Photo: Marianne Ejdersten/WCC
06 March 2019
Last week a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) led by Metropolitan Prof. Dr Gennadios of Sassima, vice-moderator of the WCC Central Committee and moderator of the Assembly Planning Committee, and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, visited Karlsruhe, Germany, where the WCC 11th Assembly will be held in September 2021.
The assembly is the supreme legislative body of the WCC, and meets every eight years. The formal purpose of the assembly is to review programmes and determine the overall policies of the WCC, as well as to elect the presidents of the WCC and the other members of the Central Committee which serves as the chief governing body of the WCC until the next assembly.
775 delegates and 3,000 participants from all over the world are expected to attend the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe.
Metropolitan Gennadios said: “This is the third assembly in Europe, the last one being 50 years ago in Uppsala in 1968.” Metropolitan Gennadios, who also moderates the Assembly Planning Committee, added: “In 2016, the Central Committee tasked an Assembly Planning Committee with examining the nature and style of the 11th Assembly, envisioning the potential theme, exploring the spiritual life and communication possibilities, discussing assembly participation and seat allocation, alongside financial matters. This is the first official visit to the assembly venue and meeting with the local host.”
Bishop Petra Bosse-Huber, bishop for Ministries Abroad in the Evangelical Church in Germany, described Karlsruhe as a symbolic place. “The cross-border connection of people and churches across the Rhine to France demonstrates how divisions can be overcome today. There is hardly anything more important that the world needs today than reconciliation," said Bosse-Huber.
Bosse-Huber added: “All 20 Landeskirchen – United, Lutheran and Reformed churches – that comprise the Evangelical Church in Germany expressed their willingness to host the assembly. Other WCC member churches in Germany, as well as the Council of Churches in Germany also support hosting the assembly.”
Tveit said: “The week-long assembly under the motto ‘Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity’ should be a place of cohesion, maintaining contact, listening and encouraging.”
Tveit added: “The WCC assembly, held every eight years, is central to the life of the WCC member churches and the entire ecumenical movement. As a unique event, it provides the opportunity for WCC to continue its journey as a living expression of the fellowship of churches together seeking to fulfil their common calling.”
Bishop Dr Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh of Baden described the meeting as a "great opportunity" for ecumenism.The meeting can show how "peace works and justice can grow".
Cornelius-Bundschuh underlined that “the churches in the trans-border region between Germany and France have a special vision for hosting the assembly – to strengthen the unity of Europe and its relationship with the world.”
The Protestant Church in Baden became a united church by petition of the people in 1821, so the assembly will also coincide with the church celebrating 200 years of being united in 2021.