WCC commission reflects on challenges of ecumenical formation

By agency reporter
October 12, 2017

“Ecumenism without youth is ecumenism without a future”, said Prof. Dr Esther Mombo at the opening of the annual meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation (CEEF), being held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 9-13 October 2017.

The meeting in Romania is being held at the Orthodox Faculty of Theology of the Archdiocese of Cluj/University of Cluj and was opened with greetings from Metropolitan Andrei in the presence of faculty and students.

Those gathered are discussing challenges and trends in theological education, as well as creative ways to relate educational curricula to a pilgrimage of justice and peace. They also will explore how theological formation and education fosters creation of a just society and relationships between genders, races and people.

The agenda also includes receiving an update on the Network of Institutions of Higher Ecumenical Theological Education and the preparations for the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute 2018.

The CEEF is also visiting leaders from local churches (Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Reformed/Lutheran) and a monastery. A panel discussion with local theologians on challenges and opportunities for ecumenical education and formation is also part of the programme.

Mombo, from the Anglican Church of Kenya, vice-moderator of CEEF, has been vocal in the efforts of the commission to find new ways of talking and teaching ecumenism to young people and also new ways of mentoring those emerging in the ecumenical movement.

The CEEF advises the WCC Central Committee regarding the WCC’s programmes related to Education and Ecumenical Formation (EEF).

For the Rev Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner, who moderates the commission, “the annual gathering provides an opportunity for fostering relationships, sharing faith and spirituality and, on these grounds, reflecting on cooperation between churches, theological faculties and related institutions as we seek to promote and enhance the nurturing of the whole people of God”, he said.

Reflecting on current challenges for ecumenical theological education, von Sinner, who is from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil, stressed issues of the sustainability of theological institutions and the arrival of new confessional groups, such as Pentecostals, entering theological education.

“In collaboration with member churches, other churches, ecumenical partners, academic institutions, and networks, the CEEF aims to foster the understanding and practice of ecumenical learning and to support the churches' ministry of ecumenical education and formation within the Christian community and the world”, said Fr. Ioan Sauca, WCC Deputy General Secretary.

“The commission also aims to promote ecumenical theological education and ministerial formation, helping churches and their congregations to be inclusive learning communities; form ecumenical leaders, both clergy and lay, for service in parishes, classrooms and ecumenical centres around the world through the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey and to reflect on and respond to emerging educational needs and developments”, added Sauca.

* More on the WCC Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation  here

* 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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