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Study trip to Rome testifies that ecumenical engagements can move forward

Our successful visit to Rome with various ecumenical deliberations itself testifies that ecumenical engagements can move forward despite the pandemic. The launch of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity document “Ecumenism in a Time of Pandemic: From Crisis to Opportunity,” followed by an ecumenical panel discussion, helped us to understand how different churches have approached the pandemic. 

Happy Birthday, Dear WCC!

You are very much needed. You are very much appreciated. You are very much discussed. You are bringing the fellowship of churches together through prayers, discussions, reflections, and actions in consensus.

Bethany Seminary students creatively explore hospitality in the neighborhood—and across the world

These days, we are all swimming in the murky waters of theological, political, and social division. Swamped by waves of conflict and pulled down by undercurrents of dysfunction, it is reasonable to fear for the future of our communities of faith. But thats not the end of the story. As president of Bethany Theological Seminary, an agency of the Church of the Brethren, I have found a deep, clear reservoir of hope in the witness and work of our students and alumni.

Less COVID-19 cases, more “hope cases”

The Uruguayan Council of Christian Churches (CICU, by its Spanish acronym), the only ecumenical organization in the country, hosted an online gathering during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It took place last 26 May at 7:30pm (local time) via Zoom. I had the immense joy of participating as a Catholic communicator, currently serving as correspondent for SIGNIS ALC (Latin-American and Caribbean Association of Catholic Communication) and as vice president of SIGNIS Uruguay (the Uruguayan Association of Catholic Communicators).

Week of Prayer brings fruits of the Spirit despite COVID-19

Prayer is a powerful way to be united as Christians from all over the world. Every year my church community in Cuba joins the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with daily devotions and a special worship service, usually on Sundays. Being connected in the same prayerful spirit around a common text that turns into so many testimonies of faith is truly a gift of the Spirit and an ecumenical commitment.

Still together as one

“Abide in my love… you shall bear much fruit” (John 15:1-17) is an especially relevant theme for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In many places of the world, COVID-19 remains a pandemic, creating emergency measures, separating people from one another. Isolation, while deemed scientifically necessary, leaves scars on the hearts of those who wish to encounter the other, particularly within the context of the church. How can we enjoy fellowship while we are apart?

Sailing on a wave of prayer

Do we discern the work of the Holy Spirit in the unsettling times that the world experiences these days? I’d like to share a little example:

Our brainstorm for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021 began three years before. The liturgy and prayers—so carefully prepared with help of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity—presented in the booklet of 2021, were being read and appreciated by many already in the process of preparation!

Reflection from a Bossey graduate on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

At the end of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, even though we could not be in Rome as we had hoped, my fellow students at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Bossey Ecumenical Institute and I were thrilled to be able to participate online with two services: the WCC’s Global Ecumenical Prayer and the Vatican’s Vespers for the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul live from the Basilica of St Pauls Outside-the-Walls. Both services reflected on a reading from John 15 – from which was taken this year’s Week of Prayer theme: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.”

Systematically challenged to mutual love

This year, I received as a gift the book “My Ecumenical Journey” by the founder of the Focolare Movement Chiara Lubich (1920-2008). The compilation of reflections about ecumenism are accompanying my morning meditation before I start to work.
One year ago, I joined the communication department of the World Council of Churches, a membership organization that works for unity between churches from different Christian denominations.

God, faith and church life under question in a time of a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the political, economic and social life of a troubled world, already suffering by the financial crisis and imposed neoliberal austerity measures. With this current crisis, a strange unity has risen; a unity in fear of illness and death, anxious uncertainty for the future and collective mourning for the tens of thousands of deaths.

I have a dream

Using Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, I crafted the following text to reflect the timelessness of Dr King’s speech, and to share my own personal dream within my context of the Holy Land. I am attempting to honor the original words of Dr King while, at the same time, making it clear that his passion and unflagging determination are still badly needed today. May the spirit of our dreams find unity in pursuing peace and justice for all human beings.

The architect of the ecumenical movement of the twentieth century

There is a saying that “people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. There are undoubtedly many things we could aspire to learn when it comes to the possibilities of learning from history and the people that left a legacy of their work, setting foundations for the future in which is now our present.

Prayer for unity in many voices

Indeed, the end is another beginning. The end of Bossey students’ itinerary, not only in Rome but also in their community life at the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, somehow coincided with the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which we celebrated at the Basilica of St Paul’s Outside-the-Walls. For the twenty-eight Bossey students coming from various nations, racial-ethnic groups, Christian denominations, geo-cultural locations, the study visit to Vatican and Rome was also marking the very last stage of their brief yet intense community life at Bossey.