From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Orthodox 'pretty satisfied' with WCC progress

Date Fri, 29 Aug 2003 17:27:08 -0500

Note #7910 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Orthodox 'pretty satisfied' with WCC progress
August 29, 2003

Orthodox 'pretty satisfied' with WCC progress

Council's new chief endorses effort to resolve old grievances

By Jerry L. Van Marter
Ecumenical News International

GENEVA - An effort to work out differences between Orthodox and Protestant
members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) is producing "good results," a
key Orthodox church leader said on Aug. 28.

Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, a representative of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate of Constantinople, said most other Orthodox leaders with whom he
has spoken are "pretty satisfied, in principle," with the implementation of
the Report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC.

But "the task is not easy" and many details are yet to be worked out,
Gennadios told journalists attending the current meeting of the WCC's main
governing body, the central committee.

The report, which deals with a number of Protestant-Orthodox disputes in
matters of worship, theology and decision-making, was presented during last
year's meeting of the committee. Its proposals on worship during WCC events
prompted one leading council member, Bishop Margot Kaessmann of Germany, to
quit in protest.

But the report has the support of the council's newly elected general
secretary, the Rev. Sam Kobia of the Methodist Church of Kenya. He pledged
after his Aug. 28 election, "We will implement faithfully all the
recommendations of the Special Commission."

The commission was created to deal with longstanding Orthodox grievances
about the WCC's worship style, its theological and political pronouncements
and its practice of making decisions by majority rule. Disputes between
Orthodox and Protestant members came to a head in 1998, just before the
council's eighth world assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Georges Lempoulos, the WCC's deputy general secretary, said the council is
having the commission's report translated into a number of languages -
including Greek, Russian and Arabic - for members and leaders of Orthodox

Lemopoulos noted that all 20 Orthodox member churches now support the WCC
financially. "Some (contributions) are small, but all are in good faith," he

A co-moderator of the special commission, Bishop Rolf Koppe of the
Evangelical Church in Germany, said his church is preparing a detailed
response to the report that he hopes "will carry the conversation forward."

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