Wpisał: World Council of Churches
Conflicts in Congo and Gaza, recognition of the International Year of Reconciliation, the impact of the global economic crisis on the WCC budget and an update on the election of a new general secretary were topics of discussion and action by the WCC Executive Committee which met in Bossey, Switzerland, 17 to 20 February 2009.

Conflicts in Congo and Gaza

Calling on its member churches to pray and advocate for those who have suffered because of deadly conflicts in Gaza and Congo, the committee approved strong statements meant to raise awareness and motivate governments to respond to these tragedies.
The suffering of innocent people in these conflicts has been staggering, the statements say.

War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has left some 4.3 million people dead. More than 40 per cent of those killed are women and children. An additional 15 million people are malnourished because of the conflict, the statement says.

The December and January Israeli bombardment of Gaza left more than 1,500 Palestinians dead, most of them women and children. Thousands more were injured and left homeless. Four Israeli civilians were killed as a result of Hamas rockets fired into Israel, the statement says.

“We view these documents as important for the worldwide church to read and disseminate among their congregations,” WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia said. “So many people have suffered and lost their lives because of these conflicts, and we can no longer turn a blind eye.”

“There is much we can do,” Kobia said.

In the Congo statement the international community was challenged “to step up humanitarian and technical support for national reconstruction” while “helping to stimulate and guide socio-economic restitution for the people of DRC who have been cheated of their wealth through systematic international plunder of natural resources which should be destined for the well being of the Congolese people.”

It also calls for international support for the Congolese churches and the people of Congo as they pursue a sustainable peace.

The Gaza statement called on WCC member churches and related organizations to “hold their own governments to account” for the responsibilities they bear under international law to help resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

It also called on the “United Nations to investigate alleged war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the parties to the Gaza conflict.”

Anniversary of International Women’s Day

A third statement recognizing the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day was also passed by the committee.

The statement called on WCC member churches to “invest in the building of stable families as a sure source of positive socialization for gender equity and peace for both boys and girls.”

Public hearing on reconciliation

In a public hearing on reconciliation an international ecumenical panel of experts highlighted the contribution and role of churches in reconciliation processes around the world. The hearing was held on 19 February at the WCC headquarters in Geneva.

While truth is an obvious precondition for reconciliation, reconciliation is in turn a precondition for lasting peace, said the Rev. Kjell Magne Bondevik, a former prime minister of Norway who chaired the panel.

However Bondevik, who is also the moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, stressed the dilemma that societies often face between justice on the one hand and peace on the other.

WCC budget for 2009 and 2010

The executive committee wrestled with concerns over the global economic crisis and its impact on the WCC budget for 2009 and 2010.

“We have a healthy balance sheet for 2008 but have been required to make some adjustments in our planning for 2009,” Kobia said. “Like all our member churches the WCC is not untouched by the global financial crisis.”

The WCC has made some adjustments in its programme activities for 2009 and 2010 as the weakening of the Euro, British pound sterling and other European currencies impact the financial planning in Swiss francs, the currency in which the WCC does its accounting. Adjustments planned for 2010 mostly involve consolidating some programme activities and lowering costs.

“While the WCC will find its way through this financial crisis and continue to conduct its work as usual, the church cannot forget the impact this crisis is having on the poor,” Kobia said.

Search for a new WCC general secretary

In a report to the executive committee about the search for a new general secretary, Agnes Abuom, a WCC executive committee member from Kenya and head of the search committee, said the search for the new general secretary remained on track.

The next steps in the search process are the closing of the nomination and application process on 28 February and the development of a short list of candidates in early April, Abuom said. Once the short list is created candidates will be interviewed in June and the election will be held at the WCC Central Committee meetings in Geneva at the end of August.

Statement on the Gaza war:

Statement on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

Statement on the International Women’s Day:

More information on the WCC Executive Committee:

More on the International Year of Reconciliation 2009:

Additional information: Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.