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.
As bombs and rockets rained from the skies in Lebanon and Israel, the American presidents of international Lutheran and Reformed fellowships joined with the World Council of Churches to plead for an immediate cease-fire, saying that “the world cannot wait for signs of ‘a new Middle East’ to stop the killing.”
Pleas from church leaders follow UN call to defuse tensions
Jul 25, 2006
The international community needs “to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence” in the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to World Council of Churches general secretary Samuel Kobia.
The theme of the World Council of Churches Ninth Assembly, held last month in Porto Alegre, Brazil, was the prayer, “God, in your grace, transform the world.” A recurrent question for many observers is whether the WCC can transform itself.
Leaders of the U.S. denominations belonging to the World Council of Churches created a small buzz at Porto Alegre by delivering a letter to the Ninth Assembly in which they confessed the complicity of the U.S. churches in actions and policies that are detrimental to the well-being of the world.
The appeals for visible church unity made at the recent World Council of Churches assembly in Brazil were not new, but the longtime obstacles remain a sore point for many—especially limits on celebrating communion in each other’s churches and the lack of a common date for Easter.
Interfaith relations—and tensions—quickly took center stage at the opening of the World Council of Churches’ ninth assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil, as Christian leaders grappled with Muslim rage over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Saying climate change represents one of humanity’s most dire threats, the top official of the World Council of Churches has appealed to denominations around the world to speak with one voice to alert political leaders to tackle the issue.