Wednesday, September 09, 2009

World Council of Churches names new general secretary.

The election of Norwegian theologian and pastor Olav Fykse Tveit as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the selection of a venue for its next assembly were highlights of the WCC Central Committee meeting that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on Aug. 26-Sept. 2.

Tveit, 48, was elected 7th general secretary of the WCC, succeeding outgoing general secretary Samuel Kobia who completes his tenure at the end of 2009.

The Central Committee, the main governing body of the WCC between assemblies, also issued a series of statements and minutes on wide-ranging religious, political, and social matters, and discussed issues of governance and finances, according to a WCC release.

The city of Busan in the Republic of Korea was chosen as venue for the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013. Park Jong-wha, chair of the international committee of the National Council of Churches in South Korea, expressed hope that the WCC's presence could "contribute greatly toward peaceful reconciliation and reunification" for the divided peninsula.

The Central Committee reviewed the WCC's programmatic work and acknowledged the unsustainability of programs as presently organized. It recommended that programs be restructured, and stressed the need for prioritization and a more modest, limited, and sustainable approach. A number of recommendations related to the 2010 budget were adopted as well, and the moderator of the finance committee said that further reductions in 2010 income for the WCC could be in the range of 5-10 percent.

Statements on specific international issues addressed situations in Pakistan, Israel, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Fiji, and Darfur, Sudan. Other statements addressed caste-based discrimination, just finance and the economy of life, eco-justice and ecological debt, and anti-Christian violence. Two additional statements called for Christians to seek a nuclear-weapon-free world, and reiterated WCC support for the right of conscientious objection to the military. The committee called on member churches to "uphold the right of refusal to bear and use arms" wherever possible.

For more information, photos from the meeting, and links to the full statements adopted by the WCC Central Committee, go to

Source: 9/9/2009 Newsline

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