Middle East Council of Churches

Unofficial news from the Middle Eastern Christian Ecumenical organization.

Maintained by Tom Scudder

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Friday, August 29, 2003
Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, the new General Secretary of the World Council of Churches:
The Rev. Dr Sam Kobia, currently WCC special representative for Africa, has been elected as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Kobia will succeed Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, and will take office in January 2004.

The election took place during a closed session of the WCC Central Committee in which the 134 voting members considered two candidates presented by the search committee: Kobia and the Rev. Canon Dr Trond Bakkevig.

In announcing the result, the Moderator of the Central Committee, His Holiness Aram I expressed "thanks to our common Lord" for his guidance in this important decision. He stressed that it was a very smooth, responsible and serious process and not a choice in the strict sense of the word.

Speaking to Dr Kobia, he said: "I am sure that you will accept this call, which we believe is from God, to serve the ecumenical cause". He also expressed deep appreciation to Dr Bakkevig for his commitment to the WCC and the ecumenical movement.

Thanking the Committee for its confidence in him, Kobia said, "To gain the capacity to inspire the world we need inner strength. Our strength lies also in our unity. As we reiterate that the WCC is first and foremost a fellowship of churches whose primary purpose is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, and 'to advance that unity so that the world may believe', we must work together and be seen to be working together."
He concluded with an African saying: "If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to go far, walk together with others".

-- WCC Press Release

See also Dr. Kobia's biography and a full text of his acceptance speech.
posted by Tom at 2:46 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Official Site: Letter of Condolence to the UN
As you know, the MECC has ministered in Iraq since 1990. We have worked with your staff and with all others bent upon easing the suffering of war and of the Sanctions, and upon helping the Iraqi people regain their dignity and vitality. We will continue to serve as we are able, focusing the commitment of the Middle East’s churches and all our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world. As instructed by the gospel, we will work for those things that make for justice and peace, for refreshing in human souls self-esteem and hope, and for breaking down the dividing walls of enmity and so bring reconciliation.

We pledge ourselves to stand with you in this cause and to honor all those who have given their lives for it.

posted by Tom at 3:07 PM

Sunday, August 24, 2003
In Iraq, the chaldean synod is meeting to elect a new patriarch to succeed Rafael Bidawid, who died in July. They started meeting on August 19. A Zenit news release (with no info beyond this blurb) is here. There is as yet no word out from the meeting on the net (or at least nothing Google can see).
posted by Tom at 4:58 PM