The World Council of Churches elected the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit as its new general secretary on Thursday during its Central Committee meeting in Geneva.
Tveit will succeed the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia as the seventh general secretary of the ecumenical body. At the age of 48, Teveit will be the youngest general secretary since Willem A. Visser't Hooft, who was 38 when he was named to the position in 1938 when the WCC was still in the process of forming.
"This task I really feel is the call of God, I feel that we have a lot to do together," said Tveit in his acceptance speech before the Central Committee.
The leader-elect highlighted the spirit of unity that dominated the whole election process and expressed hope that it will continue to govern the members in their common journey.
Tveit, a theologian and pastor from Norway, is a member of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission and the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway.
Since 2002, Tveit has been the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations.
Tveit was one of two candidates selected by the Central Committee for WCC's highest administrative post. The other candidate was the Rev. Dr. Park Seong-won, a Presbyterian theologian from South Korea.
The Central Committee will continue their meeting in Geneva until Sept. 2.