To cope with financial pressure and to sustain a rapport with its numerous donors, the World Council of Churches plans to reorganize and reduce staff at its Geneva and New York offices.
"The council, through this reorganization, has manifested its will and its ability to respond constructively to a critical situation," said General Secretary Konrad Raiser. "The adjustment of the internal organization and leadership structure will result in a clearer profile of the WCC's programs and strengthen its co-operation with ecumenical partners."
The budget for 2003 has been reduced by 7.4 million Swiss francs (almost US$6 million) and staff will be reduced by 16 full-time equivalent positions to a level of 141, achieved through retirements, relocation of some activities in co-operation with regional partners, and termination of some contracts. The reductions will be accompanied by an income-generating strategy that will focus on assuring the on-going support of current donors while seeking new donors.
The reorganization will sharpen the council's focus on five themes: faith and order; mission and ecumenical formation; justice, peace and creation; international affairs, peace and security; and diakonia and solidarity.
"We hope that these changes in the organization will lead to a period of stability in which the staff, members churches and other supporters of the WCC are able to devote themselves to meeting the global ecumenical challenges before us," said vice-moderator Marion Best after a mid-November meeting of officers and Central Committee members that adopted the changes.
By Albert H. Lee