The World Council of Churches on Wednesday called on Israel to cease and dismantle its settlements in the occupied territories.
Passed on the last day of the WCC Central Committee meeting, the “Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” encouraged an international boycott of products and services from settlements. It also urged the Israeli government to commit to non-violence and peace negotiations.
“[While] Israel’s own right to exist in security evokes sympathy and solidarity around the world,” states the Central Committee, WCC’s main decision-making body, “its policies of expansion and annexation generate dismay or hostility.” more >>
Organizers of the 2013 World Council of Churches assembly stressed that the next meeting would bring together not only WCC members, but also representatives of other Christian traditions, including Pentecostals and Evangelicals still outside the WCC fold.
“Moving together towards a wider Christian family, a wider global Christian forum – that is our goal and we are moving towards this goal,” said Dr. Jong-wha Park of the assembly organizing committee.
“That’s why Pentecostals are invited, evangelicals are invited, ecumenicals are invited to Korea. This is the clear sign that we are working towards a wider ecumenical solidarity.” more >>
The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches has voted to hold its next General Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in 2013.
After hours of deliberation, the final vote was cast by more than a hundred members of the Central Committee in a secret ballot.
Busan came out on top with 70 votes, followed by Damascus in Syria with 59 votes in favor. There were no abstentions. more >>
The American Jewish Committee, one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States, denounced a statement made by the World Council of Churches General Secretary the Rev. Samuel Kobia who called Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories “a sin against God.”
“Rev. Kobia parrots the same hypocritical statements regarding Israel that the WCC regularly issues, ignoring the root cause of Israel’s presence in the West Bank,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC’s international director of interreligious affairs, in a statement issued Friday.
The prominent rabbi pointed to the Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel battled against Egypt, Syria and Jordan to protect the Jewish state from being destroyed. As a result of the war, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights all fell under Israel’s control. The Sinai Peninsula was later returned to Egypt after a peace treaty was signed. more >>
GENEVA – The newly elected general secretary of the World Council of Churches said that fulfilling Jesus’ prayer “that they may be one” remains the global ecumenical body’s primary task and can not be separated from its concern for justice, peace or creation.
The Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit told reporters at a meeting of the WCC’s Central Committee in Geneva that inter-church solidarity was all the more important for Christians living in difficult circumstances and that the WCC has a vital role to play in raising and strengthening the voice of other Christians.
“We are living in a time when there is a strong need for inter-Christian solidarity in this world,” Tveit said on Friday. more >>
Ecumenical Christian leaders around the world congratulated Norwegian theologian Olav Fykse Tveit on his election Thursday as the next general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Chosen during the meeting of WCC’s main decision-making body, the Central Committee, Tveit will succeed the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, who has served as the ecumenical body’s general secretary since January 2004 and announced last February his intention to not seek a second term.
Though 48-year-old Tveit will be the youngest person to lead the WCC since Willem A. Visser’t Hooft, who was 38 when he was named to the position in 1938 as the WCC was still in the process of forming, the Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko, general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), said Tveit will bring to his new position broad experience that prepares him to lead in all the aspects of WCC’s work. more >>