After completing a dozen different modules covering topics such as communication strategies, digital justice, countering hate speech, and much more, the young communicators received a final exam that will earn them a certificate of completion. They will then participate as volunteer communicators in the WCC assembly either on-location in Karlsruhe or online.
The course was organized by the WCC with support from the World Association of Christian Communicators, Globethics.net, the Protestant Church in Germany and the German Federal Foreign Office.
At an online graduation event, WCC central committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom celebrated the achievements of the group. “By volunteering as communicators for the assembly, you show that you care for the values we, as Christians, stand for and that you are eager to take active part in the Christian fellowship,” she said. “Your assignment at the assembly may very well be the beginning of a journey towards higher positions in the ecumenical movement.”
WCC director of communication Marianne Ejdersten also congratulated the young people on their milestone of learning. “The communication team shares stories and promotes WCC programme activities in order to educate, inform, and gain support for the WCC within a broad international audience, including the WCC member churches, governing boards, and public at large,” she said. “The WCC is an effective communication actor and a platform for sharing stories and voices from member churches and ecumenical partners working together in the pilgrimage of justice and peace, and raising the fellowship’s visibility and public role.”
Young communicator Shaun Gambiza, from Zimbabwe, is looking forward to learning even more. “What I'll carry with me is the course on peace and justice, and how the churches have come together to champion the cause, through the pilgrimage especially.”
Communicator Junita Junita, from Indonesia, expressed how meaningful it was to be part of this budding new communications team, many of whom expressed the wish to convene in the future to continue growing together.
“I will always remember the words ‘put the church in our heart,’ and when we are not working alone, we are working in a team,” said Junita. “And it’s really amazing to see how we are engaging in social media but also challenging as to how we still stay in touch and continue our ecumenical journey online to make an impact in our real lives.”
Communicator Kainat Kainat, from Pakistan, said: “I am glad enough to learn about communication, as we don't only need to convey or speak but also that listening is important in communication. We need to give a listening ear to the fellow beings in terms of communication.”
Claus Grue, a WCC senior communication consultant and dean of the course programme for the young communicators, agreed that listening is an important communication skill. “One of the most effective, one of the most critical tools for a communicator is your ears,” he said. “In order to speak or write well, you have to listen well. Always remember the listening!”
Rev. Dr Marc Witzenbacher, coordinator of the local office of the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, closed the graduation event with a prayer based on Psalm 100. “Let me express thankfulness for what we have seen, for what we have learned, for what we have done together to make God’s glory great,” he said.