Behind the Scenes at WCC

By Emily Evans

After a long week of community building, prayers, pilgrimage and decision making, Emily Evans shares 5 highlights from the World Council of Churches’ Executive Committee in Uppsalla, Sweden, 2-8 November 2018.

Joint ACT Alliance and WCC Day (1 November)

The ACT Alliance Assembly met just prior to the WCC Executive Committee meeting. ACT Alliance is a coalition of 150 churches and faith-based organisations working together in over 125 countries. On 1 November ACT Alliance and WCC came together. Both organisations attempted to deepen their understanding of what it means to be both faith and rights.  WCC moderator Dr Agnes Abuom reflected that ‘we are tasked to ensure that the rights-based approach to humanitarian work, does not conflict with a faith-based approach, so that we can build a life-affirming, sustaining fullness of life.”

Ecumenical Weekend

“Behold, I make everything new’, was the theme of the fourth WCC Assembly in Uppsalla in 1968 and was the theme of the Ecumenical Weekend. 150 guests gathered to reflect of the current challenges for ecumenism including broader unity, moral discernment, reshaping diakonia, generational challenges and the gender challenge.

Swedish hospitality

We were warmly hosted by two WCC member churches, Uniting Church in Sweden and Church of Sweden; and the Christian Council of Sweden. We heard much about how the church in Sweden is actively responding to post-trust, polarisation, populism, protectionism and patriarchy. At official functions we got to know Dr Antje Jackelen, Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Church of Sweden and Sweden’s first female Archbishop.

Consensus Procedures

From 2006, the WCC adopted the Uniting Church in Australia’s consensus decision making procedures. Over the years a number of ‘consensus elders’ have been working alongside the WCC’s decision making committees to ensure the theological underpinnings, theoretical parameters and practicalities are implemented. Acting as one of those elders, I ensured that the consensus procedures were closely followed.

Active Involvement in Decision Making

As a young member of the committee, people often comment on how I actively engage in the meeting. My many years attending Assembly and Synod meetings, has equipped me with the confidence to speak up and value my opinion. Even though I am sitting at the table with many church leaders, from very hierarchical churches, my voice is respected and my points are incorporated in ongoing decisions.

5 November 2018, Uppsala, Sweden: Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches gathered in Uppsala, Sweden.

Photos by Albin Hiller WCC

Read a FULL SUMMARY of the meeting