More than thirty participants attended the annual Conference of the Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CS/CWC) that took place online from 20–22 October 2020. The Catholic Church was represented by Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, assisted by Reverend Andrzej Choromanski, staff responsible for the multilateral relations.
The meeting was chaired by Reverend Gretchen Castle (Friends World Committee for Consultation), with Reverend Dr Ganoune Diop (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), acting as secretary. The conference opened with a prayer led by former Chair Reverend Dr Martin Junge (Lutheran World Federation), followed by a time of sharing from the participants on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the life of churches. It was underlined that the anti-COVID-19 measures had created an unprecedented challenge for Christian communions worldwide, limiting the access of the faithful to the usual pastoral care and restraining ecumenical relations. At the same time, the crisis had necessitated the use of modern technologies, with churches developing new and enduring forms of pastoral ministry and ecumenical life.
Time was dedicated to reflection on the nature and identity of the CS/CWC. It was underlined that the Conference is not an organisation with programmatic aims and determined agenda but a fraternal forum of secretaries from diverse Christian communions as well as representatives of some global ecumenical organisations who meet annually to exchange information, learn from each other and nurture fraternal relationships among their churches.
The recent encyclical of Pope Francis Fratelli tutti was acknowledged as an important encouragement to all Christian communions to unite efforts in building a culture of encounter, solidarity and universal fraternity across political, social, and religious borders.