Joining the World Council of Churches for the first time

"The love of Christ moves, reconciles, and unites the world"—so reads the motto of the current assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC). And for the first time, the New Apostolic Church is among the guests.

Sweets: the Association of Christian Churches in Germany presents its members with a wide variety of sweets. The New Apostolic Church’s jar happens to contain some delicious fruit gummies in the shape of pacifiers. After all, the NAC is the youngest addition to the umbrella organisation.

Participation with observer status

Every eight years, the World Council of Churches convenes a plenary assembly. In 2022, the WCC will meet for the first time in Germany—at the invitation of no less than the ACC, the Protestant Churches, the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine, and the Reformed Evangelical Church of Switzerland, among others. Some 4,000 guests from 350 member churches have been meeting in the city of Karlsruhe since 31 August, and will continue until 8 September.

This time the participants also include retired Apostle Volker Kühnle, the previous Chairman of the Ecumenism Project Group and the Contacts with other Denominations and Religions Work Group. He is on site as the official observer for the New Apostolic Church. In its endeavours to clearly delineate the New Apostolic Church from other denominations in the 1960s, the Church leadership had decided against membership in the World Council of Churches at the time.

Host for “justice and peace”

The central meeting point of the General Assembly is the “fountain”, a place of encounter and exchange on the fairgrounds. The programme includes workshops, exhibitions, and stage performances. The actual plenary sessions of the General Assembly also take place on the exhibition grounds. Of course, there is also a focus on spiritual life—featuring Bible studies, divine services, prayers, and devotionals, as well as opportunities to sing and make music together.

Other venues in the city centre offer a wide range of opportunities to come together, including the New Apostolic congregation in Karlsruhe Central. For ten days it is open for visitors to come and explore the theme of “Justice and peace”. Last Saturday, the New Apostolic Church took the opportunity to introduce itself to all interested parties.

The agenda also includes political subjects

One of the first highlights of the big event was the traditional “Day of Creation”, which the ACC celebrated this time as part of the General Assembly. Its motto is consciously based on the WCC motto: “God's love reconciles and unites the suffering creation”. The day came to a close with an ecumenical service in the market square in Karlsruhe.

On the third day, the war in Ukraine featured as a central theme in the plenary session of the World Council of Churches. Church leaders and ecumenical leaders stressed the need for reconciliation, unity, and building peace.

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Andreas Rother
Denominations, International