CC2021 press conference

Opening press conference of the WCC central committee meeting taking place online from 23 to 29 June 2021.


Under lockdowns imposed by the global pandemic, Dr Agnes Abuom, the moderator of the WCC's Central Committee, its main governing body between assemblies, said at a 24 June press conference that the council has broadened its ability to communicate across borders.

 "We are committed as a fellowship, to stay together and move together irrespective of the challenges that we face, economically, socially, and indeed, the church and the fellowship of the World Council of Churches continues to seek the unity of the church and the unity of humankind," said Abuom. 

"We are in a situation, when as a church, as a fellowship, we need to lift the hopes of the people. The focus of our ministry is hope amidst hopelessness; it is love amidst division, separation and loss of life."

 'Reconciliation and unity'

Abuom was speaking ahead of the upcoming WCC 23-29 June central committee meeting 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."

She also spoke about a critical issue ahead of the assembly, justice in accessing vaccines where the developing world lags vastly behind the developed world in people who have received doses to stave off COVIV-19.

"I myself struggled to get vaccinated for the second round before coming here," said the moderator, an Anglican from Kenya.

 "And that shows you the limited access to vaccines in the global south, not least in my country, could become a deterrent for many of our delegates attending the assembly," said Abuom. "And therefore, we are advocating for justice, in distribution and access to the vaccine."

WCC acting general secretary, Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, said that the world had changed in ways nobody could imagine when the central committee last met in Geneva in 2018.

The pandemic took the world by surprise and continues to cause tremendous suffering and exacerbate existing and emerging inequalities.

Online prayer

"As many churches adapted to online prayer and worship, the WCC also adapted by providing opportunities for global prayer, regional prayer and daily prayer," said Sauca.

"This has been among the most inspiring developments – to be more deeply connected through prayer – to pray for one another and to pray together for our churches and our world."

The pandemic made many existing inequalities more visible, "particularly the sin of racism," and overcoming racism is a priority for the WCC.

Ahead of the postponed assembly next year, Sauca said, "We are full of hope that next year we will meet in Karlsruhe in August- September 2022, and that is what we are planning for, including different scenarios for health and sanitary requirements."

One journalist noted that Sauca is as a member of the Orthodox Church in Romania and acting general secretary is the first Orthodox to head the WCC and asked him to comment.

 "Let's have a language, which is the language of the church, and which is understood by the people of our churches, while not neglecting to speak about the needs of the world and how the Gospel should be applied in response to the needs of the world."

Abuom said that the reason why the WCC has so far has not elected a general secretary constitution rules require that the person is elected at a central committee meeting "in person".

Photos from the press conference

Video recording of the press conference

WCC central committee meeting 2021

The 11th Assembly of the WCC in Karlsruhe, Germany

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