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3. RULE I OF THE WCC RULES

The amended Rule I of the Rules was elaborated in consultation with the member churches and eventually adopted by the Central Committee in February 2005.

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I. Membership of the World Council of Churches

Members of the World Council of Churches are those churches which, having constituted the Council or having been admitted to membership, continue in membership. The term "church" as used in this article includes an association, convention or federation of autonomous churches. A group of churches within a country or region may determine to participate in the World Council of Churches as one church. The General Secretary shall maintain the official list of member churches noting any special arrangement accepted by the Assembly or Central Committee.

The following rules shall pertain to membership:

1. Application

A church which wishes to become a member of the World Council of Churches shall apply in writing to the General Secretary.

2. Processing

The General Secretary shall submit all such applications to the Central Committee (see Art. II of the Constitution) together with such information as he or she considers necessary to enable the Assembly or the Central Committee to make a decision on the application.

3. Criteria

In addition to expressing agreement with the Basis upon which the Council is founded (Art. I of the Constitution), an applicant must satisfy the following criteria to be eligible for membership:

a) A church must be able to take the decision to apply for membership without obtaining the permission of any other body or person.

b) A church must produce evidence of sustained independent life and organization.

c) A church must recognize the essential interdependence of the churches, particularly those of the same confession, and must practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within its country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional ecumenical organisation.

4. Size

a) In addition to the criteria under Rule I.3 an applicant church must ordinarily have at least 25,000 members. The Central Committee may decide for exceptional reasons to admit into membership a church that does not fulfil the criterion of size. b) Churches in the same country or region that do not fulfil the criterion of size may jointly apply for membership and are encouraged by the World Council to do so.

5. Associate membership

a) A church otherwise eligible for membership may be elected to associate membership in the same manner as member churches are elected:

1) if the applicant would be denied membership solely under Rule I.4(a). A church applying for associate membership for this reason must ordinarily have at least 10,000 members;

2) if the applicant, for reasons which must be approved by the Central Committee, expresses its desire to be in associate membership.

b) An associate member church may participate in all activities of the Council; its representatives to the Assembly shall have the right to speak but not to vote. Associate member churches shall be listed separately on the official list maintained by the General Secretary.

c) Each associate member church shall make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council. The amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed.

d) Each associate member church shall, in ways commensurate with its resources and in consultation with the Council, participate in assuming responsibility for the costs of the Council's programmes and for expenses related to travel and accommodation of its representatives to Council events.

e) The implications of not fulfilling such obligations shall be such as the Central Committee shall decide.

6. Financial participation

a) Each member church shall make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council. The amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed.

b) Each member church shall, in ways commensurate with its resources and in consultation with the Council, participate in assuming responsibility for the costs of the Council's programmes and for expenses related to travel and accommodation of its representatives to Council events.

c) The implications of not fulfilling such obligations shall be such as the Central Committee shall decide.

7. Consultation

Before admitting a church to membership or associate membership, the appropriate world confessional body or bodies and national council or regional ecumenical organisation shall be consulted.

8. Resignation

A church which desires to resign its membership in the Council can do so at any time. A church which has resigned but desires to rejoin the Council must again apply for membership.

***

Amended

I. Membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches is comprised of churches which have constituted the Council or which have been admitted into membership and which continue to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches. The term “church” as used in this article could also include an association, convention or federation of autonomous churches. A group of churches within a country or region, or within the same confession, may choose to participate in the World Council of Churches as one member. Churches within the same country or region or within the same confession may apply jointly to belong to the fellowship of the Council, in order to respond to their common calling, to strengthen their joint participation and/or to satisfy the requirement of minimum size rule (I.3.b.3). Such groupings of churches are encouraged by the World Council of Churches; each individual church within the grouping must satisfy the criteria for membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, except the requirements of size. A church seeking affiliation with a grouping of autonomous churches which is a member of the World Council of Churches must agree with the basis and fulfil the criteria for membership.

The general secretary shall maintain the official lists of member churches that have been accepted to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, noting any special arrangement accepted by the assembly or central committee. Separate lists shall be maintained of member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC that do or do not participate in decision-making.

1. Application

A church that wishes to join the World Council of Churches shall apply in writing to the general secretary.

2. Processing

The general secretary shall submit all such applications through the executive committee to the central committee together with such information as he or she considers necessary to enable the central committee to make a decision on the application.

3. Criteria

Churches applying to join the World Council of Churches (“applicant churches”) are required first to express agreement with the basis on which the Council is founded and confirm their commitment to the purposes and functions of the Council as defined in articles I and III of the constitution. The basis states: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Applicant churches should give an account of how their faith and witness relate to these norms and practices:

a) Theological

1. In its life and witness, the church professes faith in the triune God according to the scriptures, and as this faith is reflected in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

2. The church maintains a ministry of proclaiming the gospel and celebrating the sacraments as understood by its doctrines.

3. The church baptizes in the name of the one God, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” and acknowledges the need to move towards the recognition of the baptism of other churches.

4. The church recognizes the presence and activity of Christ and the Holy Spirit outside its own boundaries and prays for the gift of God’s wisdom to all in the awareness that other member churches also believe in the Holy Trinity and the saving grace of God.

