As we look around us at cruel wars in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world, taking thousands of innocent lives, and at increased militarization, political divisions and economic turmoil, it is important to remember that, ultimately, the God of life prevails.
It is important that we stand together as a WCC fellowship on a foundation of hope built by reconciliation and peace-building.
Strengthened by such faith and hope, we should not be afraid, we should not despair when we see what happens in our world today but confront it with courage.
During the period of mounting tensions over Ukraine and following the outbreak of the conflict, the WCC leadership and I have been intensively engaged in seeking ways to address the situation. On that very day of 24 February 2022 when the war started, I made a strong statement supporting the statement of Metropolitan Onufriy and called on President Putin to “stop this fratricidal war, and to restore peace to the people and nation of Ukraine.”
It has not been possible to share in any public or semi- public domain in real-time most of our efforts. But I want to share with you this update on our initiatives thus far and what are currently envisaged as next steps.
WCC is in close contact with ACT Alliance regarding church-based humanitarian responses to the situation in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries due to the conflict. Most recently, a joint delegation visit took place in the region 14-18 March, to Hungary and Romania and border regions of Ukraine.
Having seen the impact of the conflict in the faces
of refugees arriving in these neighbouring countries, and being aware of the plight and peril of all those civilians still trapped and unable to flee, we strongly underscore the urgent necessity of effective and secure humanitarian corridors to enable civilians to escape the fighting.
Before the conflict in Ukraine escalated, during 2021, the World Council of Churches fellowship drew together in prayer in unprecedented ways.
I believe God heard our prayers. We asked God for courage and wisdom. We trusted in God’s promise to overcome whatever faced us. And we faced a lot. We lost many in the ecumenical family due to COVID-19 and other reasons.
Amid this sadness—perhaps even from this sadness— has grown a new commitment for active compassion for each other. If the COVID-19 pandemic reached all the regions of our planet, it has also revealed our unexpected vulnerability and interdependence.
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
WCC acting general secretary