The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches will take place from August 31 to September 8, 2022 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The Focolare Movement has been linked to the WCC for a long time by ties of friendship and collaboration, which continue in this last Assembly.
In a world torn by conflict, wracked by a pandemic that has widened inequalities, overwhelmed by an unprecedented climate crisis, characterized by scientific and technological innovations that often create new disparities between people and regions of the world, does it make any sense talk about unity? And, if so, what contribution can Christians make to achieve it?
These critical issues will be at the heart of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which will take place in Karlsruhr, Germany, from August 31 to September 8, 2022. The Assembly, the highest governing body of the World Council of Churches, Iglesias, is normally convened every eight years. 352 churches now belong to the WCC, in 110 countries, representing around 500 million Christians. The Assembly will bring together around 4,000 participants from all over the world.
Unity, for Christians, is the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Words that inspire confidence in the title of the Assembly: “The love of Christ moves the world to reconciliation and unity”. The work of the Assembly is born from the reflection on the great challenges of the planet that have revealed such vulnerability, as well as ethnic, economic and social divisions and injustices. But that have also highlighted the interdependence of people and peoples; the responsibility we have towards others in a world where no one can save himself. In this context, the Christian Churches come together for prayer and celebration, for reflection and action. It is an opportunity to deepen your commitment to dialogue, visible unity and common witness.
Alongside the official program of delegates there are around 100 workshops and stands organized by various Churches, Communities and Institutions, including the Focolare Movement, sharing their own experience of far-reaching dialogue. The Focolare stand will be supported throughout the Assembly by the “Centro Uno” team (which coordinates the ecumenical activity of the Focolare at an international level), with Focolare members from Germany, Switzerland, Ireland and Romania. On September 5 at 5:00 p.m., they will host a workshop on “Dialogue as a lifestyle: methodology and practice”, offering an experience of dialogue between Christians of different Churches, and between Christians and Muslims. A dialogue that implies the utmost respect for the identity of each one, prioritizing the commitment of theory with life.
The World Council of Churches was born on August 23, 1948, originally with 147 member churches. Its main purpose is to enable dialogue as a path and characteristic of authentic Christian life. The links of the Focolare Movement with the WCC date back to 1967, when the Swiss Reformed theologian Lukas Vischer invited Chiara Lubich to Geneva. On her third visit, in 2002, Chiara also visited the WCC Ecumenical Institute in Bossey. The WCC General Secretary, Rev. Prof. Ioan Sauca, referred on more than one occasion to the importance for the Institute of that meeting with Chiara Lubich and her clarity in addressing the often challenging relationship between identity and unity.
Anna Lisa Innocenti