The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee leadership convened on 13 April, focusing on preparing for the WCC executive committee meeting in May and the WCC central committee meeting in June, an out-of-ordinary meeting born out of a need for conducting necessary business in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee, led an opening prayer for the living fellowship in the midst of the pandemic.
Dr Agnes Abuom, moderator of the WCC central committee, paused the meeting for a silent minute to commemorate all those who have left us in the pandemic.
In his report, WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca said that the challenges that the COVID-19 crisis presents to us are manifold. “Yet we remain strong if we stay together in our fellowship of prayer and fraternal solidarity,” he said, as exemplified in the historic global prayer service hosted by the WCC on 26 March, that reflected powerful hope and courage, even amid world’s suffering.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread loss and hardship, people across the world have drawn closer to the WCC, showing increased interest in many channels of communication,” said Sauca. In March 2021, the website received 160,000 unique visitors and 173,000 visits, an increase of 76% and 52% respectively comparing to the previous year.
WCC acting general has been sending monthly accountability reports to the WCC Central and Executive Committees to share information on the WCC’s focus and adjustment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sauca also reported that the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism is planning its contributions for the WCC 11th Assembly in 2022. The WCC Faith and Order Commission is also harvesting the fruits of its study groups, and continues to look to future activities and dialogue with a sense of hope. Sauca also gave an update on the Green Village project.
The executive committee will meet online 17-20 May (25 May if needed) and the central committee will meet on video conference 23-29 June 2021.