Pope Francis steps out of the plane after landing at the Geneva International Airport for a one-day visit at the invitation of the World Council of Churches (WWC), Thursday June 21, 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Tony Gentile/pool photo via AP)

The Latest: Christian leaders greet Pope Francis in Geneva

June 21, 2018 - 6:02 am

GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on the pope's visit to Geneva (all times local):

12 noon

Pope Francis has been greeted joyfully by Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist and Orthodox leaders as he arrived for an ecumenical service among many different Christian faiths at the World Council of Churches.

The pontiff waved to onlookers from his car as he arrived at WCC headquarters in Geneva for the prayer service in a modern hall with lattice woodwork and stained-glass windows. Worshippers sang songs from England, Germany, as well as a thumping hymn from the Lumka song book from South Africa.

American Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church said "it's so great to have you here" as Francis emerged under sunny skies from his car.

During the service, she said the pope's work "has inspired, enthused and strengthened the relationship and cooperation with the World Council of Churches on the common journey of the pilgrimage of justice and peace."


10:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has arrived in Geneva, one of the world's first cities to adopt the Protestant Reformation, for a one-day visit to highlight the importance of Christians praying and working together.

Francis will become the third pope to visit the World Council of Churches, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The pontiff walked slowly down from his plane, smiled and shook hands with President Alain Berset and other Swiss officials.

Francis received a red-carpet welcome at the airport in Geneva, the "City of Calvin." A girl and a boy in traditional dress gave him bouquets, while a military band provided a musical fanfare.

The WCC is a fellowship of 350 churches that aims to show the unity of the Christian faith. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member.

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