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“Called to be a good neighbor”

“Called to be a good neighbor”

The WCC leadership met with His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Kenya. Photo: WCC

14 October 2017

During a solidarity visit in Kenya on 10-12 October, leaders from the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee met with Kenyan church representatives, expressed their support for Kenyan churches working toward peace and justice, and deepened their vision for future WCC events,  including the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism set for March 2018.

Among the organizations in attendance were the All Africa Conference of Churches, National Council of Churches of Kenya, and Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa, along with representatives from WCC member churches and partners.

WCC Central Committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom said in her remarks at the press conference “We are on the pilgrimage of justice and peace together. We are working, walking and praying together. The unity of the church and the unity of humankind are interconnected,” adding: “The ecumenical endeavors cannot be successful without a deep understanding of what it means to live together in the body of Christ, in the love of Christ.“

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit thanked the Kenyan churches for their major contributions to the WCC. “The World Council of Churches has a very strong number of members,” he said. “We are 350 churches, we represent more than a half billion people. But the strength of this fellowship is that we are committed to following Jesus Christ together, being witnesses to Jesus Christ together, but also to give a service to the world, following his example, when we are called to be the good neighbor, to be the one to show that we love one another as Christ has loved us.”

The upcoming Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in Arusha, Tanzania, is one way the WCC is helping people recommit themselves to a common mission, said Tveit. “We will discuss what it means to be disciples today,” he said. “What does transformative and transforming discipleship mean? It means that we are to be open to how we can transform the world in a way that brings it to a better place for all of us to live.”

The WCC leaders also prepared for the WCC Executive Committee meeting scheduled for November 2017, with a particular focus on justice, human rights and peace-building in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula. They also discussed the newly released document “Ecumenical Diakonia,” plans for the WCC 11th Assembly, and special observances for WCC’s 70th anniversary.

Their agenda also included visits to the Orthodox Church in Riruta, the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy East Africa office as well as the offices of the WCC Ecumenical Disability Advocacy Network.

On Thursday, 12 October, the WCC leaders participated in the “Thursdays in Black” global campaign to combat violence against women, which WCC Central Committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom, highlighted for participants.

“We believe that women, men, boys and girls have a special role in any society to work together to contribute to an constructive, inclusive society where justice is for all, irrespective of race, color, genera and tribe,” she said “Therefore we come against the demons of violence that dehumanize and deny dignity of any human being in any given society anywhere in the world.”

Both Tveit and Abuom offered words of encouragement to Kenyan church leaders who are working to restore a sense of peace in their nation, which has seen increasing unrest in a lead-up to a possible presidential presidential election rerun planned for 26 October.

“Kenya has contributed to the worldwide church but also to the global, political and economic fora and it is important that we Kenyans also acknowledge that we have resources that we can offer to other people,” said Abuom.

WCC member churches in Kenya

Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN)

Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (EHAIA)

Executive Committee meeting 17-23 November in Amman, Jordan

Video from the press conference in Nairobi on 12th October, 2017

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism