“A key element of the stewards programme is the ecumenical formation, in which stewards participate in a weeklong series of sessions and workshops about the ecumenical movement. In collaboration with the Ecumenical Institute-Bossey, we wish to continue this component of the young people’s growth in knowing the ecumenical movement and continually owning their space in the Fellowship,” said Joy Eva Bohol, WCC programme executive for Youth Engagement.
WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca welcomed the stewards as the first generation to serve an ecumenical meeting in cyberspace.
Fitting to our future role as stewards
Annika Mathews, one of the participants from the Church of England highlighted: “I especially enjoyed the living library session where everyone was able to talk about a topic, they were passionate about - these included gender justice, reconciliation, ecumenism and people's journeys in faith. It was special to worship together and share in a Bible study together on stewardship - fitting to our future role as stewards. I look forward to attending the assembly in Karlsruhe next year and meeting the others in person.”
The stewards programme also includes participation in the ecumenical youth gathering and work at the 11th WCC Assembly. Stewards will arrive in Karlsruhe a week prior to the assembly to learn about the ecumenical movement and to participate in the pre-assembly gathering.
The stewards also had the opportunity to attend some of the plenaries of the online WCC central committee as observers.
Camila Felix from the Iglesia Evangélica Metodista de Almagro, shared her reflection about the orientation, highlighting how important it was for her to see the commitment of other young fellow stewards from different parts of the world. “At the Methodist church in Argentina, I believe that with the passing of the years, an increasing issue is the loss of youth in our churches. However, after listening to the other stewards, I was overwhelmed by this feeling I had every time I went to the youth national gatherings in my country. It was so comforting, at the orientation, to be surrounded by people who shared my love for Christ and where we listened about how the WCC was addressing international issues—such as gender equality, racism, environmental problems, and the like—also from a religious and spiritual perspective, that I was reassured in my faith. Regardless of the denominations each of us belong to, I knew, after those three days, that God will always guide us to others who wish to follow its path, and we will never be left alone in our journey of faith,” she said.
Yu-Yu Chuang, from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan also shared, “I was once confused about what I should do in the next step of my life, and the sharing reminded me to use the gifts that God has given me. Moreover, the sessions gave me great opportunities to learn more about how young people can engage in the ecumenical movement.”
Key attributes of stewards are patience and the ability to work with people from other countries and cultures as a team.
As a diverse community, stewards bring their faith, experiences and visions to an ecumenical experience of togetherness and friendship.
Understanding the role of youth
WCC looks for young people capable of integrating their experience back in their local contexts, motivated to multiply the ecumenical enthusiasm, ready to “do ecumenism” locally. Additionally, these young people need to commit time, energy, skills, knowledge and visions to building up the ecumenical movement in all its aspects; as well as being leaders in their churches, communities, organisations and in the ecumenical movement.
Samuel Williams, from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa shared his observations from the orientation saying: “This was an intense three days, but a great opportunity to meet as an international group of youth involved in the ecumenical movement. It was especially encouraging to learn how vital youth engagement and leadership continue to be in the work of the WCC. Two sessions I found particularly formative were, “History of the ecumenical movement” led by Rev. Dr Simone Sinn, and an introduction to the “WCC governing bodies and structure” from Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus.”
Williams added that “It was also great to hear about the preparations for the assembly in Karlsruhe 2022, and see firsthand the enthusiasm for this event from all the WCC staff. Overall, this was a brilliant programme which renewed my enthusiasm in the global ecumenical movement.”
Bohol noted that “being a steward will push you to be in uncomfortable spaces; will foster your involvement and participation in the wider ecumenical movement, and may redefine your life.”
The WCC stewards programme aims to bring together a dynamic and diverse group of 160 young people from all over the world, from 21 August to 10 September 2022 for the WCC 11th Assembly.
Click here to watch the video of Stewards sharing their experiences
Youth in the ecumenical movement
Stewards bring fresh perspective to WCC as they convene online- WCC News release 14 June 2021
Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity: A reflection on the theme of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Karlsruhe 2022
Discover more about the Assembly theme and symbol
Learn more on the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches