World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Letter to the US member churches

03 November 2004

3 November, 2004



Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Grace to you and peace in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am writing
to you, the member churches of the World Council of Churches in the United
States of America, on behalf of your extended church family around the world.

We ask God's grace and peace for you and for who will finally be chosen as leader
of your country. We send this letter to encourage and support you in these important
times and to renew our fellowship in the unity of the Holy Spirit and in the
bonds of peace.

The choice of the US President is of great concern not only to the people of the
USA but also to people across the world. Though we are confident that God's
Holy Spirit, the Advocate and the Comforter, is with us, many people in the world
today confess to feeling afraid for the future. People feel fear of terrorism, fear of
old struggles newly re-branded as terrorism, and fear of fear itself in the service
of great power.

Yet this letter is not about fear. It commends God's all-embracing grace and peace
to you, in faith and with goodwill.

Know that we stand with you, as sisters and brothers, in the hope that only God
can give. That hope reminds us that fear is no match for the recognition of God's
presence in our lives which sustains our faith. We can look with confidence to the
days ahead because there is far more that unites us as people of faith than separates
us as citizens of a divided world. We are all members of Christ's body. Nothing
- no terror, no fear, no lie - can ever separate us.

We do not ask whose side God was on in this election. Rather, with Abraham
Lincoln when he confronted a divisive war, we seek to be found on God's side.
We pray that all people of faith may discern with the help of God's Spirit what
is good for the world.

Many people have watched the US closely in recent months, with great interest
in how churches shape a powerful nation's stance towards the world. The harsh
claims that make most of the headlines, that invoke the judgment of a partisan
god, have provoked deep concern around the world.

How different it is, however, when churches offer a moral and spiritual compass
for their community, their nation and the world. They are a voice for the good of
all and are seen as such. They love the whole world; they pray for God to bless
the lands of others. People far and near - especially our cousins of other faiths -
await such signs from all of us.

As fellow citizens of the world, we wish you peace. Half a century ago, with US
leadership, an international community convinced of the need for change gave
birth to the United Nations, to the UN Charter, to the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, to the Geneva Conventions and much more. The shared purpose
then was to secure peace and promote human security. Churches of the day and
their members added greatly to the process and did not go unheard. They served
as a moral conscience for their time.

Today, too, people all over the world recognize what the United States can offer.
By being a country open to newcomers of different cultures and creeds. By trusting
the rule of law. By supporting democracy and the freedom of speech. By being
ready to take action when the international community, through the United
Nations, asks for US participation and leadership. By being generous to those in
need. By addressing the root causes of poverty and social injustice, within the US
as well as globally. As churches we are asked to be involved and contribute to such
political directions.

The member churches of the US have been active in forming the mind of the ecumenical
movement throughout its history. As a worldwide family of more than
340 churches, we share with each other and with the wider world the privilege
of living for a purpose deeper than economic success and working for goals greater
than national security.

On this 3rd day of November, 2004, we pray that we may answer the challenges
before us in faith and in love, together.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary