"The cross is and will forever be the sign of the church," the new general secretary said. "This is the symbol that we have together, the symbol of what we have together, the symbol of what the churches have to give to the world. From the beginning to the end." It's the symbol that churches need to return to in order to be one, he said.
How the ecumenical relations will develop is not in their hands, but in God's, Tveit noted. But what is in their hands is the ability to commit themselves to finding "theological, ethical and very visible expressions" of being one, he said.
"So we are called to carry our cross," he underscored. "The call of the ecumenical movement does not have a meaning only if we succeed. Whether we are heard or not, our call is to carry the cross with one another.
"Whatever happens, it remains our call to carry the cross in our search for unity, in our witness, in our service. And we shall do it together, never alone."
Tveit is one of the youngest men to serve as general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Since his election, he has placed weight on the call for church unity, not only within the WCC but also outside of the body with other groups such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Pentecostal churches and evangelical bodies.