London meetings build on ecumenical momentum from Paris

December 18, 2015

[World Council of Churches press release] Capitalizing on momentum from the recent COP21 accord in Paris was the focus of a meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace in London on Dec. 16.

The leaders also planned for participation in the next World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in February 2016.

Engagement of faith leaders in framing ethical discourse has a renewed urgency, particularly as implications of the COP21 environmental commitments are considered by leaders in business and finance. Tveit shared his conviction that there is increasing openness by political leaders to listen to the voices of faith communities.

Discussion of the crisis in Syria and ecumenical and interreligious efforts to work toward lasting peace was also a significant feature of the meeting. Tveit said, “The WCC continues to stress the importance of a political process leading to just peace and to present new efforts to address the hope for Christians to remain in the Middle East.”

Relations between the Anglican Communion and the WCC were considered more broadly in a meeting with the secretary general of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, also held during the visit to London. Idowu-Fearon began his term as secretary general six months ago, and this was the first formal meeting with the WCC general secretary.

While in London, Tveit had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church who had participated with Tveit in the high level European meeting on the refugee crisis held in Munich in late October. Bishop Angaelos shared his perspectives on the role of the churches in Europe following the deliberations in Munich, and the leaders explored possible inter-religious responses to the humanitarian emergency.