World churches' body puts the accent on youth, justice and peace

By staff writers
January 4, 2015

The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches met last month with representatives of youth organisations to discuss priorities, challenges and common concerns related to youth in the ecumenical movement, as well as possibilities for collaboration.

At the meeting in December 2014 were the General Secretary of the World YWCA, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda; the General Secretary of the World Alliance of YMCAs, the Rev Johan Vilhelm Eltvik; World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) General Secretary, Christine Housel; Fr Dr Ioan Sauca, director of Bossey Ecumenical Institute; and Carla Khijoyan, WCC programme executive for Youth Engagement.

The ecumenical movement is a worldwide association of Christians, with institutional as well as popular expressions, working for Christian unity, common witness and justice and peace for people and planet across an increasingly diverse globe.

After the meeting, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who heads up the WCC, said: “The participants agreed on the necessity of joining efforts related to youth engagement within the ecumenical movement but also in relation to the public sphere.”

Dr Tveit added: “New realities emerging from the lives of our churches and communities require new models of working together in an intergenerational approach based on our shared commitment to Christian faith.”

The WCC General Secretary concluded: “The discussions and reflections will continue in order to develop a common vision of youth engagement in the ecumenical movement within the framework of the pilgrimage of justice and peace.”

Declares the World Council of Churches: "Youth are the future of the church, and they are great advocates for Christian unity. The WCC wants to empower young Christians to liven up the ecumenical movement: as interns at the WCC offices in Geneva, as stewards at major ecumenical events, or as commissioners liaising between youth, churches, WCC governing bodies and WCC programmes."

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