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 >>
The largest ecumenical church body in the world will elect its new general secretary within the next week during a Central Committee meeting that opened Wednesday in Geneva.
Functioning as the main decision-making body of the World Council of Churches between assemblies, the Central Committee will meet from Aug. 26 to Sept. 2 to plan for the next WCC Assembly and to decide who will be its next leader.
Its current general secretary, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, had announced last February that he would not seek a second term in office. more >>
A candidate for the World Council of Churches’ top post acknowledged recently the many obstacles keeping churches from joining the ecumenical body, but spoke optimistically about the potential to overcome the differences.
During an interview with a German newspaper, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit of the Church of Norway (Lutheran) noted how Catholics and Protestants have grown closer than ever before, and said he believes a shared communion will one day be possible.
said he hopes Protestants and Catholics, Pentecostal and mainline churches, and Lutherans and Baptists can all work out their differences and worship together. more >>
The head of the World Council of Churches pressed the Nigerian president in a letter this week to ensure the security of all its citizens after expressing concern about the recent attacks by Muslim militants on security forces that left hundreds dead.
Noting the long history of sectarian violence in Nigeria, WCC general secretary the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia requested President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to “pay serious attention” to states in northern Nigeria, ensure the safety of all its people in the affected area, and bring to justice all those responsible for acts of violence.
The Kenyan-born clergyman also said he believes that the violence is not completely rooted in religious differences, but rather in politics. more >>
The committee responsible for finding the World Council of Churches’ next general secretary has announced the selection of two candidates who will vie to lead the ecumenical church body.
After three days of interviews and thorough discussions, the committee decided by consensus to propose the Rev. Dr Park Seong-won of the Presbyterian Church of Korea and the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit of the Church of Norway (Lutheran) for election by the Central Committee during its meeting in August 2009.
"The search committee worked in a good spirit of cooperation and Christian fellowship,” reported Dr. Agnes Abuom, the moderator of the search committee, which this week interviewed six “highly qualified candidates” identified at its last meeting in April. more >>
LONDON – The head of the World Council of Churches has called upon Christians to live out the core message in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan and treat others as their neighbors.
The Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia was speaking at the opening of the WCC’s conference on the response of churches to racism and other forms of discrimination and exclusion.
Pointing to the unprecedented gains of anti-immigration parties in the recent European Parliament election, Kobia warned that racism was “still alive” in the world. more >>