Since the COVID-19 pandemic, regional communicators have met online monthly to strengthen their collaboration regionally and globally. In addition to sharing news and updates, some meetings include capacity-building sessions.
During the most recent meeting on 7 February, WCC staff shared communications priorities in 2024, and offered an update on the WCC general secretary’s travels as well as major upcoming events such as a meeting of regional ecumenical organizations and an online reunion of assembly communicators.
The agenda included a discussion of the situations in Gaza and the Ukraine, and the WCC’s and regional responses. Sociopolitical developments related to human rights in Argentina, Ecuador, and El Salvador were an additional topic, as well as the tragic forest fires in Chile.
The group also talked about the cyberattack in December 2023, its implications, and how the WCC communications team was able to continue functioning.
“As churches address issues that shape our societies and communities, the role of communication remains crucial in raising their voices,” said Naveen Qayyum, communications officer for the Conference of European Churches. “To work towards common concerns, there’s a great potential in regional communication bodies to join hands and collaborate, realizing global ecumenical goals.”
Elia Nasrallah, media and communication officer for the Middle East Council of Churches, noted the importance of building bridge. “In a world burdened with wars and crises, building bridges and standing together is much needed especially to promote a culture of peace, dialogue, fraternity, and justice,” said Nasrallah, “Hence comes the role of communication that has a crucial mission in reflecting Christian values and dealing with social issues.”
Communicators also raise the voice of oppressed people, Nasrallah added. “Therefore, exchanging experiences, ideas and updates from around the world is indeed important to enhance communication work, spreading together hope, and accompany the church in raising the voice of the oppressed and vulnerable people,” said Nasrallah. “At the end, we are all one in the body of Christ and living in the same world where humanity is seeking for a ray of light amidst all hardships.”
Klein Fausto Emperado, coordinator for communications for the Christian Conference of Asia, also emphasized the importance of messages that promote justice and peace.
“In our fragmented world, the collaboration of communicators from churches and ecumenical organizations provides hope to the entire world via compelling texts, images, and videos to spread messages of reconciliation, solidarity, justice, and peace,” he said. “The vibrant messages inspire people all throughout the world to pray, work, and cooperate to achieve oneness regardless of numerous dividing factors.”
Chady Chata, social media officer for the Middle East Council of Churches, quoted John 1:1, saying ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.“
Chata noted that, the churches of the world believe in this Word. “Our lives were moved by it, and it is compelling us to act in various ways to spread it in ecumenism (the climax of all missions),” said Chata. “In communication we found a special vocation that Jesus wishes his cause of love, justice, and unity to be advocated.”
Chata expressed appreciation for the group of communicators. “We thank God for the efforts of our fellow brothers and sisters who are striving for the cause of Christ, in the hope that we will achieve one day the unity in the journey towards our desired one church,” said Chata.
“As the WCC has continued to engage with regional communicators, we have deepened our trust and camaraderie with each other and with the entire fellowship,” said Marianne Ejdersten, WCC director of communication. “Our gatherings are a place where we can share our joys, our challenges, and our prayers for each other as we hone our skills and build our networks.”
Claus Grue, WCC senior communication consultant, said that successful external communication emanates from a constructive internal dialogue. “Sharing ideas and up-to-date information about challenges in different parts of the world helps us understand the diversity and strength of the ecumenical movement,” he said. “It widens our perspectives and makes us grow as communicators.”