The World Council of Churches' (WCC) General Secretary has encouraged churches to continue their journeys towards justice and peace.
He was preaching at an ecumenical celebration in the Cathedral of Lausanne, Switzerland, highlighting the theme of the WCC’s upcoming Busan assembly.
Held on 1 September 2013, the service was organised by the Council of Christian Churches in Switzerland, the Community of Christian Churches in the canton of Vaud (CECCV) and the WCC. Speakers also included officials of the Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions.
The event celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Community of Christian Churches in the canton of Vaud as well as ecumenical work of the Swiss churches spanning many years.
The celebration gathered more than a hundred representatives of Swiss churches of diverse denominations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical and Pentecostal, as well as members of international ecumenical organisations based in Geneva.
Special prayers were offered for the Swiss delegates to the WCC assembly.
The 10th Assembly of the WCC will take place from 30 October to 8 November in Busan, Republic of Korea. The assembly will address the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
The Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the WCC's General Secretary, called the Busan assembly “a pilgrimage of justice and peace”.
“This pilgrimage has profound consequences for how we live our faith as congregations and churches, individually and together, and in relationship with people of other cultures and religions. Keeping ‘the least of these’ in our field of vision will influence the paths of peace that we ultimately will take on the pilgrimage,” he said.
At the celebration, Martin Hirzel of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, said, “‘God of life, lead us to justice and peace’ is a prayer of koinonia for the churches, who are determined to stay together despite their differences, because God is greater than their differences.”
“It is a prayer for the unity expressed by the churches in their own contexts and a shared vision for justice and peace that will lead them towards the kingdom of God,” he added.
The Rev Jean-Jacques Meylan, the CECCV president, also addressed the ecumenical celebration. He said, “The cross of Christ brings us together as churches to celebrate our efforts for justice and peace in our communities, societies and the world at large.”
He added that churches participating in a common ecumenical celebration show that we are all part of the divine mystery of the God of life, who we pray will lead us towards justice and peace.
"By listening to the word of God, prayer and reflection, we discover the source of our commonalities together in our faith,” said Charles Morerod, Catholic bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg.
He stressed that theology must be understood in the sense of making contact with God. It is a source of spiritual ecumenism without which the very idea of Christian unity would be incomprehensible, added Morerod.
Among other speakers and participants at the celebration were Beatrice Metraux, a government official from the canton of Vaud, Metropolitan Jeremy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Switzerland and the Rev Adèle Kelham of the Anglican Church.