Dear Sister and Brothers in Christ,
Greetings to you in the name of our Savior as we embark on this New Year, commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. We continue the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace with the special focus on Africa. The pilgrimage takes on special emphasis this year as we together navigate a more unsettled geopolitical environment. We pray together that the Holy Spirit will guide with vision, wisdom and compassion in order to serve as a gathering point of all people.
The weeks following the World Council of Churches Executive Committee meeting in China (16-23 November 2016) challenged us with the Christmas Season and the gathering of staff with families around many part of the world. Now it is time to follow up on decisions of the Executive Committee, which includes notifying each member church of the decision to extend the deadline for the WCC 11th Assembly site location.
One formal invitation was received prior to the Executive Committee meeting in November. Additional invitations to host the Assembly will be received until 1 March 2017 if you or any other churches are working on an official invitation.
The ideal venue would host in one central location no fewer than 7,000 people for daily prayer, provide meeting facilities for no fewer than 5,000 people, and provide plenary space for no fewer than 2,500. The churches offering to host the assembly should exhibit a strong ecumenical cooperation. They should be able to offer logistical support and to ensure that both the preparations and the event are accompanied through prayer.
All member churches are invited to consider hosting the next assembly, and to announce their interest to the general secretary by 1 March 2017. The central committee document GEN PRC02 On the way to the WCC 11th Assembly, includes as an appendix Specifications for considering potential venues, which will be of assistance to churches considering hosting the assembly.
If after reading the prerequisites for hosting the Assembly you have further questions, please contact Stanley Noffsinger, Director, Office of the General Secretariat at Stanley.Noffsinger@wcc-coe.org at your earliest opportunity.
The Assembly Planning Committee will convene later this year and will be tasked to respond to each site invitation.
The Assembly is a time of celebration, prayer and worship and serves to strengthen the bond of fellowship within the World Council of Churches. We look forward to your inquiries.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit