Ideas for "bringing unity down to earth", "communicative action" and a "theology of the wilderness" were among the winning entries submitted for an essay contest on Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21st Century.
The winners, two women and four men, come from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
The essay contest is part of the programme to commemorate the World Council of Churches' (WCC) 60th anniversary. More than 50 young theologians from 36 churches in 24 countries submitted papers.
Participants in the essay contest gave "hope, inspiration and leadership" to the ecumenical movement, WCC general secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia wrote in a letter announcing the six winners. "This is the best birthday gift the WCC could receive".
The winners, whose essays where selected by an international team of WCC executives and Bossey Ecumenical Institute professors, are: Ms Erin Brigham (Roman Catholic Church, USA), Mr Beril Huliselan (Indonesian Christian Church (GKI), Indonesia), Mr Gu Mengfei (China Christian Council, China), Mr Peniel Jesudason Rufus Rajkumar (Church of England, United Kingdom/India), the Rev Chad Rimmer (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, USA/Denmark), and Ms Lucy Wambui Waweru (Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Kenya/Netherlands).
The selected essayists will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas at an international consultation on Ecumenism in the 21st Century, to take place in January 2009 in Belem, Brazil. Theirs and other selected essays will be printed by WCC Publications and published on the WCC website.
"After reading your papers, we are more confident that the one ecumenical movement is the work of the Holy Spirit - created and sustained to make our unity in Christ visible and our witness to the world credible," Dr Kobia wrote to the participants.