Several hundred people gathered at the Ecumenical Centre to remember Emilio Castro

Several hundred people gathered at the Ecumenical Centre to remember Emilio Castro


Rev. Dr Emilio Castro was remembered and honoured on Friday 31 May in a memorial service at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.

Castro, who died in his native Uruguay on 6 April at the age of 85, exercised leadership in the Ecumenical Centre from 1973 to 1992, first as director of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and from 1985 as the WCC’s fourth general secretary.

Current WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit preached at the memorial service, recalling these words of his predecessor: “We are not called to concern ourselves about our small individual world. The gospel is not the solution to our headaches, rather the calling for a transformation of all things in Christ.”

Within the kingdom of God as proclaimed by Jesus, continued Tveit, disciples in the ecumenical movement “must bear witness to those who cannot yet perceive this kind of hope. In the midst of struggles and when the pilgrimage seems to lead in circles rather than straight forward to desired outcomes, we are called to bear witness to this hope, even to one another.”

Shortly after his own election as general secretary, Tveit recalled, Emilio Castro approached him “with a glimmer in his eye” and said: “I am hopeful. The best of the ecumenical movement is still to come.”

Others who spoke at the service included Professor Julio de Santa Ana, Rev. Dr Roswitha Golder, Methodist Bishop Heinrich Bolleter, president Charlotte Kuffer of the Protestant Church of Geneva, Mr Roberto Collipal and WCC deputy general secretary Yorgo Lemopoulos.

Tveit noted that the service was rich in music. He concluded, “I am sure that he, as a Methodist minister, would be pleased that we sang our theology – a theology of hope.”

Programme from memorial service

Sermon delivered by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

WCC pays tribute to Emilio Castro