A “Call to Act Together” for reconciliation and unity concluded the recent Assembly of the World Council of Churches. Charged with sharing the message of “a unity founded in God’s love” the 4000 Assembly delegates cited the scripture “the love of Christ urges us on”. The delegates represented many of the World Council’s 325 Orthodox and other church bodies active in 120 nations. There were also 160 Roman Catholic observers attending the most diverse gathering of Christians held every seven years. Jewish and Muslim observers also attended the 11th Assembly.
Since the founding Assembly in 1948, Council membership has shifted from a majority European and North American body to a gathering which reflects the growing number of Christians in the global South. Summarizing the experience of living and listening together for 11 days, the delegates celebrated that “amid all our diversity, we have relearned in our assembly that there is a pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity to be undertaken together. ”
The Assembly experience and its “Call to Act” stands in contrast to the current trend of political leaders worldwide to foment division and distrust. Its call should be taken as a response to the use of division and disinformation to gain unfettered power. Voters in the U.S. would do well to consider the language and aims of their preferred candidates as the Republican Party sows distrust, antipathy and scorn of others. Over 150 Republican candidates in this week’s U.S. midterm election reject the 2020 presidential election of Joe Biden.
The Republican candidate for Governor in Wisconsin, construction company owner Tim Michels, promised that were he elected his Party will never again lose an election in Wisconsin. (as reported by Martin Pengelly of The Guardian, Nov. 2, 2022) Republican candidate for Governor of Arizona, former Fox News anchor Kerri Lake, was asked if she would accept defeat in the election. Appearing prepared to challenge such a result, Lake responded she would not lose.
The U.S. election featured the former President Trump campaigning for midterm candidates backing his “Stop the Steal” denial of results of the 2020 election. No one doubts he will again run for President in 2024 particularly should his Party seize control of Congress in the midterms. His campaigning takes place following dismissal of dozens of court cases in which his backers advanced claims of election malpractice and fraud. In the cases where a ruling called for an audit, no evidence was found of malfeasance.
In an era when the global economic order is incapable of effectively responding to the climate crisis, increasing inequality, and unprecedented migration of people, the World Council Assembly’s reminder of God’s vision of unity is especially timely. “As reconciliation brings us closer to God and each other, it opens the way toward a unity founded in God’s love.”
See all the photo galleries from the Assembly at:
The thirteen points of the Assembly’s Call to Act Together can be found at: