GENEVE, Nov. 28, 2016 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Roman Catholics and Lutherans, in committing to forging ahead as pilgrims together, are significantly contributing to the wider ecumenical movement, acknowledged the World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee last week at its meeting in China.
Photo: At the joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the Reformation. © Mikael Stjernberg/WCC
With celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation underway, the WCC executive committee recognized a commitment signed by Pope Francis and Lutheran World Federation (LWF) president Bishop Dr Munib Younan, a commitment and common way expressed in the publication "From Conflict to Communion."
The WCC executive committee noted that the commemoration was prepared and pursued in the spirit of being pilgrims together, wrote the executive committee in a letter to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the LWF. "Recognizing accountability for the divisions of the past, and mutual sharing of the gifts of the Gospel now, were done with a sense of humility and commitment to follow Jesus Christ together."
The churches' openness to one another and to how God is leading them to new expressions of unity are signs of hope for the churches and for the world, wrote the WCC executive committee, which invited all churches to join in a pilgrimage of justice and peace.
"We find that the common prayer and commitment to the communion that you already share, is a visible expression of how this pilgrimage finds new forms and meaning."
The WCC executive committee also acknowledged that there is still a need for renewing the challenges of the Reformation in the present time. "There are so many examples of the imperative to address human sinfulness in an accountable way, and to search for real repentance from greed, from violence and from actions of injustice," reads the letter. "Inspired and empowered by the justice and peace of God, we continue our ecumenical pilgrimage together."
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, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.