From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Churches Played Vital Role in Reconciliation

Date 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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