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From transition to transformation
We have moved, says WCRC president. Now we need to change.
“I am personally impressed with the smooth move and relocation,” President Jerry Pillay said today in his address to the WCRC Executive Committee. He urged the committee not to continue business as usual after the move but to look “at the life, work and witness of the WCRC through new lenses. How can we help transform a world of sin, suffering and struggle?”
The WCRC is the most diverse of the world Christian confessional families, bringing together in one communion Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches. “It is a joy and a privilege to have such a wide connection and fellowship,” Pillay said, but diversity also brings its challenges.
Straddling six continents “reveals to us the vast discrepancies and inequalities that prevail in our world” that we must confront as we build our fellowship.
Theological diversity and ethical disagreements also put communion under strain. “We are witnessing splits in denominations, severance of long-standing denominational partnerships, and a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach justifying separation and disunity,” Pillay said. The WCRC should take more seriously its role as “a platform and a facility” to help its member churches embrace diversity and difference.
Communion needs to be built from the bottom up “if it is to be meaningful and true,” Pillay stressed. The WCRC needs to revisit its plan to empower the regions and make it work more effectively. “We need to encourage a ‘culture of sharing’ resources, people and experiences. We need to facilitate opportunities for people to share their stories and life experiences across the globe.” We need to empower our member churches at the ground level “so that they are actively involved in ministry together, as a visible Christian witness to our unity.”
This was the 10th anniversary of the Accra Confession, Pillay reminded the committee – “perhaps the WCRC’s clearest statement on justice in the world.” A decade on, we need to assess what we have done to implement the confession. “We are an organization in transition and in need of transformation as we seek to transform the world to reflect the glory of God,” he concluded.
The Executive Committee will take up key aspects of Pillay’s report later in the week, under the meeting’s theme of “Behold, I make all things new.”
The Executive Committee, the governing board of the WCRC, is holding its annual meeting in Hannover, Germany, 11-18 May. It is composed of 30 members from around the world.
Get more information on the Executive Committee meeting: wcrc.ch/executive-committee-2014
Follow activities from the meeting through posts on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/worldcommunion
See pictures from the meeting on our Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/reformedcommunio/
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) represents 80 million Christians in over 105 countries. Through WCRC, member churches engage in ecumenical dialogue, promotion of church unity, theological study and worldwide initiatives supporting climate, economic and gender justice and church mission.
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News Release: 12 May 2014