr Jack van Ham, Roman Catholic Church, general director of the Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation (Netherlands).

Ms Anastasia Vassiliadou, Church of Greece, currently doing post-graduate studies on ecumenical theology in Thessaloniki.

Rev. Dr Robina Winbush, Presbyterian Church (USA) director of the Department of Ecumenical and Agency Relations.

Mr Marlon Zakeyo, Anglican Church, former general secretary of the Zimbabwean Student Christian Movement, currently an intern in the International Affairs Team of the World Council of Churches.

WCC Officers:

His Holiness Aram 1, Catholicos of Cilicia, moderator of the WCC central committee

Mrs Justice Sophia O.A. Adinyira, Church of the Province of West Africa, high court judge in Ghana, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee.

Dr Marion S. Best, past moderator of the United Church of Canada, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee

WCC staff present at the consultation include:

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, WCC general secretary

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, WCC general secretary-elect

Dr Elizabeth Ferris, coordinator of the WCC team on Diakonia and Solidarity

Rev. Freddy Knutsen, programme executive in the WCC team on Justice, Peace and Creation (youth consultation)

Background documents for the discussion on a new configuration of the ecumenical movement can be found at