World Council of Churches to hold first meeting in China

By ENInews staff
Posted May 30, 2012

[Ecumenical News International] The Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC) said it will hold its first meeting in the People’s Republic of China, focusing on “the unique situation of Chinese churches and ecumenical relations” in the region.

The meeting will take place from June 9-16 in Shanghai and Nanjing, according to a WCC news release. It is being organized by the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and hosted by the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. The CCC, with 23 million members, is the largest member constituency of the WCC in Asia.

The WCC general secretary, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, will attend the meeting. It will be his first visit to China since he took office in 2010.

The main deliberations of the CCIA will take place in Nanjing. This will include a seminar on “Understanding China,” invoking diverse perspectives on market reforms and development in socialist systems, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, China’s religions and religious policies, and churches in China.

“This is the 51st meeting of the CCIA. The meeting will be a historic event as it is the first time since the inception of the WCC [in 1948] that an international ecumenical gathering will take place in China, and will be hosted by a WCC member church in China,” said Mathews George Chunakara, director of the CCIA.

The event will begin with meetings in Shanghai, with Sunday worship services in local Chinese congregations, followed by visits to urban and rural models of life in the context of modern China.

The final meeting of the CCIA in follow up to the WCC 10th Assembly, which will take place in 2013 in Busan, South Korea, will discuss future program directions and significance of international affairs in the ecumenical movement. This will also include discussions on priorities for public policy and global advocacy initiatives in the emerging geo-political situation.

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.


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Comments (3)

  1. John McCann says:

    Are papers or reports going to be available to us who are interested in doing ecumenical work in China? This is my discerned mission as a lay member of Trinity Church Wall Street in New York.

    I am working on a feasibility study for our parish and the Anglican Communion writ large to partner with NGO’s, their faith based NGO’s, in the newly receptive climate in China.

    My “DNA” is in China, my grandfather was a missionary there from 1895-1940. My father served on the Marshall Mission, and as Military attache in Beijing from 1946-1949. I received my MA in Chinese Studies from SOAS at University of London and in partnership with Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and hope to continue my work with a PhD. I met Jon Huntsman, Jr. last week, as part of a symposium on China, and heard his view as outgoing Ambassador. I am unable to travel to Nanjing, our Parish donated two antique Tiffany windows to the Anglican Cathedral, rebuilt sine 1860. I hope to contribute my knowledge of 5000 years of Chinese culture, and the problems that beset missionaries in the early part of the 20th century, to which I am connected. Please let me know.

  2. Elizabeth Hanson Mellen says:

    I am delighted to see a story from the World Council of Churches included in this ENS sending. I was in ecumenical work work (National Council of Churches and Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute) for 12 years and have long been concerned about the dearth of news and lack of info spreading and education in our general church media about the participation of the Episcopal Church in the longstanding instruments for Christian unity — the National Council of Churches of Christ USA and the WCC — as well as the many local church and interreligious councils in the U.S. in which Episcopal presence and participation is a vital factor. Let’s hear more. Episcopal Church participation and leadership in the ecumenical movement is a big part of our history. In addition the work of the WCC is stellar — what an amazing presence in the world — of which this China initiative is a tremendous example. Tell us more!

    By coincidence my grandparents also (referencing the previous comment) were missionaries in China for 50 years 1903-1951. We have been to visit their place of ministry in Taian, Shandong Province and find a newly thriving church in the same lovely sanctuary and, at the heart of the huge multi building city high school complex , the beautiful school building built and funded through the efforts of my grandfather. And the memories still alive and honored, though the context so vastly altered — the church of course part of the 3-Self Protestant Church group, no longer Methodist.

  3. John McCann says:

    The past two entries have resonance for me. I passed up a Pilgrimage on the Camino del Camposta de Santiago with a group from Trinity to be able to attend the conference, I am being sponsored but not by our church. Having seen the arc from the early 20h century like Elizabeth Mellon described, through the difficulties of the 20th century… this is a hopeful sign, and Trinity, which is one of the wealthiest churches in real estate (thanks to a grant from Queen Anne of farmland which is now lower Manhattan) was a fluke I my mission is to persuade Trinity to take on some work in China, and to start building some “guanxi”. There was the famous comment when Nixon asked Zhou En Lai what the ramifications of the French Revolution are, and ZHou said “its too early to tell.” Which illustrates one side of how the Chinese work. But this is an historic event and shouldn’t be missed. I am just going to the Nanjing part, not being sponsored by my church, but by some anonymous donors, who are affiliated with the National Commitee on US- CHina relations. Nanjing University was originally started by a Methodist missionary, Dr. John C.Fergeson, who was an historic collector of Chinese bronzes, which mow reside in the Nanjing University collection, rarely seen,

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