The group also aims to receive exposure to ecumenical thought and processes by which the WCC discerns global ecumenical issues for programmatic focus.
“A particular highlight for us were the presentations on gender, intergenerational and racial justice. It is very encouraging to see how naturally these questions are part of theological reflection in the ecumenical movement,” said Rev. Christina Biere, pastor for ecumenism in the Evangelical Church of Westphalia, Germany, Bossey student in 2003 and delegate of the central committee of the WCC from 2006-2013.
WCC shared its work on discrimination and racism, recalling WCC`s historical work on race, accounting for it in present programmes and introducing the current transversal programme on racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. “We are very interested in how the topic of racism will be dealt with at the assembly! Some people in our churches in Germany are just beginning to deal intensively with racism in church and theology and we hope to engage in an ecumenical learning process on racism, post-colonialism and whiteness,” said Biere.
“The exposure of the church of Westphalia group to WCC work in the run-up to the assembly is strategic as a bridge-builder for local churches and generationally as well,” reflected Kuzipa Nalwamba, professor of Ecumenical Social Ethics at the Ecumenical Institute and WCC programme executive for Ecumenical Theological Education. “The group was diverse in terms of age, gender, race, sexuality, profession and leadership position in the church.”
The team formally ended its visit with reflection and prayers in the chapel, drawing the delegation and the Bossey community together, and a last input session on songs and hymns of the ecumenical movement.