World urgently needs transformative ecumenism, keynote speaker notes as consultation opens in Nairobi

by Cheon Young Cheol

A consultation leading to the global launch of the Transformative Ecumenism (TE) movement opened on Thursday, August 17, 2023, at the Desmond Tutu Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the consultation is “Life with Justice and Dignity for All.”

Convened by the Council for World Mission (CWM) in partnership with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the consultation brought together 60 participants from different faith-based organizations, theological institutions, churches, and civil society organizations from 26 countries.

The participants were welcomed by Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum, General Secretary of CWM, and Dr Sudipta Singh, Deputy General Secretary for Programmes of CWM. Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, General Secretary of the AACC, and Rev. Dr Lesmore G. Ezekiel, the Director of Programmes of the AACC, also made welcoming remarks.

The keynote address was delivered by Rev. Lydia Chemei, an ordained minister in the Reformed Church of East Africa (RCEA) and a doctoral student at St Paul’s University, Kenya.

In her address, Rev. Chemei described herself as an African woman with an inclination to postcolonial and womanist criticism. She emphasized the need to embrace the changing dynamics around global ecumenism, saying that the TE movement is urgently needed to address the challenges facing the world today, such as troubling economic trends, repressive governments, climate change, and unethical leadership.

The keynote address was followed by panel discussions focused on “Naming the Challenges” and “Addressing Legacies: Colonialization and Slavery”. The consultation continues until Saturday, August 19.

According to the Concept Paper of the consultation, the launch of Transformative Ecumenism in the continent of Africa will be informed by the diversity, complexity, and global nature of Christianity in the 21st century.

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