The leaders advised WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay and provided input into the strategic direction of the WCC.
“My impression is that the participants in the roundtable meeting appreciated the general secretary and his staff’s presentation of the new strategic plan very much,” said Berit Hagen Agøy, senior advisor and ecumenical officer for the Church of Norway. “The challenges and priorities are recognizable from the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, and from the issues identified in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace since the WCC 10th Assembly.”
Agøy added that the roundtable was an inspiration and contributed to the Church of Norway’s commitment as a member church of the WCC. “I also appreciated the clear intention to involve more youth in our work, also a clear signal from the assembly,” said Agøy. “The plans and the way the work now is being structured, will enable the WCC to concentrate on burning issues like the climate crises, conflict and war, racism, gender equality, and the decline of democracy and lack of respect for human rights.”
The WCC is very relevant for its member churches, Agøy said. “It will be interesting to see how the WCC central committee will respond to the proposed plans and priorities,” said Agøy. “We need the support of the ecumenical fellowship to be able to tackle these complex and difficult issues, with theological reasoning and concrete actions.”
Agøy concluded that we are all in theses global crises together, no matter where we live in the world. “We need the WCC as a platform for exchanging experiences and dialogue,” said Agøy. “When so many things—like solidarity and respect for international law and human rights—are falling apart, we need each other as a global ecumenical fellowship more than ever before.”
Roland Fernandes, general secretary of Global Ministries and UMCOR of the United Methodist Church, said he found the roundtable to be very helpful because it allowed specialized ministries to hear in particular where the WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay stands on several matters, including the WCC’s strategic objectives and the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity. “The two small group presentations were very helpful and in alignment with a lot of what we do at Global Ministries and UMCOR especially in the area of public witness and diakonia.”
Pillay thanked the leaders from specialized ministries for contributing in substantive ways to the WCC strategic direction and plans, building on the assembly’s mandate to be on a Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity. Discussions at the roundtable will help prepare for the June 2023 WCC central committee meeting.
“Personally I believe that WCC can make great contributions in working with member churches, organizations, and partners like yourselves, and I believe we need to work in those spaces to change the world from what it is to what God want it to be,” said Pillay. “We really love to capture the things you think are important about what the WCC is doing for the next eight years.”