Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee, meeting this week in Uppsala, Sweden, heard the report of WCC Central Committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom and WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.

Abuom spoke on the theme of the meeting, “Praying, Walking, Working and Remembering Together.”

In addition to offering a recap of WCC’s history, Abuom spoke of a number issues and global trends that  continue to inform WCC’s prayers, pilgrimages and action. “Waves of populist nationalism pose threats to human life and dignity; but stand also to erode democratic and human rights gains so far achieved and for which WCC has been an advocate for many decades,” she said.

Raging wars also continue unabated, she added, and sexual and gender-based violence is on the rise. “Think of the millions traumatized today and that of the children born out of these violent circumstances,” she said.

She added: “It would seem as if there is a correlation between the reversal of democratic values as well as religious values and ethics and the heightened incidences of violence and moral decadence in society.”

Tveit also offered a look back as well as forward. “The ecumenical movement has been seen – and rightly so, I think – as emphasizing that we are called to live in discipleship here and now for the transformation of the world according to God’s will today,” he said. “God wants the world to believe, to receive, to be renewed and united according to God’s love.”

Tveit reflected that we must renew our calling and our drive toward justice and peace. “Time is passing, and we with time,” he said. “Yet we remain one with the many believers who came before us, those who have shown their hope as an anticipation that leads to their participation in the mission of God.”

The WCC expresses signs of hope in different ways, Tveit continued. “But how can we express more clearly that this is a hope that is nurtured by and upheld by Christ’s love?” he asked. “We do it in many ways, in our daily work as churches and as a fellowship of churches, and even beyond the membership of the WCC.”

Tveit said that, during his visits to Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Antigua, he observed the significant contributions from this region to the worldwide ecumenical movement.

“The churches in the Caribbean are strong centers for worship, spirituality and formation,” he said. “Many of these churches have very important experiences from the past, especially in relation to how the church contributed to liberation and fellowship and unity of the liberated and how the churches also have had a role in building the free nations.”

Moderator’s Address: Praying, Walking, Working and Remembering Together

Report of the general secretary

WCC Executive Committee convenes in Uppsala, Sweden (WCC press release 1 November 2018)

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