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Strengthening Ecumenical Ties Between the WCC and the EKD

( [email protected] ) Sep 27, 2004 11:04 AM EDT

The chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) expressed his “support and solidarity” for the World Council of Churches (WCC) during a Sept 22-24 visit to Geneva. Bishop Dr Wolfgang Huber’s visit was made as a “return” for the visit made by WCC’s General Secretary Samuel Kobia to Germany in July.

Huber, who went on to say he follow the WCC activities with “great sympathy,” expressed his hope that membership in the Council, and its worship and spiritual life in particular, would "remain relevant" to all its members, including the Orthodox churches.

"I am happy to hear that the Orthodox members of the WCC are accepting the recommendations of the Special Commission", said Huber. "We will try to live with those recommendations even in the areas where we have some difficulties."

Huber also shared “new structures” of the EKD that allows it to be financially stable.

The EKD “has been able to address financial difficulties with new structures, and has reached some stability," which would help it to "focus on its important programmatic issues".

Thus, he added, "the WCC is now in a better position to negotiate from a solid financial basis with funding partners and specialized ministries".

Huber noted the need for stronger ecumenical ties, as seen by the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches; the two multi-million member groups may hold their next general assemblies together.

Huber also emphasized the need for ecumenical relationships in the light of the present human rights and refugee crises.

The movements of the ecumenical bodies “to certain extent different from those of other non-governmental organizations,” said Huber. Christians all over the world "pray every Sunday for those whose human rights are violated, and express their solidarity through their intercessions". Churches are very close to the "grassroots", and should take advantage of their favored situation to "deepen and improve" their commitment, he said.

Rev. Kobia agreed, saying that "further cooperation between WCC and EKD is very important, particularly in light of the worldwide responsibility of the ecumenical fellowship for justice and peace".

Huber, a member of the WCC Executive Committee, concluded by saying that "More than half of my life has been related to the WCC” and that the experience has been “very formative for my personal life and my ecumenical journey".