5. The church recognizes in the other member churches of the WCC elements of the true church, even if it does not regard them “as churches in the true and full sense of the word” (Toronto statement).

b) Organizational

1. The church must produce evidence of sustained autonomous life and organization.

2. The church must be able to take the decision to apply for formal membership in the WCC and continue to belong to the fellowship of the WCC without obtaining the permission of any other body or person.

3. An applicant church must ordinarily have at least fifty thousand members. The central committee, for exceptional reasons, may dispense with this requirement and accept a church that does not fulfil the criteria of size.

4. An applicant church with more than 10,000 members but less than 50,000 members that has not been granted membership for exceptional reasons under rule I.3.b.3, but is otherwise eligible for membership, can be admitted as a member subject to the following conditions: (a) it shall not have the right to participate in decision-making in the assembly, and (b) it may participate with other churches in selecting five representatives to the central committee in accordance with rule IV.4.b.3. Such church shall be considered as a member church belonging to the fellowship of the WCC in all other respects.

5. Churches must recognize the essential interdependence of the member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC, particularly those of the same confession, and should make every effort to practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within their country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional/sub-regional ecumenical organization.

4. Consultation

Before admitting a church to membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, the appropriate world confessional body or bodies and national council or regional ecumenical organization shall be consulted.

5. Decision on acceptance

The Central Committee shall consider applications for membership according to the consensus model of decision making. The application shall be accepted for a specified interim period of participation in the work of the World Council of Churches and for interaction with the local fellowship of member churches. The member churches of the World Council of Churches shall be consulted during the interim period. The Central Committee shall assess whether a consensus of member churches has developed in favour of the application, in which event the applicant church shall be considered a new member church. If there is no consensus, the Central Committee shall deem the application rejected.

6. Resignation

A church which desires to resign its membership in the fellowship of the Council can do so at any time. A church which has resigned but desires to rejoin the Council must again apply for membership.

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly confirmed the amended Rule I of the Rules of the World Council of Churches.

4. ARTICLE V OF THE CONSTITUTION

The confirmation of the amended Rule I of the Rules has a consequence on Article V of the Constitution. The amendment to Article V reflects the new categories of membership indicated in the amended Rule I.

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V. Organization

1. The Assembly

c) The Assembly shall have the following functions:

3) to elect not more than 5 members from among the representatives which the associate member churches have elected to the Assembly;

2. The Central Committee

b) The Central Committee shall be composed of the President or Presidents of the World Council of Churches and not more than 150 members.

2) Not more than 5 members shall be elected by the Assembly from among the representatives whom the associate member churches have elected to the Assembly.

***

Amended

V. Organization

1. The assembly

c) The assembly shall have the following functions:

3) to elect not more than 5 members from among the representatives elected to the assembly by churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons;

2. The central committee

b) The central committee shall be composed of the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches and not more than 150 members.

2) Not more than 5 members shall be elected by the assembly from among the representatives elected to the assembly by churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons.

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly approved the amended Article V of the Constitution of the World Council of Churches by more than the required two-thirds majority.

5. RULE IV OF THE WCC RULES

The confirmation of the amended Rule I of the Rules has a consequence on Rule IV of the Rules. The amendment to Rule IV reflects the new categories of membership indicated in the amended Rule I.

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III. The Assembly

1. Composition of the Assembly

b) Persons with the right to speak but not to vote In addition to the delegates, who alone have the right to vote, the following categories of persons may attend meetings of the Assembly with the right to speak:

3. Representatives of associate member churches: Each associate member church may elect one representative.

4. Nominations Committee of the Assembly

b) The Nominations Committee in consultation with the officers of the World Council and the Executive Committee shall make nominations for the following:

3) not more than 5 members of the Central Committee from among the representatives which the associate member churches have elected to the Assembly.

***

Amended

IV. The assembly

1. Composition of the assembly

b) Persons with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making

In addition to the delegates, who alone have the right to vote, the following categories of persons may attend meetings of the assembly with the right to speak:

3) Representatives of churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons: Each one of these churches may elect one representative.

4. Nominations committee of the assembly

b) The nominations committee in consultation with the officers of the World Council and the executive committee shall make nominations for the following:

3) not more than 5 members of the central committee from among the representatives elected to the assembly by the churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons.

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly confirmed the amended Rule IV of the Rules of the World Council of Churches.



6. RULE VI OF THE RULES OF THE WCC

The decision of the Central Committee to adopt the consensus method of decision-making has a consequence on Rule VI of the Rules. The amended Rule VI was approved by the Central Committee in February 2005. It is subject to confirmation by the Ninth Assembly.

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V. Central Committee

1. Membership

b) Any member church, not already represented, may send one representative to the meetings of the Central Committee. Such a representative shall have the right to speak but not to vote.

c) If a regularly elected member of the Central Committee is unable to attend a meeting, the church to which the absent member belongs shall have the right to send a substitute, provided that the substitute is ordinarily resident in the country where the absent member resides. Such a substitute shall have the right to speak and to vote. If a member, or his or her substitute, is absent without excuse for two consecutive meetings, the position shall be declared vacant, and the Central Committee shall fill the vacancy according to the provisions of Article V.2 (b) (3) of the Constitution.

d) Moderators and Vice-Moderators of committees, commissions and boards who are not members of the Central Committee may attend meetings of the Central Committee and shall have the right to speak but not to vote.

e) Advisers for the Central Committee may be appointed by the Executive Committee after consultation with the churches of which they are members. They shall have the right to speak but not to vote.

f) Members of the staff of the World Council appointed by the Central Committee as specified under Rule IX.3 shall have the right to attend the sessions of the Central Committee unless on any occasion the Central Committee shall otherwise determine. When present they shall have the right to speak but not to vote.

