Over 30 representatives of several theological institutions connected to the World Council of Churches programme of Ecumenical Theological Education (WCC-ETE) are gathered at the Faculty of Theology of the Methodist University of São Paulo, from 14-18 May, for the first Meeting on Ecumenical Theological Education of Latin America and the Caribbean in Global Dialogue.
The meeting is being promoted by the WCC-ETE’s Ecumenical Theological Education Forum of Latin America and the Caribbean (FETELAC). The group is reflecting and looking for creative ways to strengthen the work of ETE in this region.
For Rev. Dan Gonzales Ortega, rector of the Comunidad Teológica de México and coordinator of FETELAC, the meeting in São Paulo is a milestone in the present history of the WCC-ETE in the region. Until very recently, FETELAC's relationship with the WCC-ETE was limited to the economic support granted by the WCC to some educational projects of FETELAC institutions.
“However, this meeting in Brazil offers the possibility of a concrete dialogue on what is done in our region with the WCC-ETE and what happens in other regions and programs linked to the WCC programme”, he said.
“We have heard the expectations of the emerging theologians of GETI (Global Ecumenical Theological Institute) 2018, the pertinence of peace building alternatives in WCC-ETE, we heard about our natural belonging to the WCC’s Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and we learned about the connections with PAWEEN (Pan African Women’s Ecumenical Empowerment Network) in the context of advocacy and theological education, where there is much to learn and share between Africa and Latin America”, added Ortega.
The meeting has also enabled a deeper discussion of bilateral and multilateral agreements and commitments for cooperation among the theological institutions involved in the network.
“Such intentional initiatives of dialogue and collaboration between actors of theological education in different regions and around diverse methods of contextually and globally relevant ecumenical formation, such as GETI 2018 and PAWEEN are crucial for the longevity and renewal of the ecumenical movement”, said Amélé Ekué, WCC programme executive for ETE and professor at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey.
She expressed her hope for further cross-regional exchanges on ecumenical theological education, especially with the participation of a younger generation of theologians.
The group was joined by representatives of the WCC’s PAWEEN, participants and facilitators in GETI 2018 , as well as from the WCC’s Commission on Ecumenical Formation and Education.
This effort is the first of several moments of engagement with the realities and hopes for ecumenical formation in the regions that the WCC expects to replicate globally in the coming years.