Rev. Merlyn Hyde-Riley, the vice-moderator of the WCC central committee, welcomed more than 70 women to the meeting, highlighting that women were already present at the WCC 1st Assembly and continue to play a significant role in the fellowship.
In the opening prayer, Rev. Dr Mery Kolimon, a central committee member from Gerejan Masehi Injili di Timor, prayed for these women “who accepted the calling to become involved as central committee members of WCC and also to support the ministry of WCC in different roles and positions.”
She noted that this was a special space to “share our stories we bring from our homes, to learn from one another about things we need to celebrate together, but also to identify challenges old and new that we are facing and struggling with.”
Being a Thursday, most of these women were dressed in black. Bishop Susan Johnson, a Thursdays in Black ambassador from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, shared practical ideas for further growing and promoting this campaign and countering sexual and gender-based violence in local contexts. She emphasized that her involvement was driven by the need for equality, fairness, and dignity, and for churches to be safe spaces for survivors.
In table discussions, the women discussed some of the wide-ranging challenges that have a particular impact on women but where they can also have a significant effect. The topics addressed issues of health, racial justice, climate justice, gender justice, militarization, and more.
The women committed to walking the journey towards justice together over the eight years of this central committee.