(ENI, ACNS)-The central committee of the World Council of Churches wrapped up a nine-day meeting in February with reconciliation between conservative and liberal churches and the launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence as its main points of focus.
The first WCC meeting in a united Germany drew media attention when central committee moderator Aram I of the Armenian Orthodox Church said that violence as a last resort should be considered an option. The central committee has debated the use of armed intervention in Iraq, East Timor, Rwanda and Kosovo.
The ensuing debate overshadowed the launch of The Decade to Overcome Violence, a statement of the WCC’s wish to build a culture of peace with other faiths and communities.
Reconciliation became an issue because of sharp division between WCC’s majority Protestant member churches, many with liberal theology and practices, and the more conservative minority Orthodox church members. Russian Orthodox churches have criticized the WCC in the past and at least one has threatened to leave the organization because of a perception of a politicized agenda.
The Geneva-based WCC is the world’s biggest ecumenical organization, and has suffered financial problems in recent years. The WCC anticipates debt in 2001 of $915,000 US.