Lebanese pastor elected as WCRC president

 — July 7, 20177 juillet 2017

The World Communion of Reformed Churches elected anew executive at their General Council meeting in Leipzig, Germany. From left to right: Rev. Sylvana Maria Apituley (Indonesia), Raissa Vieira Brasil (Brazil), Rev. Dr. Lisa Vander Wal (United States), Rev. Najla Kassab (Lebanon), Rev. Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong (Ghana), and Dr. Johann Weusmann (Germany). Photo: WCRC
The World Communion of Reformed Churches elected anew executive at their General Council meeting in Leipzig, Germany. From left to right: Rev. Sylvana Maria Apituley (Indonesia), Raissa Vieira Brasil (Brazil), Rev. Dr. Lisa Vander Wal (United States), Rev. Najla Kassab (Lebanon), Rev. Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong (Ghana), and Dr. Johann Weusmann (Germany). Photo: WCRC
By Aiko Sumichan, WCRC

The Rev. Najla Kassab, a minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL), has been elected president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), which groups more than 225 churches in over 110 countries.

“With her experience and many gifts, Najla’s vision, insight, spiritual strength and grace make her the right person to lead us forward as president,” said Alison McDonald, the moderator of a Nominating Committee that brought a slate of nominees for the WCRC Executive Committee to its General Council.

The elections took place on 7 July, the final day of the Council, which has been meeting in the eastern German city of Leipzig since 29 June. Of the 22 members of the new Executive Committee, 10 are men and 12 women; 15 are ordained and 7 are lay people. Five of the members of the Executive Committee are young adults under 30 years of age, including one of the vice-presidents.

Kassab, 52, has been a member of the WCRC executive committee since 2010. The director of the Christian Education Department of NESSL, she was the first woman to receive a preaching licence in her church and, in March 2017, the second woman to be ordained. Kassab has a BA in Christian Education from the Near East School of Theology, and graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary (USA) in 1990.

“Since 1993 I have been struggling for women to be ordained in the Middle East, and I thank God that just two months ago two women were ordained as pastors in the Middle East,” Kassab told a press conference after her election. “I stand, as I said, for equal rights for women to fully use their talents in the life of the church and for the church to grow through the talents of women.”

Among her priorities are strengthening the regions of the WCRC and supporting young people. “This is a time to listen to them, struggle with them, hear their contribution in the life of the church,” Kassab stated.

She noted that on some issues, WCRC member churches have different views. “The priority is to sit around the table and listen to each other in a spirit of discernment and dialogue guided by the Holy Spirit.”

She underlined the importance of ecumenism in the life of the WCRC. “As Reformed people we cannot survive without ecumenism,” she said. “What happened in Wittenberg is a strong ecumenical statement of the churches.”

The four vice-presidents elected by the General Council are Rev. Dr. Samuel Ayete-Nyampong (Ghana), Rev. Dr. Lisa Vander Wal (United States), Rev. Sylvana Maria Apituley (Indonesia) and Raissa Vieira Brasil (Brazil).

Ayete-Nyampong has been clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana since 2012. He was previously responsible for the church’s international and ecumenical relations and partnerships, as director of Ecumenical and Social Relations.

Vander Wal currently serves in Lisha’s Hill Reformed Church in Colonie, New York. She is a past president of the General Synod of the Reformed Church of America, and moderator of the RCA’s Commission on Christian Unity. She is convener of the Steering Committee of the Caribbean and North America Area Council (CANAAC) and has been a member of the WCRC Executive Committee since 2014.

Apituley, of the Gereja Protestan Indonesia Bagian Barat, is currently senior advisor to the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, having also worked as a special advisor to the Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, and as executive director of the Indonesian Conference on Religion for Peace. She has been a faculty member and lecturer at the Jakarta Theological Seminary since 1997.

Brasil, of the United Presbyterian Church of Brazil, is a lawyer and graduate of the Federal University of Minas Gerais. She is actively involved with the teenagers and young adults of her church at a local and national level. She is currently vice moderator for the youth of her church and was a delegate in 2016 to the General Assembly of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin America (AIPRAL).

