The annual conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions took place in Rome on October 11–13, 2016. This unformal ecumenical forum that goes back to 1957 sees itself as “communions of Churches belonging to the same tradition and held together by this common heritage, conscious of living in the same universal fellowship and giving to this consciousness at least some structured visible expression” (Study Encounter, IV, 1, 1968, p. 46).
The annual conference is an occasion for participating secretaries to inform each other about important events of their Church or confession and to give an update on the bilateral dialogues in which they are involved. At this year’s meeting, reports were given by representatives of the Anglican Communion, the Baptist World Alliance, the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Friends World Committee for Consultation, the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventist, the Global Christian Forum, the Lutheran World Federation, the Mennonite World Conference, the Moravian Church, the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, the Pentecostals, the Roman Catholic Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Union of Utrecht (Old Catholics), the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Convention of Churches of Christ, the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance and the World Methodist Council.
The participants of the conference had an audience with Pope Francis on October 12. In his address⇒, the Pope of Rome underlined that each Christian is with Christ, and that all Christians are on the way towards unity with Christ. He stressed the importance of prayer and of helping each other. He spoke as well of “ecumenism of blood”, remembering the contemporary Christian martyrs, especially in Middle East, and stressed that these terrorist acts are not directed against Christ of a particular confession, but against our common Christ.
The next conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions will be held in Colombia in November 2017.