From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC NEWS: Altmann: WCC stands at crossroads

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Wed, 26 Aug 2009 19:15:50 +0200

World Council of Churches - News Release

Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
For immediate release - 26/08/2009 18:20:43


Rev. Dr Walter Altmann, in his moderator’s address at the start
of the World Council of Churches central committee meeting in
Geneva on 26 August, said that the WCC – as well as the world at
large – stands “at a crossroads in the present”.

Altmann touched on a variety of events marking milestones this
year and next, including the 500th anniversary of the birth of
John Calvin, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
and the upcoming centennial of the World Missionary Conference in

He tied those episodes to some challenges of the present,
including the shift of Christianity’s “centre of gravity” to the
global south, the need for the WCC’s constituency to be more
representative, the problems of poverty and “climate injustice”
and the openness to change required for radical discipleship.

“Our reality is very complex and multi-layered”, said Altmann,
president of the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in
Brazil and moderator of the WCC central committee since 2006. He
said the current time may offer a “particular opportunity” to
respond creatively to the need for inspiring vision, one that
addresses the realities of the day and the journey ahead.

“The new framework of the ecumenical landscape is in front of
our eyes, being experienced in the daily lives of our churches
and their relationships and networks,” Altmann said, “but yet we
still seem not able to describe and/or define it”.

He named three decisions to be made at these meetings that would
hold “particular importance for the life of the WCC” as it goes
forward: the election of a new general secretary, the location
for the next WCC Assembly, to be held in 2013; and directions
related to the report of the working group on governance,
accountability, and staff policy.

“It is not our cause which is at stake, but God’s plan”, he

Full text of the report by Rev. Dr Walter Altmann:

More information on the central committee meeting:

Free high resolution photos are available:



Remodelled meeting space honours "transformational figure"

The newly remodelled main meeting hall at the Ecumenical Centre
in Geneva is now officially W.A. Visser ’t Hooft Hall, following
a dedication service at the opening of this week's World Council
of Churches central committee meeting. Willem A. Visser ’t Hooft
was an ecumenical leader and first general secretary of the WCC
from 1948 to 1966.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia led delegates, guests
and staff in a litany of praise that began with the words of
Psalm 127:1: “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build
it labour in vain”.

Kobia and WCC central committee moderator Rev. Dr Walter Altmann
unveiled a plaque above the hall bearing the new name. The hall
was modified this past year with windows, new carpet, and rows of
flowing white paper lined with metal across the ceiling, creating
a much brighter and more welcoming meeting space.

Additional information:Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith,
witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical
fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings
together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches
representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110
countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic
Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from
the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

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