Young theologians encouraged to reflect on future of world Christianity

By staff writers
October 14, 2007

Students of theology and young theologians are being invited by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to bring new perspectives and contributions to the debate about the future of the ecumenical movement by participating in an essay competition to mark the Council's 60th anniversary.

Ecumenism is the movement toward inter-Christian cooperation, and also action towards the unity, sustainability, peace and justice of the world in the light of the Gospel's message.

Participants in the contest, both clergy and lay persons, are invited to address the theme “Making a Difference Together – Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21st Century”. The WCC expects to receive a significant number of quality essays reflecting on the theme from different church traditions, contexts and perspectives. The best six essays will be presented by their authors at an international consultation on the same theme to be held in Bossey, Switzerland, in late 2008. Other selected essays will be published by the WCC.

“There can be nothing better than fresh eyes when it comes to looking to the future,” says WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, commenting on the contest. “We hope young theologians and theology students from all over the world will grab this opportunity to bring some new, challenging perspectives to the attention of leading figures within the ecumenical movement,” he adds.

Essays should be written in English. However, they will be judged for the quality of their contribution and not their English language proficiency. With a length of between 5000 and 6000 words, the essays should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. More details and a number of resource documents are available on the WCC website. The deadline is 28 February 2008.

The contest is part of the programme to commemorate the Council’s 60th anniversary in 2008. It will include a celebration at the 13-20 February 2008 meeting of the WCC central committee and the promotion of local celebrations through visits to member churches. Resources for common prayer, Bible study and celebration will be made available to congregations and groups on the WCC website in early 2008.

Formally inaugurated in Amsterdam in 1948, the World Council of Churches has been the churches’ primary instrument to promote the search for Christian unity and to foster common witness and service for sixty years. The Council enters the year of its 60th anniversary with a membership of 347 churches in more than 110 countries and territories. It represents some 560 million Christians.

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