Dr. Johann Weusmann, a member of the Evangelical Reformed Church in Hannover, has been re-elected to a second term as general treasurer. A lawyer, he has been the vice-president of the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland since 2013 and its senior legal advisor.

Also elected as members of the Executive Committee are:

  • Clayton Da Silva (Independent Presbyterian Church in Brasil)
  • Diana Erdélyi (Hungarian Reformed Church)
  • Hilary Hagar (Presbyterian Church of Canada)
  • Hefin Jones (Union of Welsh Independants)
  • Annabell Lallaram-kelawan (Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Hong Jung Lee (Presbyterian Church in Korea)
  • Coutinho Maravilhoso Moma (Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola)
  • Veronica Muchiri (Presbyterian Church of East Africa)
  • J. Herbert Nelson (Presbyterian Church (USA))
  • Tibonge Ng‘ambi (Presbyterian Church in Zambia)
  • Hannah North (Presbyterian Church Aoteara New Zeland)
  • Claudio Pasquet (Waldensian Church)
  • Khid-arn Prawate (Church of Christ in Thailand)
  • Milciades Pua (Presbyterian Church of Colombia)
  • Mary Ekinde Salle (Presbyterian Church Cameroon)
  • Susan Thomas (Church of South India)

Posted: July 7, 2017 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=9739
Categories: NewsIn this article: synods, World Communion of Reformed Churches
Transmis : 7 juillet 2017 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=9739
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : synods, World Communion of Reformed Churches

Canadian Churches’ Forum becomes a CCC Reference Group

 — May 31, 201731 mai 2017

Canadian Council of ChurchesLast week, the Canadian Churches Forum and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) came together at the CCC Governing Board meetings to make some important decisions about the future of their relationship and work. A motion was adopted that the CCF become the “Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning (FILL): A Reference Group of the Canadian Council of Churches.”

Moving more fully into the Council in this way opens the potential of working more closely with the CCC‘s 26 member denominations and their diversity and experience. The Canadian Council of Churches is the broadest and most inclusive ecumenical body in the world, representing denominations of Anglican; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; Protestant; and Catholic traditions. Together, the CCC churches represent more than 85% of Christians in Canada.

Also being considered are some shifts that will make Forum program alumni and others more creatively part of the work with a larger portion of this reference group’s resources going to supporting and networking people across Canada with a calling to intercultural ministry.
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Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree statement on ecclesiology

 — May 30, 201730 mai 2017

Members of the third-phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) met in the central German city of Erfurt early this month for their seventh meeting. They chose to meet in the city to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – it is here that Martin Luther was ordained and lived as a monk. Photo: ARCICAnglicans and Roman Catholics should see in each other “a community in which the Holy Spirit is alive and active,” the latest communiqué from the official ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church says.

Members of the third-phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) met in the central German city of Erfurt early this month for their seventh meeting. They chose to meet in the city to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – it is here that Martin Luther was ordained and lived as a monk.

During their meeting, the members of ARCIC agreed the text of a new statement looking at Anglican and Roman Catholic ecclesiology. Walking Together on the Way: Learning to be Church – Local, Regional, Universal, to be known as The Erfurt Document, will be published next year.
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WCRC’s Ferguson calls for joint LWF-WCRC assemblies

 — May 15, 201715 mai 2017

Chris Ferguson, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), addressed the Lutheran World Federation's Assembly on May 13, 2017 in Windhoek, Namibia. Photo: LWF/Albin HillertIn his greetings to the Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Chris Ferguson, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), called for consideration of a joint meeting between the organizations.

“There are many things that we can and should do together,” Ferguson said. “I give thanks that God has given us the gift of partnership in mission, witness and diakonia with LWF. I hope that in six or seven years we will be able to celebrate our general assemblies in the same time and place. Separate meetings, yes, but joined for common worship, reflection and witness together. Can you imagine that! Let’s think about it!”

