Opening prayer service started with a call “mamelani, niyabizwa ezulwini” in Xhosa, or “listen, you are called from Heaven,” performed by the choir Soweto Melodic Voices from Johannesburg, where meeting is hosted by the South African Council of Churches.
Since its founding, the main task of the commission has been helping the Christian community in all its broadness to “formulate the Christian mind on world issues and bringing that mind effectively to bear upon such issues“ in order to avoid conflict and war, said CCIA moderator Rev. Frank Chikane. According to the 1946 Cambridge Conference, CCIA was established “to carry out the work to which God’s design and man’s disorder call the churches.”
Unfortunately, “many churches simply conform with the status quo rather than be prophetic and act as a source of theological reflection” Chikane stated in his report to the commissioners.
The CCIA moderator revisited the most vivid situations encountered during his term through CCIA engagement in addressing critical issues in the world, meeting people and sharing their pain and suffering—and learning lessons along the way.
“We have been able to touch each other’s wounds and point to what could be solutions,” said Chikane. “But not always we are able to follow up on that pain. My question: is there a way of touching the wounds and not leaving until the wounds are healed?”
Peter Prove, CCIA director, provided the report on the WCC’s recent work engaging in peacebuilding, disarmament, COVID-19 responses, climate emergency initiatives, sustainable development, exploring Christian perspectives on human rights, and planning for the 11th WCC Assembly.
CCIA members were warmly welcomed and encouraged by the South African Council of Churches president Thabo Makgoba, Anglican archbishop of Cape Town. “We remember prophets and pastors who have spoken truth to the power – in South Africa, and in the whole world. We pray for you, as you continue to intervene in the current crisis situations in the world.”
Due to the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCIA's 58th meeting takes place in a hybrid form – part of the commission meets physically in Johannesburg, South Africa, and others join the meeting online.
WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs will meet to prepare for the 11th WCC Assembly
Photo gallery from the 58th meeting of the CCIA
Learn more about the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs