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Uppsala 1968: The times, they were a’changing

By rights, it should have been Africa. The World Council of Churches’ (WCC) First Assembly had been held in Europe (Amsterdam), the second in North America (Evanston, USA), the third in Asia (New Delhi). Hopes were raised that Africa would be the next continent to host the council. But questions arose concerning acts of violence and military conflicts in Africa throughout the 1960s, from the Biafran region in Nigeria to Zanzibar and Eritrea, from Algeria to Mozambique and Rhodesia. And so the Fourth Assembly returned to the “safety” of Europe, to Uppsala in Sweden. In one of history’s ironies, Soviet tanks would roll into Prague one month after the assembly’s close.

Assembly participants come together as church families

With over 3,500 participants from all over the world, opportunities for “encounter” are rich and continuous at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) taking place in Karlsruhe, Germany. Intentional gatherings – from small “home” groups to regional meetings also help to connect participants and bring different perspectives to the concerns and hopes being raised under the Assembly theme, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”.

Care for Creation: Decades of ecumenical advocacy

September 1 marks the beginning of the Season of Creation, five weeks in the liturgical calendar recognized by the fellowship of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and, since 2015, by the Catholic Church. It is an especially religious demonstration of concern for the planet and for threats to the survival of Earth as we know it.

Desde las cenizas de la guerra: la primera Asamblea del CMI en Europa – Ámsterdam 1948

Cuando los participantes en la Primera Asamblea del Consejo Mundial de Iglesias (CMI) se reunieron en Ámsterdam en agosto de 1948, los Países Bajos atestiguaban la violencia de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. El puerto de Róterdam resurgía de la casi destrucción. Muchas otras ciudades, pueblos y aldeas de toda Europa estaban luchando por recuperarse. Al este, Alemania y Austria estaban divididas en zonas de ocupación dirigidas por las potencias aliadas. Dos meses antes, las tensiones entre la Unión Soviética y los ocupantes occidentales de la antigua capital alemana dieron lugar al inicio del puente aéreo de Berlín. Desde 1945, las publicaciones han ido incrementando el uso del término "Guerra Fría".

Aus der Asche des Krieges: Die erste ÖRK-Vollversammlung in Europa - Amsterdam 1948

Als die Mitwirkenden an der ersten Vollversammlung des Ökumenischen Rats der Kirchen (ÖRK) im August 1948 in Amsterdam zusammenkamen, zeugten die Niederlande noch von der Gewalt des Zweiten Weltkriegs. Der nahezu vollständig zerstörte Rotterdamer Hafen erstand aus den Ruinen. Viele andere Städte, Gemeinden und Dörfer in ganz Europa mühten sich mit dem Wiederaufbau ab. Östlich von Amsterdam waren Deutschland und Österreich in von den alliierten Streitmächten verwaltete Besatzungszonen aufgeteilt worden. Zwei Monate zuvor hatten die Spannungen zwischen der Sowjetunion und den westlichen Besatzern der ehemaligen deutschen Hauptstadt die Berliner Luftbrücke eingeleitet. Seit 1945 verwendeten Publikationen zunehmend den Begriff „Kalter Krieg“.

Sur les cendres de la guerre: La première Assemblée du COE en Europe – Amsterdam 1948

En tant que participants à la première Assemblée du Conseil œcuménique des Églises, réuni à Amsterdam en août 1948, les Pays-Bas ont témoigné de la violence de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Le port de Rotterdam se relevait après avoir été presque entièrement détruit. Beaucoup d’autres villes et villages en Europe étaient en peine pour se reconstruire. À l’est, l’Allemagne et l’Autriche étaient divisées en zones d’occupation administrées par les puissances alliées. Deux mois plus tôt, les tensions entre l’Union Soviétique et les occupants occidentaux de l’ex-capitale allemande avaient conduit au début du pont aérien de Berlin. Depuis 1945, le terme de «guerre froide» apparaissait de plus en plus souvent dans les publications.

From the Ashes of War: The first WCC Assembly in Europe – Amsterdam 1948

As participants in the First Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) gathered at Amsterdam during August 1948, the Netherlands bore witness to the violence of the Second World War. The port of Rotterdam was rising from near destruction. Many other cities, towns and villages across Europe were struggling to recover. To the east, Germany and Austria were divided into zones of occupation administered by the Allied Powers. Two months earlier, tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western occupiers of the former German capital led to the start of the Berlin Airlift. Since 1945, publications had been increasing their use of the term “Cold War”.

Dr Agnes Abuom reflects on “compassionate love, inclusivity and dignity”—for all

As the World Council of Churches (WCC) focuses on final preparations for the upcoming WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom offered some personal reflections on her leadership role within the WCC, the importance of ecumenical work, the loss of ecumenical luminary Metropolitan Gennadios of Sasima, and the most vital part of her own Christian faith.

Senior friends of WSCF: revisiting the past, creating a future

In 1895, student leaders from ten North American and European countries met at Vadstena Castle in Sweden to form the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). Among its founders were John R. Mott (US), Karl Fries (Sweden), Martin Eckhoff (Norway), Luther D. Wishard (US), Johannes Siemsen (Germany), and J. Rutter Williamson (UK). The WSCF was the first international student organization and together with YMCA and YWCA, it is one of the oldest youth movements still in existence. 

Borders and Migrants

On 20 May 2022, a group of us, 14 pilgrims from different parts of the world (Kenya, Brussels, Germany, Hong Kong, Philippines, Poland, Rome, Korea, Canada, Fiji, Australia, London, Scotland, and Geneva—a very diverse group) gathered in Palermo, Italy for a Pilgrim Team Visit on the theme of migration.