The assembly has accepted eight new member churches into the WCC but deferred a ninth application while discussions are held with its leadership about the churchs policy on polygamy among its own members, including clergy.
The eight churches which were admitted to membership were:
- the Christian Protestant Angkola Church, from Indonesia, which was received as an associate member church at the WCC's last assembly in Canberra, in 1991. It has over 27,000 members in 162 congregations served by 42 pastors, including 11 women.
- the Christian Church of Sumba, Indonesia, which grew out of the missionary work of what is now the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. It has 182 000 members in 78 congregations and 95 pastors, of whom 13 are women.
- the Harrist Church, from the Cote d'Ivoire, an African Instituted church which has grown from the work of a Liberian evangelist, William Wade Harris, in the years 1913 to 1915. The church, which allows polygamous new converts, has a membership of over 100,000 served by 1400 preachers and over 7000 "apostles". Each of the church's congregations is governed by 12 "apostles". No mention is made in the documents on the question of whether pastors can keep more than one wife.
- the Council of African Instituted Churches, from South Africa, a federation of 10 member associations, each of which groups a number of member churches. CAIC leaders estimate the council's total constituency at 3.5 million Christians.
- the Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria, which grew out of the missionary work of the Christian Reformed Church in North America through the Sudan United Mission. The church became autonomous in 1973. It now has 50 consistories served by 43 ordained pastors, with a total membership of about 450,000.
- the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe, which grew out of the work of the American Board of Missions of what is now the United Church of Christ (USA). It became autonomous in 1973 and has more than 30,000 members in 30 congregations, served by 29 ordained pastors.
- the Anglican Church of Congo (Democratic Republic), which was part of the former Anglican province of Rwanda, Burundi and Bogo-Zaire, and as such a member of the WCC. When the province was reconstituted in 1993 in three new provinces, two of them -- Rwanda and Burundi -- applied for membership.
- the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Congo (Democratic Republic), which originated in 1968 among young people in the south-eastern part of what was then Zaire who had been evangelised by Radio Voice of the Gospel. In 1996 the church had 82 parishes and 120,000 members, served by 39 pastors, five vicars, 15 evangelists and one bishop.
The assembly also received the Samoa Council of Churches and the Council of Protestant Churches of Equatorial Guinea as associate councils, and recognised five organisations as international ecumenical organisations in working relationship with the WCC.
These were the World YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), the United Bible Societies, the Frontier Internship in Mission, the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism, and the Associations of Christian Colleges and Universities: International Ecumenical Forum.
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Read other articles in this issue:
Vision paper triggers debate &
On the back of a tiger
CNN president wants delegates' views
They went on a visit
Gays' criticism about WCC integrity rejected
Help stop slaughter in Sudan
You're in the deadly centre
WCC has eight new members, and one deferred
|8th Assembly and 50th Anniversary|