World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENTS OF THE WCC
Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
In many places around the world people are preparing for the start of a new millennium; some are apprehensive, others full of hope. For us Christians the beginning of the new millennium marks the 2000th anniversary of the year of our Lord Jesus Christ and we must prepare joyfully for the celebrations. "Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy" (Luke 2:10) - the angelís words are fitting for this special birthday.
And this is also the message we must give to all those who are looking towards this new millennium with feelings of uncertainty or even of fear. Apocalyptic and sectarian notions are flourishing at the present time. But it is also a time when many people are open to new ideas and eager for direction and reassurance. To those who are anxious, to those who have questions we say : this new year, too, will be a "year of the Lord":
Just six months ago delegates from our churches gathered in Harare for the World Councilís 8th Assembly, with the theme "Turn to God - Rejoice in Hope". In the name of our churches they re-echoed a phrase from the message of the first Assembly in Amsterdam fifty years ago, reaffirming that "We intend to stay together".
And together we shall also move forward into this new millennium, trusting in Godís Spirit, the Spirit of Pentecost. Godís Spirit will guide us and help us to understand one another better despite our different traditions and cultures. Godís Spirit will help us together to speak to the world about "Godís deeds of power" (Acts 2:11) and to tell all people of Christís promise "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
Dr Agnes Abuom, Nairobi, Kenya
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.