Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.


Pillay reflected on the theme of the assembly, Gods Word: Reconciliation for the World,” speaking on the essence of our calling as followers of Christ. 

In a world marked by division, conflict, and misunderstanding, the urgency of pursuing reconciliation cannot be overstated,” said Pillay. Our shared commitment to reconciliation stands as a light of hope, guiding us towards a future marked by compassion, solidarity, and mutual understanding as core virtues on the path to unity of all followers of Christ.”

Pillay noted that we often tend to forget that this is God’s world and that we are called to live responsibly as good stewards of the earth.

Though an honest look at the world around us, at our personal lives and relationships may contradict the image of a reconciled community, the good news that the gospel proclaims and that Christians are called to embody rests in the promise that in Christ God has reconciled the world,” said Pillay. As Christians, we know that the Bible has its own take on the theme.”

Reconciliation is an essential theme described in the Old and New Testaments, added Pillay. The reconciliation that is gratuitously offered by God is to be received and is to produce fruits in the life of the Christian,” said Pillay. Reconciliation comes about through Jesus Christ.”

Reconciliation brings about change with the reconciled person, Pillay further noted. Being reconciled to God, Christians can no longer live for themselves because they are a new creation guided by Gods love,” said Pillay. The new order is based on the soteriological equality of all humanity and no longer counts on former distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female.”

Reconciliation with God occasions the ministry of reconciliation, continued Pillay. This ministry is about making known to others the reality of reconciliation and inviting them to embrace it,” he said. By working on the principles of justice, reconciliation, peace and unity, ecumenical relations strive to create a transformative impact that reaches far beyond the confines of individual affiliations, embracing the diverse tapestry of humanity and the world at large.”

Pillay also expressed appreciation for the partnership between the World Council of Churches and the United Bible Societies. "May this assembly be a moment of divine inspiration and empowerment, moving us to be ambassadors of reconciliation in our communities, nations, and the entire world,” he said. 

The United Bible Societies director general interviewed the WCC general secretary about his personal faith journey, and drew Pillay’s reflections about living in South Africa during apartheid, and how this shaped his understanding and practices of reconciliation and justice.

Address of the WCC general secretary at the United Bible Societies World Assembly 2023

General secretaries celebrate collaboration and publication (WCC news release, 13 October 2023)

Conversation on the stage

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay at the session on Global Perspectives of the United Bible Societies Assembly in Amsterdam, 13 October 2023.