3. Nominations Committee of the Central Committee

(see new Rule VII)

5. Functions

In exercising the powers set forth in the Constitution the Central Committee shall have the following specific functions:

a) In the conduct of its business, the Central Committee shall elect the following committees:

1) Programme Committee (a standing committee);

2) Finance Committee (a standing committee);

3) Nominations Committee (appointed at each meeting);

***

Amended

VI. Central committee

1. Membership

b) Any member church, not already represented, may send one representative to the meetings of the central committee. Such a representative shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

c) If a regularly elected member of the central committee is unable to attend a meeting, the church to which the absent member belongs shall have the right to send a substitute, provided that the substitute is ordinarily resident in the country where the absent member resides. Such a substitute shall have the right to speak and to participate in decision-making. If a member, or his or her substitute, is absent without excuse for two consecutive meetings, the position shall be declared vacant, and the central committee shall fill the vacancy according to the provisions of article V.2.b.3 of the constitution.

d) Moderators and vice-moderators of committees, commissions and boards who are not members of the central committee may attend meetings of the central committee and shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

e) Advisers for the central committee may be appointed by the executive committee after consultation with the churches of which they are members. They shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decisionmaking.

f) Members of the staff of the World Council appointed by the central committee as specified under rule XII.3. shall have the right to attend the sessions of the central committee unless on any occasion the central committee shall otherwise determine. When present they shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decisionmaking.

4. Functions

In exercising the powers set forth in the constitution the central committee shall have the following specific functions:

a) In the conduct of its business, the central committee shall elect the following committees:

1. nominations committee;
2. executive committee;
3. permanent committee on consensus and collaboration;

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly confirmed the amended Rule VI of the Rules of the World Council of Churches.

7. RULE VII OF THE WCC RULES

When amending Rule VI, the Central Committee decided for reasons of clarity to establish the paragraph on Nominations as a new Rule VII. The new Rule VII was approved by the Central Committee in February 2005. It is subject to confirmation by the Ninth Assembly.

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V. Central Committee

3. Nominations Committee of the Central Committee

a) The Central Committee shall elect a Nominations Committee which shall:

1) nominate persons from among the members of the Central Committee for the offices of Moderator and Vice- Moderator or Vice-Moderators of the Central Committee;

2) nominate a person for the office of President to fill the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the Presidium between Assemblies;

3) nominate members of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee;

4) nominate members of committees, commissions and boards and where appropriate their Moderators;

5) make recommendations regarding the election of persons proposed for staff positions under Rule IX.3. In making nominations as provided for by (1) to (4) above the Nominations Committee of the Central Committee shall have regard to principles set out in Rule III.4.(c) and, in applying principles 2, 3 and 4 to the nomination of members of committees, commissions and boards, shall consider the representative character of the combined membership of all such committees. Any member of the Central Committee may make additional nominations, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the Nominations Committee.

b) Election shall be by ballot unless the Committee shall otherwise determine.

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Amended

VII. Nominations committee of the central committee

1. In its first meeting during or immediately after the assembly, the central committee shall elect a nominations committee which shall:

a) nominate persons from among the members of the central committee for the offices of moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee;

b) nominate members of the executive committee of the central committee;

c) nominate a person for the office of president to fill the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the presidium between assemblies;

d) nominate members of committees, commissions and boards and where appropriate their moderators;

e) make recommendations regarding the election of persons proposed for staff positions under rule XII.3. In making nominations as provided for by (a) and (b) to (d) above, the nominations committee shall have regard to principles set out in rule IV.4.c and, in applying principles (2), (3) and (4) to the nomination of members of committees, commissions and boards, shall consider the representative character of the combined membership of all such committees. Any member of the central committee may make additional nominations, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the nominations committee.

2. In between meetings of the central committee, the executive committee shall act as the nominations committee of the central committee.

3. Election shall be by ballot unless the committee shall otherwise determine.

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly confirmed the amended Rule VII of the Rules of the World Council of Churches.

8. RULE XXI OF THE WCC RULES

The decision of the Central Committee to adopt the consensus method of decision-making, and the new numbering of the Rules have consequences for Rule XXI of the Rules. The amended Rule XXI was approved by the Central Committee in February 2005. It is subject to confirmation by the Ninth Assembly.

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XVII. Amendments

Amendments to these Rules may be moved at any session of the Assembly or at any session of the Central Committee by any member and may be adopted by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting, except that no alteration in Rules I, V and XVII shall come into effect until it has been confirmed by the Assembly. Notice of a proposal to make any such amendment shall be given in writing at least twenty-four hours before the session of the Assembly or Central Committee at which it is to be moved.

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Amended

XXI. Amendments

Amendments to these rules may be proposed at any session of the assembly or at any session of the central committee by any member and shall be decided according to the procedures in Rule XX.9; if the meeting shifts from consensus to voting, then the procedures in Rule XX. 10 will apply. In this case, the proposed change must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present to be adopted. No alteration in rules I, VI, VII and XXI shall come into effect until it has been confirmed by the assembly. Notice of a proposal to make any amendment shall be given in writing at least twenty-four hours before the session of the assembly or central committee at which it is to be considered.

Resolution: The Ninth Assembly confirmed the amended Rule XXI of the Rules of the World Council of Churches.

______________

Notes:

1 See pp.61-68 of the Assembly Programme Book, Rule XX: Conduct of Meetings.

2 See pages 40 – 44 of the Assembly Programme Book. This is the amended Constitution as proposed by the Central Committee. The old and the amended wording of the Articles, presented in parallel columns, can be found on pages 3 - 4 and 8 of this document.

3 See pages 44 – 68 of the Assembly Programme Book. These are the amended Rules as adopted by the Central Committee. The old and the amended wording of the Rules, presented in parallel columns, can be found on pages 4 - 8 and 8 - 12 of this document.

***

Constitution and rules as amended by the 9th Assembly

Please note: Amendments to this document have been approved by the WCC 10th Assembly.

Constitution and rules as amended by the 9th Assembly
23 February 2006

(as amended by the 9th Assembly, Porto Alegre, Brazil, February 2006)

The WCC's constitution identifies the basis for, and the principles of membership, the purposes and functions, authority, and organization of the Council. Its rules give precise guidance concerning the roles, responsibilities and structure of the Council's various governing bodies, officers, committees, staff and partner organizations, the role of public statements, and the conduct of meetings.

Constitution and Rules of the World Council of Churches (as amended by the 9th Assembly, Porto Alegre, Brazil, February 2006)

CONSTITUTION

I. Basis

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

II. Membership

Churches shall be eligible for membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches who express their agreement with the basis upon which the Council is founded and satisfy such criteria for membership as the assembly or central committee may prescribe. The central committee shall consider applications for membership in accordance with Rule I.

III. Purposes and functions

The World Council of Churches is constituted by the churches to serve the one ecumenical movement. It incorporates the work of the world movements for Faith and Order and Life and Work, the International Missionary Council, and the World Council of Christian Education.

The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe.

In seeking koinonia in faith and life, witness and service, the churches through the Council will:

- promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue, and the sharing of human, spiritual and material resources with one another;

- facilitate common witness in each place and in all places, and support each other in their work for mission and evangelism;

- express their commitment to diakonia in serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, promoting one human family in justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation, so that all may experience the fullness of life;

- nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context;

- assist each other in their relationships to and with people of other faith communities;

- foster renewal and growth in unity, worship, mission and service.

In order to strengthen the one ecumenical movement, the Council will:

- nurture relations with and among churches, especially within but also beyond its membership;

- establish and maintain relations with national councils, regional conferences of churches, organizations of Christian world communions and other ecumenical bodies;

- support ecumenical initiatives at regional, national and local levels;

- facilitate the creation of networks among ecumenical organizations;

- work towards maintaining the coherence of the one ecumenical movement in its diverse manifestations.

IV. Authority

The World Council shall offer counsel and provide opportunity for united action in matters of common interest.

It may take action on behalf of constituent churches only in such matters as one or more of them may commit to it and only on behalf of such churches.

The World Council shall not legislate for the churches; nor shall it act for them in any manner except as indicated above or as may hereafter be specified by the constituent churches.

V. Organization

The World Council shall discharge its functions through an assembly, a central committee, an executive committee, and other subordinate bodies as may be established.

1. The assembly

a) The assembly shall be the supreme legislative body governing the World Council and shall ordinarily meet at seven-year intervals.

b) The assembly shall be composed of official representatives of the member churches, known as delegates, elected by the member churches.

c) The assembly shall have the following functions:

1) to elect the president or presidents of the World Council;

2) to elect not more than 145 members of the central committee from among the delegates which the member churches have elected to the assembly;

3) to elect not more than 5 members from among the representatives elected to the assembly by churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons;

4) to determine the overall policies of the World Council and to review programmes undertaken to implement policies previously adopted;

5) to delegate to the central committee specific functions, except to amend this constitution and to allocate the membership of the central committee granted by this constitution to the assembly exclusively.

2. The central committee

a) The central committee shall be responsible for implementing the policies adopted by the assembly and shall exercise the functions of the assembly itself delegated to it by the assembly between its meetings, except its power to amend this constitution and to allocate or alter the allocation of the membership of central committee.

b) The central committee shall be composed of the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches and not more than 150 members.

1) Not more than 145 members shall be elected by the assembly from among the delegates the member churches have elected to the assembly. Such members shall be distributed among the member churches by the assembly giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the Council, the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council, reasonable geographical and cultural balance, and adequate representation of the major interests of the Council.

2) Not more than 5 members shall be elected by the assembly from among the representatives elected to the assembly by churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons.

3) A vacancy in the membership of the central committee, occurring between meetings of the assembly, shall be filled by the central committee itself after consultation with the church of which the person previously occupying the position was a member.

c) The central committee shall have, in addition to the general powers set out in (a) above, the following powers:

1) to elect its moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators from among the members of the central committee;

2) to elect the executive committee from among the members of the central committee;

3) to elect committees, commissions, and boards;

4) within the policies adopted by the assembly, and on the recommendation of the programme committee, to initiate and terminate programmes and activities and to set priorities for the work of the Council;

5) to adopt the budget of the World Council and secure its financial support;

6) to elect the general secretary and to elect or appoint or to make provision for the election or appointment of all members of the staff of the World Council;

7) to plan for the meetings of the assembly, making provision for the conduct of its business, for worship and study, and for common Christian commitment. The central committee shall determine the number of delegates to the assembly and allocate them among the member churches giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the Council; the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council; reasonable geographical and cultural balance; the desired distribution among church officials, parish ministers and lay persons; among men, women and young people; and participation by persons whose special knowledge and experience will be needed;

8) to delegate specific functions to the executive committee or to other bodies or persons.

3. Rules

The assembly or the central committee may adopt and amend rules not inconsistent with this constitution for the conduct of the business of the World Council.

4. By-laws

The assembly or the central committee may adopt and amend by-laws not inconsistent with this constitution for the functioning of its committees, boards, working groups and commissions.

5. Quorum

A quorum for the conduct of any business by the assembly or the central committee shall be one-half of its membership.

VI. Other ecumenical Christian organizations

1. Such world confessional bodies and such international ecumenical organizations as may be designated by the central committee may be invited to send representatives to the assembly and to the central committee, in such numbers as the central committee shall determine; however, these representatives shall not have the right to participate when decisions are taken.

2. Such national councils and regional conferences of churches, other Christian councils and missionary councils as may be designated by the central committee may be invited to send representatives to the assembly and to the central committee, in such numbers as the central committee shall determine; however, these representatives shall not have the right to participate when decisions are taken.

VII. Amendments

The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the delegates to the assembly present and voting, provided that the proposed amendment shall have been reviewed by the central committee, and notice of it sent to the member churches not less than six months before the meeting of the assembly. The central committee itself, as well as the member churches, shall have the right to propose such amendment.

RULES

I. Membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches is comprised of churches which have constituted the Council or which have been admitted into membership and which continue to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches. The term “church” as used in this article could also include an association, convention or federation of autonomous churches. A group of churches within a country or region, or within the same confession, may choose to participate in the World Council of Churches as one member. Churches within the same country or region or within the same confession may apply jointly to belong to the fellowship of the Council, in order to respond to their common calling, to strengthen their joint participation and/or to satisfy the requirement of minimum size rule (I.3.b.3). Such groupings of churches are encouraged by the World Council of Churches; each individual church within the grouping must satisfy the criteria for membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, except the requirements of size. A church seeking affiliation with a grouping of autonomous churches which is a member of the World Council of Churches must agree with the basis and fulfil the criteria for membership.

The general secretary shall maintain the official lists of member churches that have been accepted to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, noting any special arrangement accepted by the assembly or central committee. Separate lists shall be maintained of member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC that do or do not participate in decision-making.

1. Application

A church that wishes to join the World Council of Churches shall apply in writing to the general secretary.

2. Processing

The general secretary shall submit all such applications through the executive committee to the central committee together with such information as he or she considers necessary to enable the central committee to make a decision on the application.

3. Criteria

Churches applying to join the World Council of Churches (“applicant churches”) are required first to express agreement with the basis on which the Council is founded and confirm their commitment to the purposes and functions of the Council as defined in articles I and III of the constitution. The basis states: “The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Applicant churches should give an account of how their faith and witness relate to these norms and practices:

a) Theological

1) In its life and witness, the church professes faith in the triune God according to the scriptures, and as this faith is reflected in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

2) The church maintains a ministry of proclaiming the gospel and celebrating the sacraments as understood by its doctrines.

3) The church baptizes in the name of the one God, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” and acknowledges the need to move towards the recognition of the baptism of other churches.

4) The church recognizes the presence and activity of Christ and the Holy Spirit outside its own boundaries and prays for the gift of God’s wisdom to all in the awareness that other member churches also believe in the Holy Trinity and the saving grace of God.

5) The church recognizes in the other member churches of the WCC elements of the true church, even if it does not regard them “as churches in the true and full sense of the word” (Toronto statement).

b) Organizational

1) The church must produce evidence of sustained autonomous life and organization.

2) The church must be able to take the decision to apply for formal membership in the WCC and continue to belong to the fellowship of the WCC without obtaining the permission of any other body or person.

3) An applicant church must ordinarily have at least fifty thousand members. The central committee, for exceptional reasons, may dispense with this requirement and accept a church that does not fulfil the criteria of size.

4) An applicant church with more than 10,000 members but less than 50,000 members that has not been granted membership for exceptional reasons under rule I.3.b.3, but is otherwise eligible for membership, can be admitted as a member subject to the following conditions: (a) it shall not have the right to participate in decision-making in the assembly, and (b) it may participate with other churches in selecting five representatives to the central committee in accordance with rule IV.4.b.3. Such church shall be considered as a member church belonging to the fellowship of the WCC in all other respects.

5) Churches must recognize the essential interdependence of the member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC, particularly those of the same confession, and should make every effort to practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within their country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional/sub-regional ecumenical organization.

4. Consultation

Before admitting a church to membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, the appropriate world confessional body or bodies and national council or regional ecumenical organization shall be consulted.

5. Decision on acceptance

The Central Committee shall consider applications for membership according to the consensus model of decision making. The application shall be accepted for a specified interim period of participation in the work of the World Council of Churches and for interaction with the local fellowship of member churches. The member churches of the World Council of Churches shall be consulted during the interim period. The Central Committee shall assess whether a consensus of member churches has developed in favour of the application, in which event the applicant church shall be considered a new member church. If there is no consensus, the Central Committee shall deem the application rejected.

6. Resignation

A church which desires to resign its membership in the fellowship of the Council can do so at any time. A church which has resigned but desires to rejoin the Council must again apply for membership.

II. Responsibilities of membership

Membership in the World Council of Churches signifies faithfulness to the basis of the Council, fellowship in the Council, participation in the life and work of the Council and commitment to the ecumenical movement as integral to the mission of the church. Churches which are members of the World Council of Churches are expected to:

1) appoint delegates to the assembly, the major policy-making body of the Council, and participate in council with other member churches in shaping the ecumenical vision and the ecumenical agenda;

2) inform the World Council of their primary concerns, priorities, activities and constructive criticisms as they may relate to its programmes as well as any matters which they feel need expression of ecumenical solidarity or which merit the attention of the Council and/or churches around the world;

3) communicate the meaning of ecumenical commitment, to foster and encourage ecumenical relations and action at all levels of their church life and to pursue ecumenical fellowship locally, nationally, regionally and internationally;

4) interpret both the broader ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches, its nature, purpose and programmes throughout their membership as a normal part of their own reporting to their constituency;

5) encourage participation in World Council programmes, activities and meetings, including:

a) proposing persons who could make a particular contribution to and/or participate in the Council’s various committees, meetings and consultations, programmes, publications and staff;

b) establishing links between their own programme offices and the appropriate World Council programme offices; and

c) submitting materials for and promoting World Council communications resources: books, periodicals and other publications;

6) respond to decisions of the central committee which call for study, action or other follow-up by the member churches as well as respond to requests on matters referred by the central or executive committee or the general secretary for prayer, advice, information or opinion;

7) make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council: the amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed;

8) participate, in ways commensurate with their resources and in consultation with the Council, in assuming responsibility for the costs of the Council’s programmes and for expenses related to travel and accommodation of their representatives to Council events.

The implications of not fulfilling such obligations shall be such as the central committee shall decide.

III. Churches in association with the World Council of Churches

A church that agrees with the basis of the Council may request in writing to be received as a church in association with the World Council of Churches, stating its reasons for requesting this mode of relating with the Council. If the reasons are approved by the central committee, such a church may be accepted to be in association with the World Council of Churches.

Churches in association with the World Council of Churches:

1) can send representative(s) to the assembly and the central committee who can speak with permission of the chair, but have no right to participate in formal decision-making, whether by consensus or by vote;

2) can be invited to participate in the work of the commissions, advisory groups and other consultative bodies of the Council as consultants or advisers;

3) have the possibility of participating in the work of the WCC as described, but will not be identified with decisions taken or statements issued by the Council;

4) shall make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council; the amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed; no financial support will ordinarily be made available from the Council to such churches to facilitate their participation.

The general secretary shall maintain a list of churches in association with the Council.

IV. The assembly

1. Composition of the assembly

a) Persons with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making The assembly shall be composed of official representatives of the member churches, known as delegates, elected by the member churches, with the right to speak and with the responsibility to participate in decision-making.

1) The central committee shall determine the number of delegates to the assembly well in advance of its meeting.

2) The central committee shall determine the percentage of the delegates, not less than 85 percent, who shall be both nominated and elected by the member churches. Each member church shall be entitled to a minimum of one delegate. The central committee shall allocate the other delegates in this group among the member churches giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the World Council of Churches, the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council, and reasonable geographical and cultural balance. The central committee shall recommend the proper distribution within delegations among church officials, parish ministers and lay persons; and among men, women, young people and Indigenous peoples. The central committee may make provision for the election by the member churches of alternate delegates who shall serve only in place of such delegates who are unable to attend meetings of the assembly.

3) The remaining delegates, not more than 15 percent, shall be elected by certain member churches upon nomination of the central committee as follows:

1. If the moderator or any vice-moderator of the central committee is not elected a delegate within the provisions of paragraph 2 above, the central committee shall nominate such officer to the member church of which such officer is a member. Paragraphs 5 and 6 below apply to such nominees.

2. The central committee shall determine the categories of additional delegates necessary to achieve balance in respect of:

a) the varied sizes of churches and confessions;

b) the historical significance, future potential or geographical location and cultural background of particular churches, as well as the special importance of united churches;

c) the presence of persons whose special knowledge and experience will be necessary to the assembly;

d) proportions of women, youth, lay persons and local pastors;

e) participation of Indigenous peoples.

3. The central committee shall invite the member churches to propose the names of persons in the categories so determined whom the churches would be willing to elect, if nominated by the central committee.

4. From the list so compiled, the central committee shall propose the nomination of particular individuals to their respective member church.

5. If that member church elects the said nominee, he or she shall become an additional delegate of that member church.

6. The member churches shall not elect alternate delegates for such delegates. Member churches are encouraged to consult regionally in the selection of the delegates described in paragraphs 2 and 3 above, provided that every delegate is elected by the church of which he or she is a member in accordance with its own procedures.

b) Persons with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making In addition to the delegates, who alone have the right to vote, the following categories of persons may attend meetings of the assembly with the right to speak:

1) Presidents and officers: Any president or presidents of the Council or moderator or vicemoderator or vice-moderators of the central committee who have not been elected delegates by their churches.

2) Members of the retiring central committee: Any members of the retiring central committee who have not been elected delegates by their churches.

3) Representatives of churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons: Each one of these churches may elect one representative.

