Youth in the ecumenical movement

This project promotes the active participation of young adults in the life of churches and the ecumenical movement, helping them to network, and enabling them to express their concerns and visions.

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Young people are the present and future of the church, they are great advocates for Christian unity, and they are the strong prophetic voice of today.

The World Council of Churches aims to empower young Christians to energize the ecumenical movement: as interns at the WCC offices in Geneva; as stewards at major ecumenical events; as commissioners liaising among youth, churches, WCC governing bodies and WCC programmes, championing ecumenical action for church and society.

“We, as young Christians, … strive for sustainable and active involvement of young adults in all levels of the WCC by developing leadership skills and advocating for broader participation of youth in the ecumenical movement.… We are called to strengthen the fellowship, build new relations among WCC member churches, continue the dialogue and share with our partner ecumenical organizations.” ECHOS Commission report, May 2015.

The ECHOS Commission consists of 17 young people from a broad cross-section of churches and youth organizations within the ecumenical movement. The commission is regionally balanced, gender-balanced, and enriched with the indigenous voice.

The name ECHOS, which is a transcription of the Greek word Hχος, meaning sound, was taken in 2007, with the explanation: "We realized that our generation did not create many of the structures existing today. We are called to respond to the echoes from the past of those ecumenical leaders ― young and old ― who have gone before us. We must also lay the groundwork for the youth that will come after this generation. So we hope to send our voices as echoes into the future."

The WCC 10th Assembly in Busan affirmed the need to have a body that enables active involvement of young adults and ensures sustainable development of youth engagement within ecumenical movements, the ECHOS Commission.

In 2015, the commissioners stated: “We do not only want to be an echo, we wish to be a real young voice. We are all on a pilgrimage of justice and peace!”

In 2019, in its final meeting before the WCC’s 11th Assembly, the commission reviewed and revised its by-laws to better adapt to the changing times. An emphasis on the name, its more intentional functions, and crucial role in the ecumenical movement are included in the proposed revision.

Members of the ECHOS Commission come from:

  • each of the other WCC commissions,
  • the WCC executive committee, to moderate and provide ongoing follow-up with WCC governing structures,
  • the WCC central committee and member churches,
  • the broader ecumenical constituency.

The ECHOS Commission gathers once every two years, and sponsors three working groups, on communication, ecumenical formation, and networking.

The WCC brings together a regionally and confessionally diverse group of young people to participate in leadership training seminars, and to serve at WCC governing body meetings.

Such meetings provide many opportunities for "on the job" ecumenical formation. Stewards may also participate in other events, like those run by ecumenical youth organizations.

The leadership training seminars equip young people with skills and resources to continue their work on issues important to the churches at the regional and local levels.

Morning Prayer for Wednesday, 2 December 2020

O Lord, you understand the pain and trauma of being sold by those close to you

This week, the first week of Advent, in the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle, we are praying with the people and churches of Myanmar and Thailand.

2 December is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. In a time of physical distancing, let us unite our hearts and minds as we prayerfully seek to overcome Sexual and Gender-Based Violence together.

Prayers were prepared in cooperation with the World YWCA.

Ecumenical movement

Contact us:
youth@wcc-coe.org