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“Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity” (Church & Society)

September 1, 2022

Over 3000 participants from churches and denominations around the world gathered in Karlsruhe, Germany for opening day yesterday for prayers and deliberation on the future of the Christian Church. The Assembly provides a unique opportunity for church leaders to deepen their commitment to visible unity and common witness.

“This event is intended to be a celebration of faith, of interaction, of exchange.” Keynote German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated during the German Welcome Plenary.

This year there are 30 United Methodists participating in the Assembly including retired UMC Bishop Sally Dyck, who serves on the World Council of Churches Central Committee; Chair of the Church and Society Board of directors; and Ecumenical Officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops. Also in attendance is retired UMC Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, who serves as vice-moderator of the World Council of Churches Executive Committee. Joining them as Assembly participants from Church and Society are The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary and The Rev. Dr. Levi Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs.

According to event organizers, the World Council of Churches are relieved to gather for the first time since 2013, postponed due to Covid and different from their usual 8-year hiatus. “None of us anticipated COVID and the need to postpone this assembly – changing so much from in-person to online was challenging,” said Bishop Mary Anne Swenson. “Above all, we were reminded that nothing – not death nor life, nothing present, nor those to come, not even COVID, nothing can separate us from God’s love.”

Beginning with the purpose of God’s love in Christ for the Whole Creation and ending with Christian Unity and the Churches’ Common Witness, five Thematic Plenaries will be held throughout the session, each day encompassing daily sets of scripture.

View here for a complete timeline of the assembly. The full resource book for 2022’s assembly with an in-depth look at the assembly process including background documents can be found here.

To follow via live stream and recorded videos through September 8, visit the World Council of Churches’ website, here.