"Divisions between churches remain a scandal that we have to overcome," Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) said today at an ecumenical preparatory event for the "Pilgrimage of the Holy Robe".
Tveit made these points in his speech on “ecumenism in motion” at the International Ecumenical Forum taking place from 30 January to 3 February in Trier, Germany.
The event was organized by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trier in partnership with the Evangelical Church in Rhineland, the Orthodox Bishops’ Conference in Germany and other church organizations, focusing on the theme, “And join together what is separated”.
The theme was based on the woven fabric of the robe worn by Jesus before his crucifixion (John 19:23).
In his speech, Tveit called ecumenical dialogue a key to addressing changes in our societies and communities. He stressed that strategic cooperation requires a strong “will to stay together and to search for unity”, adding that “visible unity must remain our goal.”
“Unity among the churches is a gift of God and a calling to be received so that the churches are the living mystery, the sign and instrument of God’s reign to come and contribute through their very being to reconciliation and healing of the world that is suffering from injustice, war, and environmental destruction,” he said.
Tveit also introduced to the audience the theme of the upcoming 10th Assembly of the WCC in Busan, Korea: “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. He called this theme an opportunity to address the challenges faced in the life of the planet and the future of the churches.
“The Assembly theme is a liberating statement at a time in history when part of humanity has accumulated the power to alter and destroy life on planet earth as we know it,” he said.
“Praying that the God of life will lead us to justice and peace as one fellowship, the churches are giving account of their hope,” Tveit added.