Participants emphasized that African participants have gifts and strengths to bring to the assembly and that they are keen to share these gifts.
A celebrating region
"We want to go the assembly as a celebrating region," said Rev. Silishebo Silishebo from the United Church of Zambia. "We want to celebrate the region’s inheritance of resistance. We want to celebrate the region's resilience. We want to celebrate the region’s hope, and we want to celebrate God's love on the continent - God's love that he showed even before the missionaries came to Africa." He went further, explaining that the African representatives want to celebrate the resources of Africa. He explained that this includes human resources - particularly the youth – natural resources and mineral resources. He concluded that they would like to celebrate Africa's opportunities – religious, social, and political - that can make Africa an admirable continent.
Dr Fidon Mwombeki, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, affirmed this sentiment, emphasizing that despite the history and the challenges Africa faces, African representatives do not want to go to the assembly as beggars or “cry-babies," but with dignity.
Participants did not ignore the continent's challenges, such as political unrest, corruption, poverty, food insecurity and vaccine inequality, particularly in the context of COVID-19. As the meeting took place on Thursday, participants also wore black in support of the Thursdays in Black campaign in protest against sexual and gender-based violence.
Despite these challenges, Rev. Yonas Dibisa, representing the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, emphasized what Africa and Africans can bring to the assembly, not least the rich experiences of worship and spirituality. "We should be going as the Africans we are. We should be ourselves and be proud of ourselves. "
The WCC central committee meeting is taking place from 23-29 June. The primary focus is to prepare for the 11th WCC Assembly, to take in 2022 in Karlsruhe, Germany, under the theme "Christ's love moves the world to reconciliation and unity."