The archbishop spoke of how the theme of the WCC assembly—“Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”—resonates with the theme of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops, held in August under the theme “God’s Church for God’s World.”
Welby commented on the ways in which the participants at the Lambeth Conference were able to move forward. “We found our way forward through, not by solving the issues, but by living in the light of Christ, by saying we do not agree, by being honest without excluding one another,” he said. “At the beginning many felt they could not participate—by the end almost all did.”
The challenge to Christians, Welby said, is in daily conversion of life. “The next decades look no better, economically, militarily, spiritually, socially, scientifically, technologically, especially for the poorest and the weakest,” he said. “In this time of world crisis, Christians are to be a community of peace, the creation of God, not us, in Christ through the Spirit.”
We live amidst the ecumenism of suffering, Welby continued. "We are well practised in the ecumenism of service,” he said. “Theological understanding has advanced greatly.”
But none of us are yet imbued with the spirit of the love of Christ, he emphasized. “Christ's prayer for visible unity to convert and draw us close enough to each other, although not united, we share as one people in the paschal mystery,” he said. “But we do not show that day to day.”
The luxurious expense of well-practised Christian division is no longer affordable, he concluded.
“My simple challenge to all of us today, is to re-find the spiritual passion of the past for ecumenism; theologically, in solidarity with the suffering, in love that covers a multitude of sins,” he said. “To do that we must face our fears of each other and of the world together, we must love one another, we must give common witness and work towards a more visible unity that we reimagine in the grace of God.”