The executive committee of the World Council of Churches – the largest ecumenical body in the world – agreed to convene a major multi-religious international conference to ease the state of relations between different faith communities in today’s world, during their Geneva conference, Feb. 20, 2004.
"Inter-religious dialogue is increasingly an imperative in our contemporary world, and will be one of the top priorities for the WCC in coming years,” said the newly instated WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia.
Kobia was formally installed during the prayer service and ceremnoy that preceeded the assembly.
In addition to the work of inter-faith ecumenism, the WCC staff focused on the current programmic works on nullifying the sting of HIV/AIDS. Since 1986, the WCC gave “high level attention” to the pandemic, and in recent years, the WCC began an Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa. Such effort, according to the WCC media, “have facilitated the emergence of new church networks and multiple local initiatives, with the common purpose of countering the impact and devastation of HIV/AIDS.”
Concerning other public issues, the committee made plea to halt the construction of the separation wall being built by the Israeli government. The committee also expressed concern about renewed manifestations of anti-semitism, and asked WCC staff to develop analysis on this issue. The group also adopted a statement urging churches to “reinvigorate efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, reiterated its active support for renewed dialogue between the governments of India and Pakistan, and for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sudan.”
Concerning preparations for the upcoming ninth assembly of the WCC, to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Feb. 14-23 2006, the group placed an emphasis on prayer, encounter and deliberation to lead the event. 728 delegates have been confirmed to attend the “God, in Your Grace, Transform the World” assembly.
The next executive committee will next meet in Korea in August 2004. It oversees the entire spectrum of WCC activities on behalf of the Central Committee, which is the Council's main decision-making body.