New Central Committee Elected on September 6th
~ adapted from a post dated September 6, 2022 on the World Council of Churches’ website
Bishop Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
Elected as WCC Moderator on September 8th
~ from a post dated September 8, 2022 on the World Council of Churches’ website
The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee has elected Bishop Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria as its new moderator.
The central committee also elected two vice moderators, Rev. Merlyn Hyde Riley, Jamaica Baptist Union; and H.E. Archbishop Dr. Vicken Aykazian, Armenian Apostolic Church, Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
Riley is acting general secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union and a graduate of the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Aykazian is known for his ecumenical work for both global and Armenian causes, including the recognition of Armenian genocide, the preservation of Armenian monuments, and statements of solidarity with Armenia and Artsakh.
Bedford-Strohm, as moderator, will serve as the chief governance officer of the WCC, and will have primary responsibility for assuring the coherence of the work of the central committee and of the executive committee, and for assuring that the ethos of consensus characterizes all aspects of the governance of WCC.
Bedford-Strohm expressed how honored he is to have been elected to the position. “The ecumenical movement is my passion,” he said. “It has been my life for a long time.”
He added that the many relationships with people across the world are a big source of joy. “That is my personal reason,” he said. “But I also have a reason for being happy about this election—the reason that is directed toward the future of the church.”
The church can never be provincial or national, he urged. “The church is always universal,” he said. “The church can only witness Jesus Christ when we make this visible: that we are one church in this global world.”
It’s a world that is struck by so many challenges, he said. “Where people are suffering, where people cry out for justice, the church must be an agent to give them a voice and to make visible how the church can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
The moderator has primary responsibility for chairing sessions of the central committee and of the executive committee, sharing this role with the vice-moderators. Together, the moderator, vice moderators, and acting general secretary comprise the leadership of the central committee.
For information about the work of the executive committee and a list of its members, see this post on the World Council of Church’s website. National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada was elected to the executive committee.
On September 5th, Eight New Presidents Were Elected
For information about the roll of these presidents and brief biographies of each, see this post on the World Council of Church’s website. Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., will serve as president for North America.