Rev. Dr. Olav Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, gave the sermon at an Ecumenical Multicultural service held at St. Stephens’ Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia on 16 October. A video of the service was live-streamed on the web, and has been archived at http://livestream.com/accounts/5690925/events/6493917 with the transcript of his sermon at www.oikoumene.org. Worship was enhanced by the Auburn Uniting Church Youth Choir as well as the Fijian, Tongan, and Korean Choirs. This sermon was the culmination of the general secretary’s pilgrimage of unity, justice and peace to churches in Australia, and centered around the theme of the way to Emmaus (Luke 24). Tveit emphasized that the ecumenical movement is:
“…by its very nature the people of faith, or even of doubt, that get together, walking, talking, working, eating together – experiencing that God has something more for us to understand, to see, and to love – so our hearts might be burning.”
It is a movement we make together as followers of Jesus Christ, as churches, to show that we are given something new and something so costly and important, that we have to share it with one another, and with those who live in this world with us, added Tveit. “We are in this movement sharing the joy, the justice, and the peace of God.”
We often need the presence of the other, also the unknown other, to see the truth, he continued. “And we are called to share the truth. The truth is something we owe each other, the truth about ourselves and about God.”
Stuart McMillan, president of the Uniting Church in Australia, and Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Pastor Ray Minniecon were also leaders in the ecumenical multicultural service. McMillan likened ecumenism to a journey, where together all carry the cross with those who suffer, in a pilgrimage of justice and peace.
The WCC story was originally posted 17 October at www.oikoumene.org with additional information from The Uniting Church in Australia.