Image of Dr Mathews George Chunakara, new moderator of World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of Churches on International Affairs

Dr Mathews George Chunakara, new moderator of World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission of Churches on International Affairs


Chunakara takes time to offer an overview of the history of the commission, and he explains how that history provides a foundation for todays work. 

Now again—and more than a decade—the world is facing different kinds of crises,” says Chunakara. So, our task is to respond ecumenically to some of those crisis situations that have emerged in the world.”

The commission is not only addressing global problems that have intensified—including many conflict situations in the world—but also addressing comparatively new issues as well, he explains.

One of the examples is about the issues related to the rights of the stateless people,” he says. "Statelessness was not an issue WCC addressed before 2010.”

What does Chunakara see as the current main task of the commission?

The commission's task is mainly to work with the member churches, and also the commission's role is to be involved in advocacy, especially at the global level, and also through the UN mechanisms and other multilateral systems or multilateral agencies—those who are involved in these peace-building measures,” he says, adding that member churches have a vital voice in these issues. 

In order to do that, the member churches and their capacities need to be equipped,” he says.

This means the commission has a role in empowering churches, he notes. One of the main mandates of commission as a body of the World Council of Churches is to speak on behalf of the ecumenical movement, and to facilitate some of these deeper engagements by issuing statements condemning some situations and also accompanying the people and communities— those who are in vulnerable situations. The commission’s role is also to highlight some of those issues at the global level or at the regional level,” he says. In order to do all these things, the commission has to equip its constituency for deeper engagement at different levels, accompany the churches, and enhance the capacities of the churches in addressing some of these crisis and conflict situations, and also to initiate certain peace-building measures as part of the churches’ Christian and prophetic witness.”

WCC commission members debate impact of current political trends (WCC news release, 6 March 2024)

Three WCC commissions meet to confront emerging global challenges (WCC news release, 5 March 2024)

Photo gallery: Joint Meeting of Three WCC Commissions – March 2024