Assembly Elects New Presidents, Central Committee
new body to lead the World Council of Churches (WCC) into the next decade was elected in Porto Alegré on Wednesday. Delegates at the WCC’s 9th Assembly also endorsed measures designed to strengthen youth participation in the organization’s decision-making.
The Assembly elected a 150-member central committee, which serves as the main decision-making body of the Council between assemblies. The Assembly also appointed presidents for each of the world regions and for the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.
During the Assembly, the WCC leadership and many delegates urged the Council to find ways of strengthening youth participation and of involving young adults in the leadership and decision-making of the church fellowship. Proposals for a new representative body for youth will be discussed on the last day of the Assembly.
The new 150-person central committee counts 63 women (42%), 22 youth (15%), and six indigenous persons (4%). Ninety-seven members of the committee are ordained (65%). The Nominations Committee worked with a pool of names put forward by the WCC’s 348 member churches. A 25-person executive committee, a moderator, and two vice moderators will be elected by the central committee later this week.
The role of the WCC presidents is to promote ecumenism and to interpret the work of the WCC, especially in their respective regions. The presidents are ex-officio members of the central committee.
The eight WCC presidents are Rev. Prof. Dr. Simon Dossou, Methodist Church in Benin; Rev. Dr. Soritua Nababan, Protestant Christian Batak Church (Indonesia); Rev. Dr. Ofelia Ortega, Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba; Dr. Mary Tanner, Church of England; Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell Jackson, United Church of Christ (USA); Mr. John Taroanui Doom, Maòhi Protestant Church (French Polynesia); Archbishop Dr. Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania; His Holiness Abune Paulos, Ethiopian Orthodox Church.