Sisters and brothers, the peace walk is about us marching in the light of God towards the dream of justice, peace and integrity of creation. Therefore “every encounter during this walk in future pilgrimages, is “a sacred encounter” with every man, woman, girl and boy created in the likeness of our God known by many names.
No matter what we face
No matter what we see
No matter what comes our way
No matter how we cry
No matter how we rejoice,
No matter our seemingly desperate and hopeless state of affairs;
One thing I know and believe against all odds, that is definite on our walk, is that our tomorrow must be greater, better and more humane than yesterday and today.
The establishment of the WCC is because our ancestors believed in a peaceful and prosperous future in spite of the World War I and II experiences and devastation inflicted on the people and nature. Our founding mothers and fathers had HOPE. This courageous HOPE is what the future WCC should ensure is anchored within the young generation – anchored inter-generationally amidst the upsurge in nationalism, violence, racism and barriers erected against movement of people. We serve a God who transcends national boundaries; a God who cares for all people and cherishes their human dignity and right to life.
“It always seems impossible until it is done” Nelson Mandela
Unfortunately the wisdom of youth does not receive its due attention in our time. As we walk for peace let us remember that it was the children of the World Student Christian Federation, Young Women and Young Men Christian Associations who were the backbone of and helped found the parent organization, namely the WCC.
May I on behalf of the adults on this walk repent the bureaucratization and tokenization of young people in the ecumenical movement. Our repentance is because the youth were not bystanders of the movement but rather the root and foundation of the ecumenical movement. How then do we overcome marginalization of young people?
The future of the ecumenical movement and engagement of the young men and women in the same is an imperative. Therefore churches and ecumenical structures should not view ecumenism as “an extra other agenda” but core part of the life of the church. While not seeking to relive the past, the ecumenical movement – WCC - needs to go to the places where women, youth and men are and can bring issues of communities to the common table for discussion. It is important to discern what it means to be a student/youth in the 21st century and in a context where culture and education are commodities while the less privileged are enslaved.
To live out our ecumenism in the future requires revisiting our universities, theological colleges in order to ignite the passion for unity and interfaith co-existence. The necessity for awareness creation on ecumenism among youth to become yeast for future ecumenism cannot be overstated. Let us move to the spaces where transformation and formation of leaders who will carry through the vision of ecumenism can be realized. Let us purpose to walk for justice and peace as we lift up new quality and generation of leadership that understands the agenda of the margins in their communities, and globally.
We resolve to continue with the walk of peace and unity informed by current threats to life and the need for diversity in the realm of the web of life and unity that brings us all to the safe space!
Dr Agnes Abuom,
Anglican Church of Kenya
Moderator of the WCC central committee