Walking, praying and working together
While the transition to online programming and prayers during COVID-19 has been a challenge for the WCC as for the rest of the world, Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC central committee, said “Likewise, while the WCC transition has in many ways been a heavy burden to all of us, I personally feel blessed to walk, and work with each and every one of you, because of your care and willingness to pray and assist to ensure the work of WCC continues uninterrupted.”
Hope for the future
WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca said he remains full of hope that the WCC 11th Assembly will be held in Karlsruhe next year, and also expressed gratitude for those around him. “I am grateful for your devotion to the WCC,” he said. “I am grateful for the dedicated service of commission members, advisory groups and our partners for their contributions and support. I am ever grateful to the WCC staff and staff leadership group for their tremendous dedication in serving the fellowship of WCC member churches.”
The WCC executive committee received the report of the WCC Assembly Planning Committee, which focuses on the spiritual life and other details of the assembly, to be held in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 31 August to 8 September 2022, under the theme "Christ's love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.”
Attending to fiscal matters
In addition to planning for the assembly and preparing for the upcoming WCC central committee meeting, the WCC executive committee also adopted the 2020 financial report and conducted financial monitoring; received the report of the audit committee and appointed auditors for 2021; and received 2020 narrative programme reports and monitored previous decisions on programmes. A new Jerusalem Liaison Office Advisory Committee will be established and appointed by the acting general secretary to consult and advise the general secretary on specific projects or to stimulate discussion on emerging issues.
The WCC executive committee also received recommendations of the steering committee for the Green Village project. The WCC governing body also reviewed membership matters and approved nominations for action by the WCC central committee, which will meet via video conference from 23-29 June.
In a public statement, the WCC executive committee urged the world to come together to “Overcome Global Injustice and Inequity, to Defeat the Global COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The statement calls upon all with the power to address the lamentable injustice and inequity revealed by the pandemic — governments, agencies, religious leaders, boards and leaders of corporations with ownership of patents and materials — to exercise leadership and act together urgently to ensure broad, rapid, equitable and affordable distribution of therapeutics and vaccines worldwide, to overcome this failure and to right this wrong.
“Since the supply of vaccines remains insufficient to meet the global need, and has been concentrated in countries able to pay a premium to ensure access, we support calls for the temporary waiver of relevant patents and other intellectual property rights, in order to remove a key obstacle to increased manufacturing and supply, especially in countries currently marginalized and excluded from adequate supply of needed vaccines,” the statement reads. “We call on all political leaders to act for the health and safety of all those living within their borders, to advance the scientific and medical remedies that will ease the pandemic in their countries and help hasten the end of the crisis globally.”
The WCC executive committee also received with concern updates on Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Myanmar.
Praying for peace in the Holy Land
The WCC executive committee, sharing a message of solidarity with people and churches in the Holy Land, expressed it is “appalled and deeply moved by the suffering inflicted as a result of the currently ongoing hostilities in the Holy Land, mindful of the history of the people of the region.”
The WCC conveyed to the churches and the people of the region a sense of close accompaniment in prayer and in solidarity. “With all those who have lost loved ones, been injured, suffered harm and fear as a result of the awful violence and destruction, we grieve,” the message reads. “We renew our fervent prayer that God will bring compassion and wisdom into the hearts and minds of those responsible for the violence, and healing and consolation to the victims of their confrontation.”
The WCC executive committee also invited the ecumenical fellowship and all people of good will to join in a live-streamed prayer for the Holy Land on 20 May. The prayer included a responsive psalm as well as prayers of intercession.
The WCC, in a letter signed by its leadership, is urging the UN Security Council to act now to end the ongoing violence, bloodshed and destruction in Israel and Palestine.
"We lament the heavy toll in civilian lives, especially children and women, the destruction of schools and hospitals, and the attacks on the international media during this conflict,” the letter reads. “The responsibility under international law to protect these populations and institutions is fundamental, and there must be accountability for violations thereof.”
WCC 11th Assembly 2022: