ACT Alliance and the World Council of Churches (WCC) jointly announced today that they will hold two strategic governance meetings, back to back, in Uppsala, Sweden in the fall of 2018. The ACT Alliance General Assembly will be held at the end of October, bringing together over 200 people from its membership around the world at its quadrennial meeting. The WCC’s Executive Committee and members of ACT’s General Assembly will then meet together on 1 November for a joint day of learning and work around the concept of ecumenical diaconia and sustainable development, followed by the WCC Executive Committee’s regular meeting.
The ACT Assembly will be hosted jointly by ACT members, the Church of Sweden and Diakonia. The WCC Executive Committee will be hosted by the Church of Sweden, Uniting Church in Sweden and the Christian Council of Churches in Sweden.
Comments from the WCC:
“The idea to have a joint meeting surfaced during the International Consultation on the Relationship between Churches and Specialized Ministries, held in Malawi in September 2014. One of the proposed specific points of action from the report was to contribute to improving the relationship of churches and specialized ministries and discuss the role of diaconia”, said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC.
Tveit added, “In order to return to our roots and our origin, we look back at role models. One such role model is the Swedish Archbishop Nathan Söderblom, who helped create what later became the WCC. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930 for his cross-border initiatives.”
Comments from the ACT Alliance:
“Having the opportunity to gather with the Executive Committee of the WCC to spend a day discussing ecumenical diaconia, the ministry of servanthood, will be an excellent opportunity for members of the ACT Alliance to deepen our thinking about our work, particularly in the area of sustainable development, together with our colleagues in the WCC,” said John Nduna, general secretary of the ACT Alliance. “This conversation will be a fitting conclusion to our Assembly and, we trust, an exciting opening to the WCC’s Executive Committee.”
Comments from Sweden:
“The Church of Sweden is happy to host the Assembly as a visible expression of our commitment to the ACT Alliance and as a way of sharing our context with all members of the Alliance,” said Erik Lysén, director, International Affairs, at the Church of Sweden.
“In view of the global challenges, such as climate change, mass exodus and poverty, it is imperative for churches and development organizations to be a prophetic voice for justice in the world,” said Bo Forsberg, general secretary at Diakonia.
The WCC Executive Committee, to be organized back-to-back with the ACT Assembly, will be hosted jointly by the Church of Sweden, the Uniting Church in Sweden and the Christian Council of Churches in Sweden.
The year 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the 4th WCC Assembly in 1968, in Uppsala and the 70th Anniversary since the WCC was founded 1948 in Amsterdam. Holding the ACT General Assembly and the WCC Executive Committee in Uppsala in 2018 gives an opportunity to connect to an important milestone in the ecumenical movement’s work on justice and peace, which has shaped what the ACT Alliance and the WCC are today, and will be in the future.