Abuom led a moment of prayer commemorating those in the WCC fellowship who have passed away since the last meeting of the executive committee. H.E., Most Rev. Seraphim (Kykkotis) of Zimbabwe led opening and closing prayers.
Abuom shared her perspective on what is inspiring the WCC’s work, noting that the world is still in a big fight against COVID-19. “It has abruptly disrupted the momentum towards achievement of the development agenda, having triggered the most profound economic and societal crisis the world has seen for the last century,” she said.
Abuom also noted that, according to the World Food Programme, 10 million of the world’s children could face acute malnutrition. “Alongside social distancing, case isolation and contact tracing, regular hand washing with water and soap is recognized as one of the most important measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19,” she said. “Yet many people still do not have a hand washing facility with water and soap available at home.”
The dramatic rise in sexual and physical violence against women and girls in the previous 12 months is of grave concern, Abuom continued: “The number is likely to increase as security, health, and money worries heighten tensions and strains and are accentuated by cramped and confined living conditions during and after the COVID-19 period,” she said, adding that cyberbullying is also on the rise.
Abuom also expressed concern over the re-emergence and rise of authoritarian governments. “Though directives such as lockdowns and travel restrictions are welcome to mitigate the spread of the virus in the short-term, this tendency is providing leeway for governments to infringe on human rights even in the future if not closed, checked and rebuffed,” she said.
Sauca said that the WCC continues to seek the goal of visible unity. “On the way, we continue to learn from each other what it entails to be this fellowship committed to discover and live in the unity of apostolic faith and to engage in a common witness to the world, how Christian unity and the unity of humankind and all creation are intertwined,” he said.
He also offered a theological grounding for the theme of the WCC 11th Assembly, “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” This theme is being interpreted by the WCC fellowship in ways that foster dialogue with the people from across the world, and from across many faiths, Sauca said.
“Christ’s love opens a horizon of hope,” he said. “It is indeed God’s purpose to move the whole world and the entire cosmos to reconciliation and unity.”
The assembly will be held in Karlsruhe, Germany in September 2022.
In addition, Sauca noted that the WCC programme expenditure budget for 2021 does not exceed available funds and makes no call on general reserves. He also offered an update on the Green Village project, including a recommendations for phase three of the project, concerning office buildings Stockholm and Durban.