Namsangol Hanok Village

Young people walk in the Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul, South Korea.


Convening from 25-29 June, the commission planned and envisioned its work for the next eight years while discussing lessons learned from the past. 

The meetings setting of Yonsei University marked a meaningful ecumenical history and journey, as the university was created through a spirit of ecumenism during a period when higher education was almost impossible.

A visit to the Odusan Unification Observatory, some 45 minutes away from Seoul, brought unification into the hearts and minds of the commission. 

From visioning to the work ahead

After two online meetings, the dates in Seoul marked the commissions first in-person gathering since the WCCs 11th Assembly in 2022. At the heart of discussions were questions such as: What are we learning from the past? Where are we going?

These questions helped form not only additional, perhaps more complicated, questions but also a path forward for the commissions work, including outlining tasks for two working groups. 

One working group will plan and organize the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI) scheduled to take place alongside the 6th World Conference of the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order conference in Egypt from 24-28 October 2025. This conference will mark the 1700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, which was a key moment in the search for Christian unity. The conference will be organized in collaboration with the Coptic Orthodox Church.  

The second working group will organize and create an online introductory course in ecumenism, which could potentially reach a wider audience of theological students who cannot travel to the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey and for church leaders who desire more ecumenical-theological training.  

EEF commission group photo

The EEF commissioners had the opportunity to visit the Odusan Unification Observatory, some 45 minutes away from Seoul. 


A stronger commitment

Prof. Dr Meehyun Chung, moderator of the commission, expressed gratitude for an atmosphere of encouragement. Education is about bringing out what is inside,” said Chung. I hope that we will be able to bring out our potential, experience, and wisdom toward the revival of ecumenism that we already have inside and share it.” 

For the commission’s vice-moderator, Rev. Prof. Teddy Chalwe Sakupapa, from the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, the meeting in Seoul accentuated the interrelatedness of contextuality and ecumenicity and highlighted the strategic importance of the churches work of ecumenical education and formation for the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity. “We look forward to journeying together with the wonderful team of dedicated and enthusiastic commissioners who are all variously and actively engaged in the work of ecumenical education and formation in the churches that they represent”, he said.

Rev. Prof. Dr Benjamin Simon, director of the commission and dean of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, said that meeting WCC member churches was a highlight. 

For us as the Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation, there was no question that we also wanted to meet with church leaders of the Korean WCC member churches,” he said. "It was important and insightful to learn about their ecumenical challenges in Korea.” 

Prof. Dr Ani Ghazaryan Drissi, professor of Ecumenical Theology at the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, and WCC programme executive for Ecumenical Theological Education, reflected on the vitality of theological education.

It is vital for the transmission of Christian tradition from one generation to the other; it is essential for the renewal and continuity of the church; it is crucial for the interaction between church and society where many issues demand for a sharpened stand and position of Christianity,” she said. We need an increased commitment towards the ecumenical movement, the unity of the church and its mission in todays world through the theological education to provide awareness and knowledge.”

Visit to Korean observatory brings unification into hearts and minds (WCC feature story, 28 June 2024)

WCC commission opens meeting at historic Yonsei University, with all eyes on education, formation (WCC news release, 25 June 2024)

Photo gallery from the EEF commission meeting in Korea

Learn more about the WCC's Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation