From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Churches Played Vital Role in Reconciliation
19 Nov 2000 09:59:47
in South Africa
November 19, 2000
Adventist Press Service (APD)
Christian B. Schaeffler, Editor-in-chief
CH-4003 Basel, Switzerland
Fax +41-61-261 61 18
Churches Played Vital Role in Reconciliation, says
President of South Africa at CWC meeting
Johannesburg, South Africa. Thabo Mbeki, president
of the Republic of South Africa visited the Conference of
Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CWC), meeting
October 25 at Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
Canon John Peterson, secretary general of the Anglican
Communion and moderator of the meeting, underlined the role
of Christian churches in taking a stand against apartheid
and spoke of their willingness to help in the new South
In his speech, Mbeki thanked the churches, saying, "If the
churches had been absent from the process of liberation,
there would have not been a successful reconciliation."
Looking toward a new Africa, he said that Africans are
tired of military coups, corruption, poverty, and abuse
of power. He said that Africans are also tired of being
seen as objects of pity; they want to stand for a new
Africa and the churches must play a key role.
Dr. John Graz, who represented the Seventh-day Adventist
Church at the meeting, said the president "spoke with
courage and sincerity about reconciliation, the future of
Africa, and the important role of the churches in the new
society." Dr. Bert B. Beach, secretary of the Conference
for the past 30 years and inter-church relations director
for the Adventist Church, presented a gift to the president
on behalf of the Conference. Dr. Velile Wakaba, president of
the Adventist Church in South Africa, also attended the
meetings as a guest.
Since 1957, the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World
Communions has brought together the top leadership
of Christian churches for annual informal meetings. The
Conference has discussed various concerns, including the
place and task of confessional families in the ecumenical
movement, national loyalties as a help or hindrance to
world fellowship, bilateral dialogues, the relationship
between Bible societies and CWCs, religious liberty
and human rights.
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