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.
A Wisconsin-based group of atheists and agnostics has filed suit against President Bush over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer. The Freedom from Religion Foundation maintains that the law violates the First Amendment’s prohibition against an official establishment of religion.
A World Council of Churches team that included two U.S. clergy returned to the WCC’s Swiss headquarters from a visit to Georgia and Russia to describe a state of “lawlessness” in areas of South Ossetia and said humanitarian aid is not reaching people caught up in the conflict.
The World Council of Churches, suddenly faced with criticisms of its general secretary, Samuel Kobia, who decided not to seek another five-year term, is searching for a new executive to take over the world’s largest ecumenical body next year.
ElenoraGiddingsIvory, who directed for nearly two decades the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington office, has taken a position with the World Council of Churches. She headed the PCUSA public policy, information and advocacy office in Washington and will now head the Geneva-based WCC public witness program.
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.
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, a body that opposes the death penalty, asked God to grant Iraq “the mercy, justice and compassion that it has long been denied” and “an end to the fear and death that marked Saddam Hussein’s rule.”
Billy Graham has been named in the Gallup Poll’s top 10 “most admired men” list for a record 50th time. In a poll taken in mid-December, the 88-year-old evangelist came in fifth. Ranked before him, in order, were President George W. Bush, former president Bill Clinton, former president Jimmy Carter and Senator BarackObama (D., Ill.).
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.