As the World Council of Churches (WCC) 11th Assembly opened on 31 August in Karlsruhe, Germany, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca shared a report that touched upon the climate crisis, COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and many other challenges in the world.
“In responding to the hardships of our times, we need one another, we depend on one another, and we can advance only if we walk together, not in separation,” he said. “Therefore, I would dare to say that if the WCC did not exist, we would have to invent or reinvent it today.”
Sauca’s report showed the breadth of the WCC’s work related to the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, the climate crisis, racial justice, the wounds caused by the war in Ukraine and other conflicts in the world, and advancing human rights in the Holy Land.
“I am convinced that in looking to the period before us, we must continue our common ecumenical journey as a pilgrimage of reconciliation and unity as an overarching paradigm that guides the WCC’s programmatic work,” he said. “Moreover, since reconciliation and unity cannot be achieved without justice and peace, this will be a natural continuation of the ecumenical paradigm that was coined at the time of our 10th Assembly in Busan, but now shaped and aligned in response to the needs of a world longing for reconciliation and unity.”
He also noted that care for creation is central to the witness of churches. “It is a theological issue,” he said. “God’s plan in Christ was also the reconciliation and healing of the whole creation.”
In addition, he underscored the essentialness of ecumenical relationships. “I am convinced more than ever that the WCC remains an essential instrument for engaging the churches and amplifying their common witness as a fundamental expression of fellowship and togetherness,” he said. “This can be achieved only by strengthening collaboration with ecumenical partners, including regional ecumenical organizations and national councils of churches, Christian world communions, and specialized ministries.”
In conclusion, Sauca gave thanks to God for being a constant presence during Sauca’s service as acting general secretary, which he thought would be for a short time but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has stretched into nearly three years. “The real captain of the ecumenical boat and the head of the church is none of us but Christ,” said Sauca. “We are but humbly instruments and could be successful if we follow his will.”
Originally from Webpage: "oikoumene.org"
CCD reprinted with permission.