„Affirming the wholeness of life“

Yesterday in the plenary the main word was „Compassion“.

Compassion with the suffering creation, with people suffering under gender injustice, with victims of war, of racism or violence,  people suffering under HIV Aids or other diseases, with the farmers who are suffering under the climate change, with the hungry and needy.

Jocabed Solano, an Indigenous woman from Panama, shared her dream of a land where all can live fully and abundantly. “I dream of a world where the economy is based on a relationship of respect and harmony towards the land. I dream of a church that plays its role of light in the world and walks in defense of life and harmony. A church that denounces evil and death towards Indigenous peoples. A church that recognizes that the richness of the wealthy comes from extractivism and violence against mother earth and its inhabitants. A church that confesses and repents for its complicity in the tragedy of colonialism that took place yesterday and still takes place today. I dream of the good life where there is enough food for all, with no exception.”

All agreed that this will be on the agenda of the WCC in the following years.

In the business plenary in the afternoon the eight new presidents of WCC have been elected:

From Africa, Rev. Dr Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, of the Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide, was chosen as the regional president. Ositelo will be the first WCC president from an African Instituted Church.

Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang, from Gereja Tora, a Reformed church in Indonesia, was elected Asia president. Hutabarat-Lebang is a church leader and ecumenist from Indonesia.

Caribbean and Latin America
From the Caribbean and Latin America, Rev. Philip Silvin Wright was elected as a president. Ordained a deacon and a priest at the historic Anglican Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Belize City, Wright worked primarily in the pastoral ministry in various districts in Belize.

For Europe, Rev. Dr Susan Durber of the United Reformed Church (United and Uniting) will serve as president. She is an ordained minister of the United Reformed Church in the UK.

North America
Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., will serve as president for North America. Walker-Smith is the national senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World based in Washington D.C.

The Pacific’s president will be Rev. François Phiaatae, of the Maòhi Protestant Church a Reformed church. Pihaatae is from Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) and is an ordained minister of the Etärëtia Porotetani Mäòhi (Mäòhi Protestant Church).

Eastern Orthodox
For the Eastern Orthodox churches, H.E. Metropolitan Dr Vasilios of Constantia – Ammochostos, Church of Cyprus, will serve as president. Metropolitan Vasilios is a native of Ammochostos on the island of Cyprus.

Oriental Orthodox
H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, will serve as a president for the Oriental Orthodox churches president. He is a former moderator of the WCC central committee.

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