4) Advisers: The central committee may invite a small number of persons who have a special contribution to make to the deliberations of the assembly or who have participated in the activities of the World Council. Before an invitation is extended to an adviser who is a member of a member church, that church shall be consulted.

5) Delegated representatives: The central committee may invite persons officially designated as delegated representatives by organizations with which the World Council maintains relationship.

6) Delegated observers: The central committee may invite persons officially designated as delegated observers by non-member churches.

c) Persons without the right to speak or to participate in decision-making

The central committee may invite to attend the meetings of the assembly without the right to speak or to participate in decision-making:

1) Observers: Persons identified with organizations with which the World Council maintains relationship which are not represented by delegated representatives or with non-member churches which are not represented by delegated observers.

2) Guests: Persons named individually.

2. Presiding officers and committees

a) At the first decision session of the assembly the central committee shall present its proposals for the moderatorship of the assembly and for the membership of the business committee of the assembly and make any other proposals, including the appointment of other committees, their membership and functions, for the conduct of the business of the assembly as it sees fit.

b) At the first or second decision session, additional nominations for membership of any committee may be made in writing by any six concurring delegates.

c) Election shall be by ballot unless the assembly shall otherwise determine.

3. Agenda

The agenda of the assembly shall be proposed by the central committee to the first decision session of the assembly. A delegate may propose changes to the agenda in accordance with rule XX.6.c. New business or any change may be proposed by the business committee under rule IV.5.b.2.

4. Nominations committee of the assembly

a) At an early decision session of the assembly, the assembly shall elect a nominations committee, on which there shall be appropriate confessional, cultural and geographical representation of the membership of the assembly and representation of the major interests of the World Council.

b) The nominations committee in consultation with the officers of the World Council and the executive committee shall make nominations for the following:

1) the president or presidents of the World Council;

2) not more than 145 members of the central committee from among the delegates which the member churches have elected to the assembly;

3) not more than 5 members of the central committee from among the representatives elected to the assembly by the churches which do not fulfill the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons.

c) In making nominations, the nominations committee shall have regard to the following principles:

1) the personal qualifications of the individual for the task for which he or she is to be nominated;

2) fair and adequate confessional representation;

3) fair and adequate geographical and cultural representation;

4) fair and adequate representation of the major interests of the World Council.

The nominations committee shall satisfy itself as to the general acceptability of the nominations to the churches to which the nominees belong.

Not more than seven persons from any one member church shall be nominated as members of the central committee.

The nominations committee shall secure adequate representation of lay persons – men, women and young people – so far as the composition of the assembly makes this possible.

d) The nominations committee shall present its nominations to the assembly. Additional nominations may be made by any six delegates concurring in writing, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the nominations committee.

e) Election shall be by ballot unless the assembly shall otherwise determine.

5. Business committee of the assembly

a) The business committee of the assembly shall consist of the moderator and vice-moderator or vicemoderators of the central committee, the general secretary, the presidents of the Council, the comoderators of the permanent committee on consensus and collaboration participating as a delegate, the moderator or a member of the assembly planning committee participating as a delegate, the moderators of hearings and committees who may appoint substitutes and ten delegates who are not members of the outgoing central committee, who shall be elected in accordance with rule IV.2. If a co-moderator of the permanent committee and/or the moderator of the assembly planning committee is not a delegate, he/she shall be invited as an adviser to the assembly and its business committee with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

b) The business committee shall:

1) coordinate the day-to-day business of the assembly and may make proposals for rearrangement, modification, addition, deletion or substitution of items included on the agenda. Any such proposal shall be presented to the assembly at the earliest convenient time by a member of the business committee with reasons for the proposed change. After opportunity for discussion on the proposal, the moderator shall put the following question to the assembly: Shall the assembly approve the proposal of the business committee? The assembly shall decide the question by consensus or voting procedures. If decided according to voting procedures, then any proposed change must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present to be adopted;

2) consider any item of business or change in the agenda proposed to the business committee by a delegate under rule XX.6.c;

3) determine whether the assembly sits in general, hearing or decision session as defined in rule XX.2;

4) receive information from and review the reports of other committees in order to consider how best the assembly can act on them.

6. Other committees of the assembly

a) Any other committee of the assembly shall consist of such members and shall have such powers and duties as are proposed by the central committee at the first decision session or by the business committee after its election and accepted by the assembly.

b) Any such committee shall, unless the assembly otherwise directs, inform the business committee about its work and shall make its report or recommendations to the assembly.

V. Presidents

1. The assembly shall elect the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches; the number of presidents elected shall, however, not exceed eight; the role of the presidents being to promote ecumenism and to interpret the work of the World Council of Churches, especially in their respective regions.

2. The term of office of a president shall end at the end of the next assembly following his or her election.

3. A president who has been elected by the assembly shall be ineligible for election for a second consecutive term of office.

4. The presidents should be persons whose ecumenical experience and standing is widely recognized among the ecumenical partners of the World Council in their respective regions.

