The World Council of Churches met in Karlsruhe, Germany. The event brought together nearly 4,000 participants from around the world, representing 352 member churches representing most Christian denominations today. Representatives from the Catholic Church, the Jewish Community, and other religions were also represented at the gathering.
This gathering of the WCC was dedicated to the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” Under this umbrella, the global body addressed many important issues emerging today, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the struggle for human rights by Indigenous Peoples, the growing challenges related to climate change, the need for a new financial architecture for the world, the promotion of social justice, and the quest for gender equaility, among many other topics. Due to the proximity to the area of military conflict in Europe, the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces was once of the most important points of discussion. In his keynote address to the WCC General Assembly, the President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, insisted that the war in Ukraine was a “war of aggression” that required not only thoughts, prayers, and words, but also immediate strong actions. The WCC also had meetings working on theological education. One of the highlights was the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI), which brought together some 100 young theologians from across the globe for six weeks of intense ecumenical sharing and learning – first online for four weeks and then in-person for two weeks. One of the lessons learned during these conversations was on the importance of presenting theological education, not as a homogeneous concept which would be applicable everywhere disregarding the specificities of time and context, but rather as a contextual expression of a decolonized World Christianity.
Among the IAMSCU member institutions presented at the WCC gathering were Reutlingen Theologische Hochschule (Germany), Union Theological Seminary (Philippines). The Rev. Dr. Connie Semy Mella, former Dean of Union Theological Seminary and Executive Director of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s Regional Hub for Leadership Education and Development (LEAD Hub) in the Philippines, was one of the delegates.