World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
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CENTRAL COMMITTEE 1999 No. 4
NEW CHURCHES TO JOIN THE WCC
The Council applied for its membership on October 18, 1998. The Council is the official ecumenical body of nine churches in Switzerland, namely the Union of Baptist Churches; the Old-Catholic Church of Switzerland; the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Switzerland and Liechtenstein; The Evangelical Methodist Church; The Swiss Protestant Federation; the Greek Orthodox Church - Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archdiocese Switzerland; the Serbian Orthothox Church, Episcopal Vicariat Switzerland; the Roman Catholic Church, Swiss Episcopal Conference; and the Salvation Army.
As for the Anglican Church of Korea, by presenting its application, it has now expressed its wish to be recognized and accepted as a full member of the WCC in its own right. The membership of the Korean Anglican Church came late because until 1993 it was under the direct jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The church grew out of missionary work which began in the late 19th century. The first Korean bishop was ordained in 1965. The church expanded increasingly throughout the country in 1970. The development of the church is attributed to the important role played by the Korean educational and social institutions.
The theological seminary of the church was upgraded to a university in 1992 to serve the needs for higher education. At present, the church has 100 parishes and mission churches with about 63,000 members belonging to three dioceses.
The Anglican Church of Korea is a member of the National Council of Churches of Korea, which it joined in 1960. It is also a member of the Christian Conference of Asia. The application of the church to join the WCC was endorsed by the Anglican Communion and the Christian Conference of Asia.
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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.