Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca has been confirmed interim World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary by the executive committee at an online meeting held on 3 June. Sauca will hold the post until the WCC central committee meets in June 2021.
The leadership of the WCC central committee decided to postpone the full WCC central committee meeting, once slated for 18-24 March 2020, along with the executive committee meeting that was to precede it in light of concerns about and implications of the current international spread of COVID-19.
WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom asked for support and prayers from the WCC global fellowship as the shift of leadership occurs. “Father Sauca is a senior colleague, well-qualified for this, and we will support and pray for him in these new responsibilities,” said Abuom.
Sauca, who is from the Orthodox Church in Romania, has been professor of Missiology and Ecumenical Theology at the WCC’s Ecumenical Institute in Bossey since 1998 and its director since 2001. He has served as a WCC deputy general secretary since 2014.
Sauca first joined the WCC in 1994 as executive secretary for Orthodox Studies and Relationship in Mission. Prior to joining the WCC he taught mission and ecumenism at the faculty of theology in Sibiu, Romania and later served his patriarchate as head of the newly established Department of Press and Communication with additional responsibility for the Department for External and Ecumenical Church Relations and of religious education in public schools. Sauca studied at the Theological Faculties in Sibiu and Bucharest, Romania, and obtained his Ph.D. in Theology (Missiology) at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is also an alumnus of the Graduate School at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey.
Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus appointed interim WCC deputy general secretary
Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, lecturer of Ecumenical Theology at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey and director of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order, has been confirmed as the interim deputy general secretary for the WCC programme on Unity and Mission. Pedroso Mateus will hold the post until the WCC central committee meets in June 2021 and he will continue to serve also as director of Faith and Order.
He was appointed by the WCC executive committee at an online meeting on 3 June, on the recommendation of the interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca.
Pedroso Mateus is an ordained pastor of the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil. He holds a PhD in Protestant theology from the University of Strasbourg, France. His ecumenical studies occurred, among other places, at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey. He was successively: general secretary of the Association of Protestant Theological Seminaries in Brazil and editor of its journal Simpósio (1995-1999); professor at the Methodist University of São Paulo (1999); secretary for theology and ecumenical dialogue of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (2000-2007) and editor of its journal Reformed World (2004-2007); and president of the Foundation for Reformed Protestantism (2012-2016). He has been a lecturer at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey since 2006; a member of the Secretariat of the WCC Commission on Faith and Order since 2007; and director of Faith and Order since 2015.
Doug Chial appointed as interim director of the WCC Office of the General Secretariat
Doug Chial has been confirmed as the interim director of the WCC Office of the General Secretariat. He was appointed by the WCC executive committee at an online meeting held on 3 June, on the recommendation of the interim general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca. Chial will hold the post until the WCC central committee meets in June 2021.
Chial is a lay member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary and the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. He has served the WCC since 2004, coordinating the Porto Alegre Assembly (2006) and the Busan Assembly (2013). Between assemblies he coordinated Church and Ecumenical Relations. Since 2014 he has managed Income Monitoring and Development. Chial also served the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), coordinating general councils in Debrecen (1997) and Accra (2004). He came to faith at Peoples Church in East Lansing, Michigan, an interdenominational congregation affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church. He is a board member of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians.
The World Council of Churches Staff Leadership Group will be led by Sauca and consists of the two deputy general secretaries and the interim director of the WCC Office of the General Secretariat. Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri continues as deputy general secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia as before, as do the other previous members of the Staff Leadership Group, director of Finance Elaine Dykes, and director of Communication Marianne Ejdersten, in their present roles and mandates.
WCC executive committee issues “Statement on Racial Justice in the USA” (WCC press release of 3 June 2020)
WCC executive committee releases statement on role of churches during COVID-19 (WCC press release of 3 June 2020)
Rev. Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca appointed acting WCC general secretary (WCC press release of 3 March 2020)
WCC Executive Committee to hold virtual meeting, pray for world burdened by COVID-19 (WCC press release of 30 May 2020)
WCC Executive Committee will meet online in June, Central Committee postponed until June 2021 (WCC press release of 14 May 2020)