BWA leader advocates Christian unity

Neville Callam tells World Council of Churches gathering that Christian youth should be educated on ecumenical issues. 

By Jeff Brumley

A Baptist and Eastern Orthodox leader spoke on the aspirations and challenges inherent in Christian unity Tuesday during the 10th assembly of the World Council of Churches being held in Busan, South Korea.

Neville Callam, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, joined Metropolitan Nifan of the Romanian Orthodox Church in addressing the plenary session on unity during the assembly, which is held every seven years.

Callam Neville

Their topic was titled “Journey of Fellowship: Hopes and Challenges on the Way,” the WCC said on its website.

According to blogger Alan Abernethy, bishop of the Diocese of Connor in the Church of Ireland, Callam urged Christians to be grateful for the progress already made toward unity.

He also urged Christians to find commonalities on authoritative sources, to foster theological thinking on unity among youth, and “not limit our thinking and actions to being textual,” Abernethy wrote.

“He also prayed God would keep us restless on our journey,” he added.

WCC said the session was held to encourage participants to think through how the global ecumenical movement informs their local contexts and to renew their commitment to Christ’s prayer in the gospel of John “that all may be one, so that the world may believe.”

Other speakers spanned the globe and denominations, including United Methodists and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa. During the session, participants made a plea for the release of two Orthodox bishops abducted and currently missing in Syria.