“Our unity, as one human family and as a fellowship of churches, is more important than ever,” he said. “We are living through a time of great suffering.”
Churches have lost many members and leaders, lamented Sauca. “The member churches have been incredibly resilient and responsive during the pandemic,” he said. “You are each a part of this transforming discipleship that has kept the church vibrant and alive.”
The pandemic continues to affect the entire fellowship, he noted. “For the WCC secretariat, the pandemic has meant supporting member churches in addressing the pandemic, postponing the assembly by one year and adapting our ways of work,” he said. “The WCC strategic plan continues to guide our work in a time of change.”
The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace is a strong strategic direction that holds the fellowship together, Sauca reflected. “The limits imposed by the pandemic pushed the WCC to accomplish many things in different ways,” he said. “The most significant adaptation was the enhanced use of online work.”
He added that he sees a future in which hybrid methodologies provide new opportunities of working together.
“The pandemic provided an opportunity for more communication with member churches and partners,” he said. “There has been an increase in regional cooperation, particularly with regional ecumenical organizations.”
This helps keep the churches at the centre of the WCC’s common efforts, he said. “The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace regional consultations on COVID-19 are one example of a new era in caring for the fellowship together.”
The World Council of Churches central committee will convene via video conference from 23-29 June to prepare for the 11th WCC Assembly, taking place in 2022 in Karlsruhe, Germany under the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” The WCC governing body will also address business matters and strengthen the WCC fellowship through sharing and prayer.