WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri offered opening remarks. “This online event is one of the various webinars we will be organizing on the way to the WCC 11th Assembly in Germany”, she said. “The establishment of a transversal of overcoming racism starting from 1 July is the WCC’s effort to coordinate the work on racism,” she highlighted.
Peter Cruchley, mission secretary for mission development with CWM, emphasised the need for transformation related to missionary practice. “We are here to enable a conversation but more especially to learn from the conversation,” he noted.
Rev. Dr Iva E. Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, said: "Whether you look at the history of ships of enslavement that had the name of saints on them, whether you look at ways in which church leadership has participated in the destruction of the land, and doctrines and theologies of discovery and dominance, the complicity of the church must begin with a truth-telling process and acknowledgement, and then move to the stages of atonement and contrition, and covenant not to repeat itself again."
Dr Fransina Yoteni, senior lecturer at Jayapura West Papua Theological School, explained that "the colonial mindset of racism and discrimination is absorbed in people’s mindset at all levels,” she said. “The Bible teaches us the good news. If we are able to stand today as Papuans, it’s because we believe in God.”
Prof. Dr Nicolas Abou Mrad, Orthodox University of Balamand (Germany), said that the “elected people” in the Old Testament, which was used by colonial powers, has to be interpreted as meaning as the one who was rejected by man, and not the man who rejected others. “Whiteness is a misrepresentation of the biblical teaching,” he said. “God has chosen the barbarian. From the line of the barbarian, God has chosen Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ comes from the line of the one who was rejected and not the one who rejected.”