The World Council of Churches (WCC) is serving as a convener and facilitator of a process where leaders of three churches in Ethiopia – the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), and Ethiopian Catholic Church (ECC)—come together. The church delegations are led by HG Archbishop Petros, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the EOTC, EECMY President Dr Yonas Yigezu Dibissa, and HE Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of the ECC respectively.
By facilitating this meeting, the WCC aims to contribute positively to the active engagement of the Ethiopian churches in humanitarian work, for peace and social cohesion, and to strengthen ecumenical cooperation. The meeting is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.
The church leaders aim to strengthen their response to the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia by working together; and to strengthen their engagement in peace work in Ethiopia through closer ecumenical coordination as well as interfaith cooperation, including in advocacy towards government, political groups, and armed actors on issues of truth, justice, human dignity, human rights, and peaceful coexistence.
In an opening prayer and welcome remarks, Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, WCC director of Public Witness and Diakonia, spoke of how the pursuit of unity is vital not only for Ethiopian churches but for churches around the world.
“We are meeting here at a time when the world is in deep yearning for peace,” he said, adding that unity of churches, unity of humanity, and diakonia or service are vital to this week’s meetings. “The three are interconnected and cannot be separated. While the WCC is a credible convening space, the real commitment to where this vision of unity goes, will come from you, the Ethiopian churches, our brothers and sisters in Christ,” he concluded.