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Republic of Malawi President visits WCC with hope for Africa

World Council of Churches acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca meets His Excellency Rev. Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, president of the Republic of Malawi at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC
World Council of Churches acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca meets His Excellency Rev. Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, president of the Republic of Malawi at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC
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His Excellency Rev. Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, president of the Republic of Malawi, and First Lady Monica Chakwera and a delegation visited the Ecumenical Centre on 21 February, meeting with World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr. Ioan Sauca, the WCC staff leadership group and programme executives.

The World Council of Churches is an ecumenical partner supported by the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment, which enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations.

Members of the Malawi president's delegation with the WCC leadership and staff at the chapel of the Ecumenical centre. Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC 
Members of the Malawi president's delegation with the WCC leadership and staff at the chapel of the Ecumenical centre.  Photo: Ivars Kupcis/WCC.

Chakwera, who is also chair of the Southern African Development Community and an ordained minister and former president of the Assemblies of God in Malawi, received an overview of the WCC’s work, particularly the WCC programs focused on the spiritual role of the WCC for unity, justice and peace through the theological work with Faith and Order, the Pilgrimage of Justice in Peace, Thursdays in Black, and human rights.

Sauca expressed what an honor it was to have Chakwera and his delegation visit the WCC. “It is an official visit but also a visit with sisters and brothers in Christ,” he said, adding that the bond which keeps the churches in the WCC fellowship together is the common confession that “Jesus Christ is God and Savior according to the Scriptures.”

Therefore, he said, "they seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

"The primary purpose of the WCC is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship,” Sauca continued. But the purpose of God in Christ is much wider than Christian unity and extends to the unity of humanity and of all creation,” Sauca added.

The WCC staff presented the work of WCC in dialogue with evangelicals and Pentecostals, on health and healing, in relation to the United Nations, in peace-building with a focus on Mozambique, and the Green Village.

Chakwera said the visit is something he will treasure for the rest of his life—his first visit to the historic city of Geneva. “I come with greetings from your brethren  in Malawi,” he said. “I am happy that this reminds us of how we are one.”

He spoke strongly of the churches’ role in Malawi, and their role in shaping the future that Africa wants and, he believes, will reach. “Nobody can doubt the role of the World Council of Churches, and the worldwide fellowship,” he said.

“The unity is demonstrated, a common witness is born, and Christian service is rendered,” he said. “Programs have offered ecumenical interventions with collaborations, resources for education, peace and justice, and ecology,” he said. “I am more than gratified because of the whole range, because of the spectrum over which the church does get involved.”

A prayer in the chapel afforded an opportunity for Chakwera and his delegation to join in prayers for unity, justice and peace.

Chakwera, who was sworn in as president of Malawi in June 2020, has vowed to unite the country and fight poverty.

World Council of Churches website

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund enables United Methodists to share a presence and a voice in the activities of several national and worldwide ecumenical organizations. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund apportionment at 100 percent.