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 learning from Angola's "struggle for life"

WCC learning from Angola's "struggle for life"

13 October 2003

Cf WCC Press Release PR-03-31 of 2 October 2003

This delegation has come to Angola "to learn from your struggle for life against the forces of death", WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser told some seventy representatives of both member and non-member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) who gathered at the Council of Christian Churches in Angola (CICA) conference centre on 8 October 2003.

"The WCC is a world-wide fellowship of churches which have come together to strengthen their witness to the gospel. It is not an institution in Geneva that distributes funds or organizes conferences. It is a fellowship of churches committed to journeying together," Raiser said.

Three major emphases of WCC work over recent years, he explained, have been a Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women in their efforts to attain dignity and equality; the struggle against racism and apartheid, that continues today in Angola's reconstruction efforts; and the struggle for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, that has given rise to a 2001-2010 Decade to Overcome Violence.

Earlier that day, the WCC delegation attended the opening of the annual general assembly of the United Methodist Church of Angola in Luanda. The church is part of the WCC through the United Methodist Church in the USA. The WCC general secretary was welcomed by church president Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos, and by a large number of Angolan Methodists gathered for the assembly.

Bishop Gaspar expressed joy at this first official visit by a WCC general secretary to the country, and said that it comes at a moment when the challenge of rehabilitating people, rebuilding infrastructure and the country as a whole is being revealed in all its complexity.

Commenting on the current post-war challenges, "Hope, faith and peace are inner resources that you have and that cannot flourish and take root from outside," Raiser said.

The 10-day visit to Angola by the WCC delegation began on 7 October with an afternoon and evening of fellowship and exchanges with church leaders and representatives of the Council of Christian Churches in Angola (CICA) and of the Inter-church Committee for Peace in Angola (COEPA).