SEOUL, KOREA — After three intense days with deep discussions and productive sessions, the bi-annual meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS Commission came to an end recently. Fourteen young committee members and staff from 20 different countries all over the world had gathered in Seoul, Korea to further strengthen the WCC young peoples movement and continue the pilgrimage of justice and peace.
This year’s meeting was appropriately arranged directly after a weeklong pilgrimage in Korea of 80 youngsters from all over the world, in which commissioners also participated. Under the theme “Walking with peace, Reclaiming Hope,” they walked in solidarity along the Demilitarized Zone and other sites to learn more about peace, healing and reconciliation in Korea.
“This arrangement provided an opportunity for commissioners to follow a diverse group of youths and engage in dialogue with them. As a commission, it is crucial for us to always stay in touch with realities and to listen to the people we actually serve,” says Rev. Martina Viktorie Kopecka, moderator of ECHOS.
These events also coincided with the International Youth Day on 12 August and Korea Liberation Day on 15 August marking its independence from Japan.
During the three days of meeting, the members of ECHOS Commission went through bylaws, shared debriefs of youth pilgrimages and reported back from commissions and reference groups.
“We are taking important steps in strengthening the influence of the young Christian generation,” Kopecka says.
Particular attention was paid to the upcoming WCC Assembly in September 2021, including a planned pre-assembly youth gathering.
“In addition to the value itself of bringing young people together, this will be a golden opportunity to advance a youth agenda and increase the visibility of WCC youth programmes,” Kopecka explains.
A strategy for how to effectively communicate with young people around the 11thWCC assembly and inspire them to engage will be presented in September this year.
Finally, in a prayer, the ECHOS Commission expressed its solidarity with the churches and peoples in Hong Kong.
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TheWorld Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.