From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Title: Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia elected new GS

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Thu, 28 Aug 2003 16:05:59 +0200

World Council of Churches
Press Release 29.03e
For Immediate Use
28 August 2003


Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia elected  as new WCC general secretary

The Rev. Dr Sam Kobia, currently WCC special representative for Africa,  has
been elected as the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches
(WCC). Kobia will succeed Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, and will take office in
January 2004. 

The election took place during a closed session of the WCC Central Committee
in which the 134 voting members considered two candidates presented by the
search committee: Kobia and the Rev. Canon Dr Trond Bakkevig. 

In announcing the result, the Moderator of the Central Committee, His
Holiness Aram I expressed "thanks to our common Lord" for his guidance in
this important decision. He stressed that it was a very smooth, responsible
and serious process and not a choice in the strict sense of the word. 

Speaking to Dr Kobia, he said: "I am sure that you will accept this call,
which we believe is from God, to serve the ecumenical cause".  He also
expressed deep appreciation to Dr Bakkevig for his commitment to the WCC and
the ecumenical movement.

Thanking the Committee for its confidence in him, Kobia said, "To gain the
capacity to inspire the world we need inner strength. Our strength lies also
in our unity. As we reiterate that the WCC is first and foremost a fellowship
of churches whose primary purpose is to call one another to visible unity in
one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, and 'to advance that unity so that
the world may believe', we must work together and be seen to be working

He concluded with an African saying: "If you want to walk fast, walk alone.
But if you want to go far, walk together with others". 

Born in 1947,  Kobia is from Kenya, and is an ordained minister in the
Methodist Church in Kenya. He has degrees and diplomas from institutions in
Kenya and the USA. He is married to Ruth, and they have two daughters and two

Kobia has wide ecumenical experience. He has served as WCC executive
secretary for Urban Rural Mission, and as general secretary of the National
Council of Churches of Kenya. He helped reorganise the Zimbabwe Christian
Council after independence, chaired peace talks for Sudan in 1991, and in
1992 chaired Kenya's National Election Monitoring Unit. He returned to Geneva
in 1993 to become executive director of the WCC's Justice, Peace and Creation

He is the author of books dealing with social and theological issues in Kenya
and on the future of Africa. 

A press conference with Kobia will be held on Friday, 29 August at the
Ecumenical Centre, beginning at 12:40 pm.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Office, 
tel: +41 (0)22 791 64 21 /61 53


The World Council of Churches (WCC) is a fellowship of churches, now 342, 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, The Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary
Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.

World Council of Churches
Media Relations Office
Tel: (41 22) 791 6153 / 791 6421
Fax: (41 22) 798 1346

PO Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

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