Tag Archives: World Council of Churches

WCC Christmas Message 2010

from the World Council of Churches general secretary

The nativity of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by angelic choirs in the heights of heaven, and the joyous news is echoed afterwards by modest shepherds in fields near Bethlehem. Meanwhile, a mother and father care for their newborn child. No place for this family could be found in the inn, so they shelter among livestock. The circumstances are strikingly humble, yet their infant is the occasion of the angels’ song:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favours!”

Luke 2:13-14

The splendour of Christmas highlights many contrasts in our surroundings. First of all – it is all about what we are given – surprisingly – by God. This revelation of glory in heaven is given to people living off the land, dependent on simple blessings found in fields and farmyards, in caring for sheep and celebrating a new birth. It is they who first hear the promise of so much more than bare survival or the simplest pleasure. They dare to imagine the real possibility of peace on earth. The song of angels encourages them to give glory to God alone and to seek peace with others, far and near.

Conditions in the world today are marked by contrasts at least as great as those in Jesus’ time. Everywhere we see wildly contradictory instances of poverty and wealth, systems of tyranny and of justice, brutal violence and sincere attempts at reconciliation. Through it all, we are keenly aware of the need for a peace worthy of the name: just peace for all.

In this season, and in looking to the New Year, we in the World Council of Churches find encouragement in the potential for seeking peace that is to be afforded in May 2011 at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in Kingston, Jamaica. Taking as its motto “Glory to God; Peace on Earth”, the IEPC will serve as a culmination of the churches’ Decade for Overcoming Violence (2001-2010) and an occasion to renew our common commitment to the establishment of a just peace among peoples.

We encourage you to make certain your church is participating in the IEPC as all WCC member churches have been invited to send representatives to the convocation. For the World Council of Churches, peace is a vital part of living the fellowship and building Christian unity.

In these days we hear anew the opening accounts in the life of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Our hearts and spirits are refreshed once more. In response, we rededicate ourselves to the praise of God in highest heaven and to our ministries of peace on earth.

May the blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you always.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
General secretary,
World Council of Churches

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Filed under Church & world, church year, Ecumenical

Statement on Zimbabwe by the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches

From Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia:

Concerned about the integrity of elections, the World Council of Churches Central Committee stated recently that, “…in democratic systems, elections serve as a way for people to confer legitimacy on a participatory democratic political system. In order to ensure that an election truly reflects the will of the people, attention should be paid to pre- and post-electoral mechanisms.”

Nearly one month ago on 29 March the people of Zimbabwe went to the polls to cast a vote for their future. Today they wait patiently but with growing apprehension while the Zimbabwe Election Commission continues to count and recount ballots. Each day that passes without the release of results reduces public confidence in the commission and in any results it may announce.

As the Zimbabwean people wait, there are repeated reports of organized violence against those who did not vote for the ruling party. What is happening in Zimbabwe raises new concerns that an electoral process in Africa is again being compromised by rigging and reprisals. Such actions must be stopped.

We support the call by church leaders in Zimbabwe for the United Nations and leaders of Africa and the Southern African Development Community to intervene and prevent a political crisis from escalating into mass violence. Meanwhile, a ship laden with weapons and ammunition recently purchased by the government of Zimbabwe has meandered up the coast of southern Africa in search of a port to offload its cargo. So far, Zimbabwe’s neighbours — churches, labour unions, arms control groups and governments — have succeeded in turning this particular ship away. We commend them for stopping delivery of weapons likely to be used for violations of international law. The action is a demonstration of the SADC region’s concern for arms controls. Further vigilance is needed, however, amid reports of similar arms deals destined for Zimbabwe at present.

Read the rest here.

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Filed under Church & world, Lord have mercy