World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, will address the question "Can churches be peacemakers in a world racked by violence?" at the Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, December 16.
Kobia will be the guest at the Cathedral "Sunday Forum," a 50-minute discussion hosted by Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III and open to questions from the public. Addressing "critical issues in the light of faith," the forum takes place every Sunday in the nave at 10 a.m., prior to the 11:15 a.m. service, and is webcast live on the Cathedral website.
"For too long the church has been a willing participant in the violence of the world," Kobia said in a recent interview. "Christ has called the church to be a peacemaker and a reconciler. This is not just a message for the season, but one the church must take to heart if it is going to truly minister to the world. The church must be a leader in peace."
WCC's commitment to peace-making is expressed through the Council's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) 2001-2010. A global church movement that strengthens existing efforts and networks for overcoming violence, and inspires the creation of new ones, the DOV is to achieve its culmination at an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in May 2011.
In the three years prior to the convocation, international ecumenical teams called Living Letters are visiting churches around the world exploring how they are addressing peace making in their context. A Living Letters team visited several locations in the United States in September and another team visited Sri Lanka in August. Some 40 visits by Living Letters teams will take place during the next three years.
Kobia is visiting the United States December 12-18. His schedule in Washington D.C. includes a two-day retreat with heads of churches and an encounter with young ecumenical leaders on December 15.
On December 18 in New York City, Kobia will be guest of a pan-Orthodox gathering hosted by Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, a member of the WCC executive committee and the president of the US National Council of Churches.
The World Council of Churches describes itself as "the world's most inclusive ecumenical organization, whose purpose is to promote Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world."
A fellowship of churches inaugurated in 1948, the WCC brings together 347 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches in over 110 countries and territories, representing more than 550 million Christians. The Roman Catholic Church works cooperatively with the WCC.