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70 years of the World Council of Churches

The 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches in 2018 is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and to look to the challenges ahead as a fellowship of churches responding to God’s call for unity, mission, justice and peace.
70 years of the World Council of Churches

US delegates to the founding Assembly of the WCC in 1948 watch as as Herbert Wing, 6, hands the president to the Federal Council of Churches one of 10'000 copies of the Gospel of St John to be presented to Dutch Sunday School children as gifts from New York boys and girls.

Walking together, serving justice and peace

In 2018 we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches and the fellowship that is its heart and soul. This is an opportunity to mark the achievements of the past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and to look to the challenges ahead as a fellowship of churches responding to God’s call for unity, mission, justice and peace.

Click here for a pdf version of the infographic.

Let's celebrate throughout the year!

The WCC, its member churches and partners are planning a variety of events to move us forward on our ongoing Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, and at the same time honour and learn from these 70 years of ecumenical endeavour.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the WCC Central Committee meeting in Geneva in June, a joint consultation on sustainable development with the ACT Alliance in Uppsala, exactly 50 years after the WCC Assembly there: the anniversary year of 2018 will offer many opportunities to focus firmly on envisioning our common future: united in faith, eager for witness, and fearless in the quest for justice and peace.

We invite you, and all member churches and ecumenical partners, to take part in this important anniversary.  Here are some ways you can participate:

  • by sharing stories and prayers or songs related to our seven-decades-old common pilgrimage
  • by organizing or hosting events in your own context
  • by putting up the WCC anniversary poster at your venue or event
  • by choosing a day for celebrating the anniversary, preferably on 23 August, which marked the opening of the 1st Assembly in Amsterdam and the formal constitution of the WCC
  • by sharing anniversary greetings of thanksgiving and encouragement from member churches and partners.

Resources to download:

Related Events

WCC 70th anniversary in Amsterdam

WCC 70th anniversary in Amsterdam

23 August 2018 Amsterdam, Netherlands

During a 23 August service in the Netherlands in the Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, World Council of Churches leaders will celebrate the WCC’s 70th anniversary at the very spot in which the organization was founded.  A “Walk of Peace” through Amsterdam, and a symposium under the theme “Hospitality on a pilgrim's way to peace and justice”, at the Vrije Universiteit, will also be held on the same day.

20 years since the Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women

20 years since the Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women

01 - 06 October 2018 Kingston, Jamaica

In the context of the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and the 2030 sustainable development agenda, an international consultation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the WCC’s Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998). The consultation will reflect on the achievements and challenges in building a just community of women and men and to strengthen ecumenical collaboration in reading the signs of our times in order to map the future direction of our work.

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Commemoration of the Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women to assess progress, map future

Commemoration of the Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women to assess progress, map future

An international consultation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-98), 1-6 October in Kingston, Jamaica.

WCC to celebrate 70th anniversary in the Netherlands

WCC to celebrate 70th anniversary in the Netherlands

During a 23 August service in the Netherlands in the Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church in Amsterdam, WCC leaders will celebrate the WCC’s 70th anniversary at the very spot in which the organization was founded.

#WCC70: Prayers and songs to commemorate WCC’s 70th anniversary

#WCC70: Prayers and songs to commemorate WCC’s 70th anniversary

Prayers and songs are available for use during the WCC anniversary, whether on 23 August – which marked the opening of the 1st Assembly in Amsterdam and the formal constitution of the WCC – or on another day during this anniversary year. Praying together is a powerful source of unity, says WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.