From the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches

From 30 Oktober to 8 November 2013 the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches was held in Busan, Republic of Korea. An assembly, the highest governing body of the WCC, is held once every seven to eight years to endorse policies, review projects and point the future direction of the organization. More than 3000 representatives from 345 member churches, related religious bodies and partner organizations took part in this assembly. Bishop Milos Klatik was also present as a delegate and represented the Evagelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia. The main theme was „God of life, lead us to justice and peace“.

In one of their first decisions as the Central Committee for the World Council of Churches, the newly installed 150-member committee made history Friday by electing Dr Agnes Abuom of Nairobi, from the Anglican Church of Kenya, as the moderator of the highest WCC governing body. Abuom, who was elected unanimously to the position, is the first woman and the first African in the position in the 65-year history of the WCC.
The WCC Central Committee has also elected as vice-moderators Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and Rev. Dr Mary Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church, USA. The Assembly has also appointed eight presidents to represent the WCC in their respective regions. The WCC presidents are Rev. Dr Mary Anne Plaatjies van Huffel (Africa), Rev. Prof. Dr Sang Chang (Asia), Archbishop Anders Wejryd(Europe), Rev. Gloria Nohemy Ulloa Alvarado (Latin America and the Caribbean), Bishop Mark MacDonald (North America), Rev. Dr Mele’ana Puloka (Pacific), H.B. John X Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East (Eastern Orthodox Churches) and Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians (Oriental Orthodox Churches).
Politicization of religion, rights of religious minorities and stateless people, peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and just peace served as subjects of the public statements adopted at the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea. “This assembly has provided a significant momentum for the ecumenical movement,” said the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit during a press meeting on 7 November in Busan. Tveit said that the WCC 10th Assembly has an important dimension, being held in the Republic of Korea; this has brought churches closer to the realities of an unresolved conflict. In his conclusion, Tveit identified "just peace" as an important component in the strategic direction for the work of the WCC.
A prayer service giving thanks and sending participants in peace closed the WCC 10th Assembly. Fr Michael Lapsley, SSM (Society of the Sacred Mission), who preached the homily at the closing prayer, said, “I pray that all of us will leave here inspired by God’s Holy Spirit to be Christ’s co-workers in the struggles for justice and peace”. Describing their time in Busan and other parts of the country, participants in the 10th Assembly offered this affirmation: “We share our experience of the search for unity in Korea as a sign of hope in the world. This is not the only land where people live divided, in poverty and richness, happiness and violence, welfare and war. We are not allowed to close our eyes to harsh realities or to rest our hands from God’s transforming work. As a fellowship, the World Council of Churches stands in solidarity with the people and the churches in the Korean peninsula, and with all who strive for justice and peace.”

Matus Kopca | 13.11.2013

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Grafické spracovanie:Ladislav Menyhart