Friday, 22 August 2008

The WCC turns 60

On August 23rd the World Council of Churches will be 60.

On August 22nd (today!) the creation of the WCC is to be commemorated by a select gathering at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, Netherlands. At the church where the opening service of the WCC's founding assembly took place exactly 60 years earlier, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will receive the first copy of the jubilee book "The Ecumenical Movement at a Crossroads". Both the book, a collection of essays by personalities connected to the ecumenical movement, including Nelson Mandela, and the anniversary event focus on the role of the churches in today's world, particularly in the field of international relations. With gratitude to the "Dutch churches and ecumenical friends" that have sponsored and planned the Amsterdam event, Kobia stated: "Today the challenges of seeking visible unity appear to be even stronger but we, nevertheless, look to the next sixty years with hope and confidence as we are inspired by the spirit of our ecumenical ancestors who made Amsterdam 1948 possible." A documentary about the WCC to be aired by the Dutch national TV channel Nederland 2 on Sunday, 24 August, is one of the broadcasts in different countries covering the anniversary.
A radio service, led by the former director of the WCC's humanitarian and refugee services Rev. Myra Blyth, will be broadcast by the BBC's Radio 4, on 24 August. The programme, with contributions from the WCC president from Europe, Dame Mary Tanner as well as WCC staff and students of the Council's Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, will also be made available on the BBC website.