The World Council of Churches (WCC) “is moving forward on our common pilgrimage, even as we face many challenges,” general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit affirmed in his semi-annual report to the WCC Executive Committee. His presentation on the council’s firm commitment to unity, witness and Christian service was made on Friday 13 November during a meeting of the 25-member governing body in Geneva, Switzerland.

Describing his encounters with Christians and people of other faiths at inter-church and inter-religious gatherings over the past six months, Tveit reviewed how the theme of a “Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” has become “the unifying motif for all our programmatic work”. He added that “the Pilgrimage has been taken into new landscapes, inviting more active partners and accompaniers on our way”. The theme was adopted by the 10th Assembly of the WCC when it met two years ago in Busan, Republic of Korea.

Tveit cited a heartening trend toward unity and close cooperation among Christians, including Orthodox and Catholic churches, Protestants and Pentecostals, independent-minded evangelicals and broad alliances of fellowships and faiths. He described meetings of the Joint Working Group between the WCC and the Roman Catholic Church, of the secretaries of Christian World Communions representing a variety of historical traditions within world Christianity, and also participation in a programme hosted by the Global Christian Forum.

Speaking specifically of this year’s 75th anniversary ceremony in honour of the ecumenical community in Taizé, France, Tveit reflected that “the pilgrimage approach is a proper framework to express our shared spirituality and commitment to work for unity, peace and justice in the world.”

He also spoke of “the great challenges we are addressing through the pilgrimage such as climate change, economic justice, peace and justice in the Middle East, care for refugees, religion and violence” and “the need for a stronger focus on our unity as solidarity and unity of life.”

The Executive Committee will discuss matters raised by the general secretary during the course of their meeting from 13 through 18 November.

WCC Executive Committee

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