United by faith for action
By the time you peruse this Annual Review, the World Council of Churches (WCC) will have transitioned into new leadership with what I believe is an exciting and sustainable future.
I would like to take this time to express my gratitude to the WCC leadership and staff who have served in the past, and those who will carry the legacy forward into 2023.
I never expected to serve as the WCC acting general secretary—and certainly not for nearly three years! What we achieved, we achieved together.
As the WCC ́s 11th Assembly ended, I heard a clear message: Churches have asked us to remain as the platform that brings Christians together even in very difficult times.
Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the requests that the WCC received from member churches were for spiritual, biblical, or worship resources. I have received many positive messages about how, during a terrible time for so many, the fellowship drew closer together.
Moreover, by the end of my service as acting general secretary in December 2022, I realized we had received more messages about the positive impact of the WCC ́s 11th Assembly than I could count!
Seeing the world from the perspective of others, showing compassion for one another, and building trust as a vital part of our ecumenical journey are all signs of Christ-like love that move us to walk truthfully and wholeheartedly beside one another.
I have so many memories from 2022, and you will see many of them represented in these pages. From pilgrim visits to inter-religious bridge-building, from South Korea, to Moscow, Bahrain, the Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, and Ukraine. My last travels took me to the Holy Land, where I realized that now, perhaps more than ever, the churches and all people stand before a unique moment in history.
We are experiencing global crises related to climate change, health, food security, and energy. We are not alone in facing these challenges, but we have a particular role in responding.
I believe the WCC will act as a global fellowship— together—to confront them. I believe the WCC ́s new leaders will bring about transformational ideas and actions. We have strengthened our relationships within our global fellowship and our relationships and cooperation with people of other faiths as companions on our pilgrimage of justice and peace, based on our common values in responding to the pressing challenges of our times.
May you continue to be united by faith for action.
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Former acting general secretary, March 2020-Dec 2022
World Council of Churches