Under the title, “Walking Together, Serving Justice and Peace,” the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly journal of the World Council of Churches (WCC), commemorates the WCC’s 70th anniversary by publishing an article, address, or book chapter by each of the WCC's seven general secretaries since 1948.
“Each of the WCC's general secretaries was dealing with the issues of his time,” writes editor Stephen Brown in the editorial that opens the issue. “Yet taken together, several common issues emerge: the tension between the WCC as a movement for renewal and as a gathering of churches; the meaning of fellowship as mutual accountability for the churches that have committed themselves to the WCC; widening the ecumenical fellowship beyond the member churches of the WCC; and the image of the ‘pilgrim people of God.’”
The issue opens with an article by the current WCC general secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit, in which he writes that the world is living in a time when the purpose and objectives of the WCC are relevant as never before – in the face of polarization within societies, gaps between rich and poor, extremism and violence, and concern about the future of planet Earth.
“The call to unity is the basis for all that we do, and we have to remind ourselves continually what this calling implies in terms of commitment to really overcome our historical divisions and to work for a unity that represents both justice and peace,” Tveit writes. “This is not a superficial exercise; it reaches deep into our lives and priorities. It has a price; it is costly - if we are serious.”
Meanwhile, 1948 marked not only the WCC’s founding assembly in Amsterdam, but also the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In an article discussion the role of religion, human rights, and neo‐liberalism in a post‐humanist era, Brazilian theologian Jung Mo Sung argues for the need to raise social awareness of exclusion and marginalization.
This has a particular resonance for the work of the WCC, which in 2018 is discussing a new document on ecumenical diakonia against the background of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Two articles, including one by WCC deputy general secretary Isabel Apawo Phiri, discuss the relationship between justice, ecumenical diakonia and the SDGs.
Contents of the latest issue (may be freely downloaded)