Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Monday, 11 July 2022
A WCC delegation pledges to convey concerns of Eastern Churches to WCC general assembly in Germany :

Weeks ahead the 11th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches,  WCC Acting General Secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca visited Beirut, heading a delegation from WCC including the Director of the Communication Department Mrs. Marianne Ejdersten, and Syria’s Programme Executive Mr. Michel Nseir, on Thursday 7 July 2022. The MECC Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs accompanied the delegation.


This visit aims at strengthening the fraternal relations between the Churches in the East and West and to listen to the concerns of the children and Christians of the region amidst all the difficult living conditions they are passing through. Hence, the delegation will raise the needs and expectations of the Middle Eastern people to the WCC 11th General Assembly, that will be held between 31 August and 8 September, 2022 in Karlsruhe in Germany.


The tour began with a meeting with His Holiness Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, during which they discussed about the importance of building bridges between the Eastern and Western Churches and the need to listen to the challenges of each aiming at working for a better and safer future.


Afterwards, the delegation headed to the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Rabieh region, and visited Reverend Joseph Kassab, General Secretary of the Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon and President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Synod in Syria and Lebanon, in the presence of Reverend Najla Kassab. During the meeting, the attendees tackled the issue of the Christian presence in the region as well as the theology of the land, stressing on the importance of consolidating the Ecumenical spirit among the churches.


The WCC delegation ended its tour in Beirut by visiting the headquarters of the MECC General Secretariat, and met the Council’s team. On the occasion, the Secretary General Dr. Michel Abs delivered a speech in which he said: “In this difficult time, a delegation from the World Council of Churches and the ACT Alliance moved to visit us and appraise our situation in a trend of Christian-Human solidarity well known to our sister organizations, our partners for half of a century of struggle.”


He added, “The delegation that preaches peace and justice came, bringing with it all the love of the disciples of the Incarnate Master who took our place on the cross in order for us to have a better life. The delegation came to tell us that it is concerned with us, with our destiny, with our life and our future as much as we are concerned.”


He also declared, “The MECC that brings together the churches of the region, brings them together and dialogues with them as it tries to fulfill its duty as best as it can. However this depends on two matters: The first is the support provided to its endeavors by the churches of the region within their available resources. This support is meant to increase in the coming period. The second is the support provided to it by the international ecumenical family represented by the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance.”


At the end of his speech, Dr. Abs said, “Welcome to the land of contradictions and tragedies. You came to us to share them with faith and courage. As General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, I send my best regards to your churches, organizations and peoples and convey to you our gratitude for the solidarity that you have never ceased to show us in various forms.”


In a spontaneous speech, Prof. Sauca expressed his happiness to meet once again with the team of the MECC General Secretariat, and said that their visit to Beirut came “to listen to situation and expectations of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East that we would like to share with the WCC General Assembly.”


He added, "You have that power to continue your witness and presence here in this cradle of Christianity. I see you have a strong faith in witnessing to who you are and what is your message.”


Sauca also expressed the solidarity of the West with the people of the Middle East and said, “As sisters and brothers from other parts of the world we are with you, please be sure you are not alone. We are aware of your your struggle and tragedies, and we express our solidarity with your struggle for survival and for a better life for the other generations.”


Then there was a discussion during which the attendees exchanged their point of views on the various challenges and current difficulties faced by the Churches and the people of the Middle East.