In her opening address, WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom said that those gathered can celebrate the goodness of the living God.
“As members of the WCC executive committee, we are convening after a long turbulent period for the entire humanity and not least for the WCC fellowship and member churches,” she said. “The intriguing thing is that COVID-19 is not only about struggles, but also a wakeup call for the international community to reflect on how we want and need to drive the global development agenda forward.”
There are opportunities for us to make positive changes for the benefit of humankind, Abuom said. “We were overdue a pandemic, and yet the world wasn’t prepared for it,” she said. “What are some of the positive trends and opportunities that the global development movement and the fellowship can utilize while reimagining the future?”
The pandemic has brought about a new sense of community solidarity, Abuom continued.
“Pandemics are one of many global concerns that require collective action,” she said. “In many ways, COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for the worldwide collaboration.”
Climate change is a top global security issue, and the response needs to match this, urged Abuom.
WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, in his opening report, said he believes the almost weeklong meeting of the WCC executive committee will strengthen the WCC’s discernment and decision-making. “I am grateful for the dedication and accompaniment of the leadership of the central committee and the members of the executive committee.”
Sauca also reflected that the WCC has entered a new phase of work in the pandemic. “Things are opening up,” he said. “We began to travel again for in-person meetings.”
But even if things are normalizing, the world is different, he added. “Our ways of working are different,” he said. “We must continue to protect one another and the people we meet.”
Sauca noted that the climate emergency is one of the most urgent issues facing the world today. “I pray that as we journey beyond the next assembly our pilgrimage will continue as a response to God’s amazing love for all creation and that the love and compassion of Christ will inspire the churches common witness for reconciliation and unity,” he concluded.