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WCC general secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit (left), with Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja. © WCC/Marianne Ejdersten

WCC general secretary, Olav Fykse Tveit (left), with Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja. © WCC/Marianne Ejdersten

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Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), visited Finland this week, and spoke to the Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, about the situation in Ukraine and in the Middle East. Tveit was also one of the key speakers at the global partnership consultation organized by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (ELCF) from 31 March to 3 April in Järvenpää.

”The world does not need another cold war. We have to build bridges between people, churches, religions and countries,” Tveit said at the meeting with Tuomioja.

Tveit also updated Tuomioja on the work of the WCC.

Present at the meeting were Rev. Dr Simon Peura, bishop of the diocese of Lappo and member of the WCC Central Committee, and Rev. Dr Kimmo Kääriäinen, the ELCF’s executive director in the department of International Relations.

The WCC general secretary and other staff members attended the global partnership consultation titled “Your Kingdom Come” organized by the ELCF. Tveit spoke at the consultation addressing the theme “Challenges and opportunities of global Christianity”.

"The modern missionary movement was born out of the evangelical awakening in Europe in the context of western expansionism and against the background of the enlightenment.”

“With a sense of urgency, the willingness to share the gospel with others - in words and deeds - became a strong commitment amongst many believers,” Tveit said.

“After the Second World War, the decline of the modern missionary era began to show up clearly. A deep sense of guilt also overwhelmed the missionary movement and resulted in missionaries' withdrawal. As one era in missions declined, a new era of world mission emerged,” he added.

Tveit went on to say that “in the midst of this transformation, there developed the ecumenical missiology, founding on the following principles; mutuality, sharing and partnership.”

“A true partnership means journeying together in our pilgrimage for justice and peace, together towards God's kingdom, searching, bringing and sharing the values of the kingdom of God."

“The world needs the best of religious values. To implement these values, how should we speak with authenticity and reach out with the gospel today? It is important not to see secularism only as negative; it is also a challenge: How are we to express Christian faith more authentically?” Tveit asked.

“Your Kingdom Come” consultation was an occasion to discuss the challenges and opportunities churches face in today’s world and finding responses to common concerns.

The ELCF works with seven mission organizations, with more than three hundred missionaries serving around the world. The consultation has gathered more than 35 ELCF partner churches, representatives of ecumenical organizations like the WCC, the Lutheran World Federation, the Conference of European Churches and Finnish organizations.

Mission of the church analyzed at Finnish church consultation (WCC news release of 3 April 2014)

“Your Kingdom Come” ELFC partnership consultation 2014

Ecumenical perspectives on mission and unity

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