As the students served as stewards, they enriched the spiritual life of the meeting, said Rev. Dr Mikie Roberts, WCC programme executive for Spiritual Life, who said the students were “a wonderful spiritual gift to our common ecumenical prayer.”
Roberts added: “Their presence in the chapel was a sign of the rich fellowship we share as the WCC and how our praying together is indeed at the heart of the global ecumenical movement.”
Bossey student Abel Lamido, from the United Methodist Church in Nigeria, said that leading the prayers helped remind the WCC central committee to promote Christian unity and justice for all. “The commitment and seriousness of the committee members give WCC hope,” said Lamido.
Another student, Rev. Rongliang Bian, from the China Christian Council, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the WCC central committee prayers.
“Even though we are all in a virtual meeting room, the moving of the Holy Spirit can transcend the limitations of time, space and even language, and we can still pray and worship together as one body in Christ closely connected,” said Bian. “The Bible is one of the foundations of our unity.”
Another student from the China Christian Council, Du Peng, said it was a great privilege to pray with Christians and church leaders from different countries. “I experienced this beautiful visible unity in prayer myself, as well as the special touch of wonderful, lively and diverse prayer, a beautiful feeling that is unforgettable,” said Peng. “Although we live in different places, we live on the same earth, and at the same time we share the same faith and the same good hope in Christ.”
Bossey student Rev. Jebin Thankaraj said the group experienced not only diverse prayers and songs but also the diversity and importance of musical instruments from all the continents during the ecumenical prayers.
“There is hope for the ecumenical movement as long as churches are willing to journey together, recognizing and realizing one triune God working in each other,” said Thankaraj.
Sijo George, a student from the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Republic of India, experienced the the beauty of different liturgical traditions. “As a student, I became more curious to know how the ecumenical liturgy will bring people to be united in Christ,” said George. “It gives me a hope that the WCC and the churches recommend young scholars to be active in the ecumenical movement.”
Setting the stage for the prayer life in the meeting was an opening sermon by Rev. Dr Susan Durber, moderator of the WCC Faith and Order Commission. Durber underscored the importance of unity given the current challenges of COVID-19, the climate emergency, and many other serious challenges.
“Unity is not an option. It is vital for life,” said Durber. “When we are really up against it, we see what really matters.”
The closing sermon, offered by Rev. Gloria Ulloa Alvarado, WCC president for Latin America and the Caribbean, offered a reflection on what it means to listen to Jesus.