WCC president from North America Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith expressed appreciation to WCC member churches, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the WCC Ecumenical Office to the United Nations in New York for coordinating the visit.
“We are grateful for this timely visit and the attention it brings to both the international and regional priorities in the North American/Turtle Island context,” said Walker-Smith. “Important conversations with the leadership of the United Nations, the Papal Nuncio, the member churches, congressional leadership, as well as old and new partners are already showing promise of renewed and possible new relationships and opportunities to make more visible our ecumenical commitment to the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity.”
A few weeks ago, during the meeting of the WCC central committee in Geneva, the North American group shared a strong message in the plenary, raising the key concerns of the region.
“The agenda of this visit strategically builds on continued ecumenical conversations of mutual understanding and consensus building, both internationally and regionally, from the WCC 11th Assembly and recent central committee,” said Walker-Smith. "Such is a natural and timely progression for building on this momentum while prayerfully discerning and co-creating strategies concerning our priorities for prayer, reflection, and action.”
More specifically, she added, it opens the door for future visits and the development of strategic action markers that reflect our regional priorities globally with the WCC. Priorities include combatting racism, addressing white supremacy and white Christian nationalism; addressing growing wealth gaps; acting for climate justice; and walking in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and communities.
Additional guiding concerns will be ecumenical formation, and the recent election of commissioners from North America/Turtle Island to the various WCC commissions, and later the Advisory Reference Groups and the new Commission on Climate Change and Sustainable Development.
“A focus on coming alongside and supporting younger generations of leadership and inviting those who may be beginning or renewing their pilgrimage/journey with the ecumenical movement will also be important in this season until the next assembly,” said Walker-Smith.