GETI experience leads theological students to put ecumenism into practice

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In a final message to the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) held in Busan, Republic of Korea, the 170 participants in the  Global Ecumenical Theological Institute (GETI), held prior to and during the assembly, affirmed that they “believe in the future of the ecumenical movement.”

The letter, addressed to WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said the group was intent on “putting into practice” what they had been studying during their two weeks in Korea and called on the WCC to continue the GETI education model for future ecumenical formation.

The short-term institute attracted widespread attention and involved two weeks of intensive study, with lectures and seminars concluding on 9 November at the close of the WCC assembly.

The student body represented a broad array of university-level students and seminarians from churches around the world, including evangelical, Protestant, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and Orthodox.

Operating the institute in the midst of the WCC assembly, where some 2,700 church leaders and lay persons from the 345 member churches of the WCC were gathered from 30 October to 8 November, was as good as taking the classroom into the field setting.

In their letter to the assembly, the participants said, “There is a great need for theological education pursued in an ecumenical and dialogical way.  We recognize the significance of a forum like GETI for the formation of future ecumenical leaders and we call on the WCC for the continuation of the GETI as part of its programme.”

GETI experience leads theological students to put ecumenism into practice

The planner of GETI, Dr Dietrich Werner, programme executive for the WCC Ecumenical Theological Education programme (ETE), said the institute offered an important investment in ecumenical learning.

“Together with its analogous Korea Ecumenical Theological Institute (KETI) of 150 Korean students accompanied by Korean faculty,  GETI has responded to the desire of many young theologians from churches all over the world for ecumenical bodies such as the WCC and regional ecumenical organizations to invest in strategic Christian leadership formation and forums of global ecumenical learning in the years to come,” Werner said.

The participants of GETI still have their work cut out for them as during the next few months they must write a major report on both the GETI experience and the assembly for their sending colleges, universities, churches and supporting agencies.

The GETI curriculum also requires students to write a major essay by the end of the year on one of the key themes of the assembly and the content of the GETI curriculum materials as a way of deepening the learning and insights in the ecumenical learning process.

The GETI keynote lectures can be found on the WCC YouTube channel, including a short "webisode" on the GETI working process.

Source: (Nov. 15, 2013)