World Council of Churches

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

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / WCC adjusts to new reality: “new and emerging routines"

WCC adjusts to new reality: “new and emerging routines"

WCC adjusts to new reality: “new and emerging routines"

Ecumenical Centre, Geneva. Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

25 March 2020

As the new week begins, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit communicates regarding the transition of WCC’s work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Would you share an update on the WCC staff during the current coronavirus pandemic situation?

Tveit: I extend a word of gratitude to the WCC staff for the flexibility and professionalism they have shown in view of the quick transition over the past weeks. They have adjusted to this new reality.

What key meetings are being scheduled?

Tveit: The leadership of the Central Committee will convene online at the end of this week. We have also had a meeting with the Regional Ecumenical Organizations to discern how we can best work together within and across regions, and how to support each other in this time. A joint pastoral letter is now being prepared by the group.

How has daily life at the WCC changed?

Tveit: The Staff Leadership Group meets every workday, and is in touch continuously through WhatsApp, to follow most recent developments, oversee planning for most urgent issues, as well as to keep moving forward on long-term planning, particularly in view of our upcoming assembly in Karlsruhe. In the coming weeks, we will report on any significant changes in our plans. We are staying in touch with our different colleagues, member churches and ecumenical partners using technology such as WhatsApp, Skype and Fuze so that we can continue to fulfil our role and mandate as WCC, even as this now requires new solutions and ways of working.

What is the status on accessibility to the Ecumenical Centre?

Tveit: The Ecumenical Centre is closed to all but authorised persons, and is accessible by badge only. A minimal staffing ensures surveillance of the building and necessary IT support. It is clear from the most recent communication from Swiss authorities that we must take all measures possible to ensure that as many as possible stay at home.

How is the WCC finding a way forward?

Tveit: Let us remind ourselves again of the exceptional circumstances in which we now live, and to each do all that we can to help manage our lives professionally and personally during this pandemic. May we continue to work and to pray together  in the one ecumenical movement of love – by new as well as long-established means – to care for each other, for our loved ones, and for ourselves, so that we can find a way forward in these exceptional times to work for one world, and one humanity.

Global Lord’s Prayer “united for humanity” (WCC press release of 24 March 2020)

WCC urges everyone to pray at home (WCC press release of 22 March 2020)

WCC landing page: Coping with the Coronavirus