Lutheran theologian Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the Church of Norway’s ecumenical and international council, has been chosen as the top executive of the World Council of Churches. His election as general secretary was announced August 27 in Geneva during a meeting of the WCC Central Committee.
In an ecumenical first, a general secretary of the World Council of Churches took part with the pope in a Rome service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an observance that began 100 years ago in the U.S.
As religious leaders around the world called for the release of South Korean church volunteers held hostage in Afghanistan, the head of the World Council of Churches visited in mid-August with families of the humanitarian workers caught up in the ongoing fight between the U.S.-backed government and the overthrown Taliban.
World Council of Churches officials have welcomed word that after 2010, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches will no longer hold global assemblies of their own under current plans.
Three-quarters of the World Council of Churches’ 348 member bodies paid their membership contributions in 2005, compared with 55 percent in 1999, the main governing body of the world’s biggest church grouping reports.