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WCC head tells Vatican newspaper, shared communion is his goal :: Asia Lutheran Communion :: Communication Creates Communion

Topic: Ecumenical

WCC head tells Vatican newspaper, shared communion is his goal

Posted by: LWF-Asia on Jan 27, 2008 – 11:30 PM | Read 1059 times

Rome (ENI). The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, hopes that by the middle of the 21st century Christians will have reached a level of unity so that they can share Holy Communion together.

Kobia said this in a front page interview published in the official Vatican daily newspaper l’Osservatore Romano dated 25 January, the day the WCC leader will pray together with Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The newspaper appeared in Rome on 24 January.

"My vision for the ecumenical movement is that by the mid-21st century we will have reached a level of unity such that Christians everywhere regardless of their confessional affiliations, can pray and worship together and feel welcome to share in the Lord’s Table at every church," said Kobia.

Neither the Roman Catholic Church nor Eastern Orthodox churches allow other Christians to share in their ceremonies of celebrating the Eucharist, the sacrament that commemorates Jesus’ last supper and in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.

Kobia says he hopes that by the example of Christians sharing in the Eucharist together, "the Church can help humanity to overcome all divisions and the people of the world be able to live together in peace and harmony regardless of their backgrounds and identities. Towards that end I am convinced that the relationship between the WCC and Rome needs to be stronger and deeper in the coming years. Personally I am committed to take that relationship to greater heights."

Kobia, a Methodist from Kenya, who in 2004 became the first African to head the WCC noted that 100 years ago, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was challenging the hatred and enmity that pushed so-called Christian nations into the First World War.

"Ecumenical cooperation and the search for unity among the churches has definitely played a role in overcoming the heritage of two world wars and building peaceful relationships in Europe," said the WCC leader. "Who would have thought at the beginning of the last century that only some decades later Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed, Methodists, Baptists and churches of other traditions would be working together in the World Council of Churches?

"Surely, the Second Vatican Council was a watershed and opened the door to meaningful ecumenical co-operation between the Roman Catholic Church and many of the member churches of the WCC."

The WCC brings together 347 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing more than 560 million Christians and includes most of the world’s Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. The Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC but cooperates with it in many areas, and has members on a number of its committees.

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