Gathering of world communions focuses on God’s work

The Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions met at the Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches at Bossey, Switzerland, from 30 October-3 November 2023. 

To foster mutual understanding and familiarize participants with each other’s areas of work, each communion presented a report. Morning and evening prayers reflected on ongoing wars and violent conflicts in the world. Participants also received guided tours of the Ecumenical Centre and the United Nations. 

“By listening to what God is doing in each global communion, we identify common challenges and current trends in the Christian church,” says César García, general secretary of the Mennonite World Conference and meeting chair.  

“By praying with and for each other, we nurture our commitment to follow Christ.  

“By deepening our relationships, we witness the gift of unity amid diversity and difference, a witness so much needed in the current world circumstances,” says César García.  

Rev. Dr Ganoune Diop, current secretary of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions and director of public affairs and religious liberty for the worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist Church, says: “This unique yearly gathering is a space where distinguished leaders of Christian world communions engage in bilateral and multilateral dialogues, each communion sharing on their own terms about their ecclesiastical life and work as witnesses to the sovereignty of the triune God and his ultimate purpose to gather the whole world (oikumene) under the lordship of Christ.” 

Since 1957 (except 1960, 1961, 1975), the annual Conference of Secretaries of World Christian Communions brings together representatives from diverse Christian traditions. The World Council of Churches hosted the meeting in 2023. 

“This group does not sign resolutions, engage in common strategic planning or plan of actions. The focus is on relations, on being rather than doing things together,” Rev. Dr Ganoune Diop says. “Mingling with one another helps dispel prejudices and helps us focus on our respective participation in what God is doing in the world.” 

—adapted from a WCC news release with permission