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WCC celebrates "living fellowship"

In a plenary session on "The Living Fellowship" at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee meeting in June, the WCC marked achievements from its past 70 years in working for Christian unity and action, and also looked ahead at challenges.

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.

The plenary focused on the  Korean Peninsula, the Programme to Combat Racism (PCR), work against nuclear weapons, and Thursdays in Black, the global movement resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence.

Rev. Myong Chol Kang, chairman of Korean Christian Federation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), expressed his sincere gratitude and appreciation to the WCC.

"Since the 1984 Tozanso Consultation, the WCC has been engaged in efforts of peace and reunification in the Korean peninsula through contact and cooperation with the Korean Christian Federation and the global ecumenical partners for more than 30 years," said Kang. "Brothers and sisters, peace has begun to emerge on the Korean peninsula, which has been struggling with nuclear confrontation and war."

Kang also reflected there is much work left to do to ensure a lasting peace. "The Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Reunification of the Korean peninsula was adopted by the historic North-South summit, and the joint statement which states the establishment of new DPRK-US relations was adopted at the end of the historic DPRK-US summit," he said. "The achievement of permanent and well-established peace in the Korean peninsula depends on how we implement the Panmunjom Declaration and the DPRK-US Joint Statement."

Kang added: "I am enthusiastically appealing to everyone who commits to justice and peace to pray for the success of the Panmunjom Declaration and the DPRK-US Joint Statement. I am also asking you to give active support and encouragement."

Rev. Frank Chikane, moderator of the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, underlined the role of the churches and the importance of the prophetic voice.

WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom recalled that, three decades ago, the WCC declared an ecumenical decade of churches in solidarity with women, during which, she said, "we listened carefully to the stories of women subjected to rape and violence due to war, abuse of power, poverty, desperation and oppression at the hands of family, friends, community and religious leaders, bosses, colleagues, and strangers."

Thursdays in Black grew out of those stories, Abuom explained. "The campaign is an encouragement and tribute to the resistance and resilience of women who refused to accept the violence as inevitable and the perpetrators as beyond the law."

World Council of Churches website

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