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 >>
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. more >>
Lutheran ministers who are in same-sex relationships will not be allowed to serve as clergy in United Methodist congregations despite the new full communion agreement between the two denominations.
Bishop Gregory Palmer, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, made clear on Wednesday that UMC's ban on noncelibate gay clergy still stands.
"Our Book of Discipline on that subject did not become null and void when they took that vote," said Palmer, according to the United Methodist News Service. "It still applies to United Methodist clergy." more >>
The outgoing head of the World Council of Churches delivered his final address to the ecumenical organization’s central committee Wednesday, emphasizing the importance of the “visible unity” of the church – not as an end in itself, “but for the sake of the future of humanity and all of God’s creation.”
“The sinful and deadly reality around us can be transformed by Christ as God’s love is communicated both by people who are witnesses to Christ’s self-emptying love and in all the wonders of God’s creation as it is continually renewed by the Holy Spirit,” stated the Rev. Samuel Kobia, who has served as general secretary of the WCC since January 2004.
However, a “relevant witness” of the churches in today’s world is no longer possible, he added, “if churches stay divided and cannot demonstrate to the world that the transformative power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the driving force in making the whole church a sign and foretaste of a united humanity that cares for each other and for this planet.” more >>