With regard to holding the assembly amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the central committee recommended regular monitoring, according to an already-established framework, noting that April is a critical moment with regard to accommodation contracts, budget considerations and registration of participants.
The already-in-place process includes regular meetings between the leadership of the central committee and the leadership of the host committee to review the evolving situation.
Plans for the spiritual life of the WCC’s 11th Assembly were also advanced.
The central committee proposes that the assembly appoint six committees to prepare the business of the assembly: Message Committee, Programme Guidelines Committee, Policy Reference Committee, Finance Committee, Public Issues Committee, and Nominations Committee. The composition of the committees will be nominated by the WCC executive committee.
Delegates for the WCC’s 11th Assembly were also approved, with some nominations for additional delegates.
New Commission on Health and Healing
The central committee also provisionally approved the bylaws of the newly established Commission of the Churches on Health and Healing. The bylaws have been forwarded for final revision and approval to the next in-person meeting of the central committee.
This builds on the legacy of the former Christian Medical Commission (1960s-1980s) and it is hoped will galvanize and lead churches’ efforts on health, while serving as a credible counterpart to international health organizations.
Gender Justice Principles
The WCC governing body approved the WCC Gender Justice Principles document for WCC staff, governing bodies, commissions and reference groups. The gender justice principles are rooted in the commitments the WCC has already made to speaking and acting against injustice. They are grounded in the Bible and in theological reflection.
In addition, the WCC leaders deferred decision on proposed amendments to the WCC constitution to an in-person meeting.
The WCC central committee is meeting via videoconference 9-15 February to prepare for the WCC’s 11th Assembly, address business matters, strengthen the WCC fellowship through sharing, and pray for peace in the world, particularly in Ukraine.