Ferguson noted that the two organizations continue to grow closer together, despite the WCRC‘s move from Geneva to Hannover. In particular he raised the WCRC‘s upcoming association with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ), which will be signed at a special worship service in Wittenberg during the WCRC‘s General Council.
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Subject Matters: interview with Nicholas Jesson about ‘Towards Unity’

 — April 15, 201715 avril 2017

In 2017, we mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. This Festschrift in honour of Monsignor John Radano, who served as head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity‘s Western section for nearly 25 years, offers a window on what has been achieved through ecumenical dialogue over the past 50 years. It also reminds us of the importance of ecumenical friendship in advancing the cause of Christian unity.

Since the Reformation, Christian unity has suffered many failures. Yet, especially in more recent times, it has also celebrated encouraging successes. Disparate Christian traditions are beginning to trust each other. Will Christians eventually find one shared identity? What are the theological and ecclesial challenges ahead? This timely collection of essays by prominent Catholic and Protestant ecumenists witnesses a hope for a future Christian unity born out of 50 years of honest and genuine dialogue.

Towards Unity – a collection of papers by major ecumenical contributors – reflects with passion and hope on bilateral dialogues, the ecumenical movement, and organizations that promote multilateral relationships. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the scandal of division is giving birth to renewed relationships, dialogue, and awareness.
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Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation

 — April 1, 20171 avril 2017

Towards Unity: Ecumenical Dialogue 500 Years after the Reformation is edited by Archbishop Donald Bolen, Nicholas Jesson, and Sr. Donna Geernaert, SC. It is available from Novalis.ca, or in the USA from Paulist Press. ISBN: 978-2-8968-8422-3 (Novalis) and 978-0-8091-5349-7 (Paulist Press)Those who work in the field of Christian unity for any length of time are quick to point out that ecumenism is the work of the Holy Spirit. We say that not to sound pious but because we know firsthand two things: from our failed efforts, that we cannot bring about unity by ourselves no matter how hard we try; and from our successes, that something else is operative in this work of dialogue and reconciliation. God’s grace shapes our efforts in countless ways, experienced in a deep yearning for unity, in the insights which come forth from dialogue, in the moments of breakthrough when new understandings are reached, in the relationships and bonds of communion that are formed when we work with other Christians at the service of unity.

Ecumenism is a work of the Holy Spirit in the churches as they put themselves at the service of Jesus’ desire that his disciples be reconciled, and it is a work of the Spirit in people’s lives. This volume, which reflects on ecumenical achievements and hopes as we mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, is a celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in the churches and ecclesial communities of the West as they have sought to address conflicts and heal divisions. It is also a celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in the ecumenical ministry of Monsignor John Radano, and in a secondary but very real way, of each of the contributors to this volume. John Radano, generally known by his dialogue partners and colleagues as Jack, served as head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity‘s (PCPCU) Western section for nearly a quarter century, from 1984 to 2008. In this capacity, he participated in dialogues with Lutheran, Reformed, Baptist, Mennonite, Classical Pentecostal, and Evangelical traditions, and served as liaison with the World Council of Churches‘ Commission on Faith and Order. Jack was also involved in relations with the Anglican Communion, the World Methodist Council, and the Global Christian Forum, so had a truly comprehensive involvement in relations with the Catholic Church’s dialogue and consultation partners in the West.
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Catholics and Evangelicals in Dialogue: A Small Group Opportunity

 — March 22, 201722 mars 2017

Pastor Harry StraussPastor Harry Strauss, co-chair of the Saskatoon Catholic and Evangelical Dialogue, has written a small group resource specifically for dialogue. It is entitled Catholics and Evangelicals in Dialogue: A Small Group Discussion Guide. It is 7 sessions in length, addressing the topics of revelation, the church, salvation, baptism, communion, the communion of the saints, and missional engagement. It is designed for laypeople, shaped as a user-friendly resource. Anticipated outcomes include new friendships, shaped around spiritually engaging conversations, and most importantly, relational growth in Jesus Christ. The material has been field tested some, with good results. However, there is a desire for additional testing. If interested in being part of this effort, particularly in initiating and leading a small group, please contact Pastor Harry Strauss at harry [at] forestgrovecc [dot] com or call 306-280-7147.
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