WCC chief greets Sami Church festival

By agency reporter
June 23, 2017

At the Sami Church Days in Sweden, a festival held 14-16 June 2017, the World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, described how indigenous people lead the world in caring for creation.

The Sami people are an indigenous people of northern Europe inhabiting lands which today encompass parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

The theme for the festival is Psalm 36:9: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” The verse, Tveit said, is “a fantastic motto that shows how love unites all: God, nature, humankind.”

Caring for the earth means respecting and valuing what God has created, Tveit reflected. “How can we love our neighbours if we don’t care whether there’s something to live from – and live for – on this one planet? How can we love God if we don’t love the world God loves?”

All of this is connected as part of the circle of ideas that we call 'nature' today: earth, plants, animals, air, water, light and darkness, climate, temperature, said Tveit. “It has always been part of our prayers of gratitude to God from humans of all cultures and traditions.”

Indigenous people in particular have had much better expressions for this connection than many others, and know a lot about why loving one’s neighbour, loving God, and loving nature are inseparable concepts, he continued. “We have so much to learn and to do together. Indigenous peoples, their situation, and their challenges have played, and do play an important role in the work of the WCC, and it is an important part of the lives and work of the churches that is expressed through the contributions of indigenous peoples.”

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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