The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) will discuss the situation in Iraq, Cyprus and Sri Lanka at its forthcoming regular meeting from 18 to 21 February. Also on its agenda will be the search for candidates for the post of general secretary, preparations for the WCC's next assembly, and the follow-up to the work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC. The Committee will also have to decide on this year's focus for the Decade to Overcome Violence.
At its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee will examine various possible scenarios for the Iraq crisis, and consider what might be the role of the churches and the ecumenical movement in each case. It will also focus on the situation in Cyprus and in Sri Lanka - two places where local churches are closely involved in current peace processes.
The Executive Committee will receive a report from a search committee set up to identify candidates for the post of general secretary. The search committee will propose the name of one or more candidates to be voted on by the Central Committee at its next meeting in September. Under the terms of its mandate, the search committee is required to make a regular progress report to the Executive Committee regarding an agreed timetable. But it is not required to provide details on the substance of its work, for example, on the number of nominees, their countries of origin, etc.
Preparations for the next WCC assembly, to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 2006, are also on the agenda. The Executive Committee will prepare decisions that have to be taken by the next Central Committee. These concern the Assembly theme, the number of delegates attending, the date and duration, the subsidies policy and the appointment of the members of Planning and Worship Committees.
The work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC calls for changes in some areas of the Council's life. The Executive Committee will follow up on two of these - the procedures implicit in the "consensus" method of decision-making, and the nature and obligations of "member church" status.
A country with an ongoing peace process, where churches are actively involved in promoting reconciliation and peace, will be proposed as the new focus of the Decade to Overcome Violence. "Sudan, Africa - Healing and Reconciliation" is the theme suggested for the coming year. A special event will also mark the end of last year's Decade focus: "End the illegal occupation of Palestine: Support a just peace in the Middle East".
Other items on the Executive Committee's agenda are the general secretary's report, reports on finance and budget, and on other WCC programmes.