Tveit addresses global security issues at YorkWCC logo Minster, UK

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit at York Minster, UK. Courtesy Johan Bergström-Allen

Global security has been a key concern of the ecumenical movement for more than a century, and was in many ways integral to the very formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in the mid 20th century.

On 6 April, WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit addressed this very issue in a contribution to York Minster’s lecture series Global Security and the United Nations: 70 years on, in York, UK.

In his speech, entitled WCC and the UN: common heritage and shared challenges, Tveit noted that “The pursuit of peace and justice has been an integral part of the WCC’s mission since its foundation, and the historical context in which the WCC was born has had a profound and lasting impact on its life and work”.

Tveit continued, “But even in the process of its formation, the WCC was confronted with and obliged to respond to the reality of war and its consequences, genocide and other crimes against humanity, and mass movements of refugees and displaced people.”

Today, “the WCC continues to play an important role in promoting accountability to the provisions of international human rights law through national and international processes, and regularly cooperates with the UN, regional inter-governmental human rights bodies, and other international non-governmental organizations dedicated to the cause of human rights”, said Tveit.

“The past seventy years have imposed severe tests on the intention of this fellowship of churches to witness credibly to the universality of Christ's church in a divided world and to God's purpose for the whole of humankind and creation”, Tveit reflected, and continued by saying that nonetheless, “communities of faith are, at a very fundamental level, communities of trust and hope – and our characteristic message and contribution must reflect this. Hope is a defining quality of faith.”

“Moreover, true hope is never only for me and my own community; it is anchored in a transformational event that has universal implications. Accordingly, I believe that if it is not a hope for all, it is not a real hope, and it is not a Christian hope. And a necessary condition for hope is that it expresses itself in love for others, whoever and wherever they are.”

“On the firm foundation of our own faith principles and commitments, we can join the UN in recognizing our common heritage and trajectory, and in confronting the daunting challenges ahead. We work for the realization of peaceful, just and inclusive societies. That is why we call one another to be on a pilgrimage of justice and peace. For all.”, Tveit concluded.

Full speech: WCC and the UN: Common heritage and shared challenges

WCC Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace

York Minster’s lecture series Global Security and the United Nations: 70 years on


11 April 2016

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