(original post 15th June 2022)
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca has been serving as acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches.
He reflects, “We all remember March 2020. The world went into lockdown as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe.”
Yet the WCC has remained a vibrant fellowship of churches.
“Wars and conflicts have erupted in different parts of the world, bringing loss of lives, destruction, famine, dislocations of populations, refugees. At every step, it has been my prayer that the WCC can be a space for dialogue, for listening and caring for one another, and for just peace and reconciliation.”
As followers of Christ, we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. “It would be very easy to use the language of the politicians, but we are called to use the language of faith, of our faith. It is easy to exclude, excommunicate, and demonize, but we are called as WCC to use a free and safe platform of encounter and dialogue, to meet and listen to one another even if and when we disagree.”
This has always been the way of the WCC, he said. “I believe in the power of dialogue in the process toward reconciliation,” he said. “Imposed peace is not peace; a lasting peace has to be a just peace.”
War cannot be just or holy, he said. “In this time, until the end of my responsibility as acting general secretary that you have entrusted to me, I will not stop speaking against any aggression, invasion, or war, I will continue being prophetic, but I will do my best to keep the WCC what it was meant to be and to keep the table of dialogue open,” he said.
This upcoming 11th WCC Assembly in Karlsruhe has a focus on love, compassion, reconciliation, healing, and unity – even in the context of a global pandemic and war.
The WCC is at a turning point in history, Sauca concluded. “We need to stay together with strong bonds of love and commitment, our legacy for the period post-Karlsruhe being a strong and meaningful WCC.”