5. The presidents shall be ex officio members of the central committee.

6. Should a vacancy occur in the presidium between assemblies, the central committee may elect a president to fill the unexpired term.
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VI. Central committee

1. Membership

a) The central committee shall consist of the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches together with not more than 150 members elected by the assembly (see constitution, article V.2.b).

b) Any member church, not already represented, may send one representative to the meetings of the central committee. Such a representative shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

c) If a regularly elected member of the central committee is unable to attend a meeting, the church to which the absent member belongs shall have the right to send a substitute, provided that the substitute is ordinarily resident in the country where the absent member resides. Such a substitute shall have the right to speak and to participate in decision-making. If a member, or his or her substitute, is absent without excuse for two consecutive meetings, the position shall be declared vacant, and the central committee shall fill the vacancy according to the provisions of article V.2.b.3 of the constitution.

d) Moderators and vice-moderators of committees, commissions and boards who are not members of the central committee may attend meetings of the central committee and shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

e) Advisers for the central committee may be appointed by the executive committee after consultation with the churches of which they are members. They shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

f) Members of the staff of the World Council appointed by the central committee as specified under rule XII.3. shall have the right to attend the sessions of the central committee unless on any occasion the central committee shall otherwise determine. When present they shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

g) The newly elected central committee shall be convened by the general secretary during or immediately after the meeting of the assembly.

2. Officers

a) The central committee shall elect from among its members a moderator and a vice-moderator or vice-moderators to serve for such periods as it shall determine.

b) The general secretary of the World Council of Churches shall be ex officio secretary of the central committee.

3. Meetings

a) The central committee shall ordinarily meet once every year. The executive committee may call an extraordinary meeting of the central committee whenever it deems such a meeting desirable and shall do so upon the request in writing of one-third or more of the members of the central committee.

b) The general secretary shall take all possible steps to ensure that there be adequate representation present from each of the main confessions and from the main geographical areas of the membership of the World Council of Churches and of the major interests of the World Council.

c) The central committee shall determine the date and place of its own meetings and of the meetings of the assembly.

4. Functions

In exercising the powers set forth in the constitution the central committee shall have the following specific functions:

a) In the conduct of its business, the central committee shall elect the following committees:

nominations committee;

executive committee;

permanent committee on consensus and collaboration;

programme committee (a standing committee);

finance committee (a standing committee);

reference committee or committees (appointed as needed at each meeting to advise the central committee on any other questions arising which call for special consideration or action by the central committee).

b) It shall adopt the budget of the Council.

c) It shall deal with matters referred to it by member churches.

d) It shall determine the policies to be followed in the work of the World Council of Churches, including the task to initiate and terminate programmes and activities. It shall provide for the organizational structure to carry out the work mentioned herein before and to this end, amongst others, shall elect commissions and boards.

e) It shall report to the assembly the actions it has taken during its period of office and shall not be discharged until its report has been received.

VII. Nominations committee of the central committee

1. In its first meeting during or immediately after the assembly, the central committee shall elect a nominations committee which shall:

a) nominate persons from among the members of the central committee for the offices of moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee;

b) nominate members of the executive committee of the central committee;

c) nominate a person for the office of president to fill the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the presidium between assemblies;

d) nominate members of committees, commissions and boards and where appropriate their moderators;

e) make recommendations regarding the election of persons proposed for staff positions under rule XII.3.

In making nominations as provided for by (a) and (b) to (d) above, the nominations committee shall have regard to principles set out in rule IV.4.c and, in applying principles (2), (3) and (4) to the nomination of members of committees, commissions and boards, shall consider the representative character of the combined membership of all such committees. Any member of the central committee may make additional nominations, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the nominations committee.

2. In between meetings of the central committee, the executive committee shall act as the nominations committee of the central committee.

3. Election shall be by ballot unless the committee shall otherwise determine.

VIII. Executive committee

1. Membership

a) The executive committee shall consist of the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee, the moderators of programme and finance committees of the central committee and 20 other members of the central committee.

b) If a member of the executive committee is unable to attend, he/she has the right – provided that the moderator agrees – to send a member of the central committee as a substitute. Such a substitute shall – as far as possible – be of the same region and church family, and shall have the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making.

c) The moderator of the central committee shall also be the moderator of the executive committee.

d) The general secretary of the World Council of Churches shall be ex officio the secretary of the executive committee.

e) The officers may invite other persons to attend a meeting of the executive committee for consultation, always having in mind the need for preserving a due balance of the confessions and of the geographical areas and cultural backgrounds, and of the major interests of the World Council.

2. Functions

a) The executive committee shall be accountable to the central committee, and shall present to the central committee at its next meeting a report of its work for approval. The central committee shall consider such a report and take such action in regard to it as it thinks fit.

b) The executive committee shall be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the ongoing programmes and activities of the World Council of Churches including the task of determining the allocation of resources. The executive committee’s power to make public statements is limited and defined in rule XIII.5.

c) The central committee may by specific action provide for the election of staff to those positions specified in rule XII.3.a by the executive committee which should report these actions to the next meeting of the central committee.

d) The executive committee shall supervise the operation of the budget and may, if necessary, impose limitations on expenditures.

3. Elections

a) The central committee shall elect an executive committee at its first meeting during or immediately after the assembly.

b) Vacancies on the executive committee shall be filled by the next meeting of the central committee.

IX. Permanent committee on consensus and collaboration

1. At its first full meeting after an assembly, the central committee shall elect from among its members the membership of the permanent committee on consensus and collaboration (the “permanent committee”), consisting of fourteen members, of whom half shall be Orthodox.

2. The Orthodox members of the nominations committee of the central committee, in consultation with all Orthodox members of the central committee, shall nominate the seven Orthodox members, and the other members of the nominations committee of the central committee shall nominate the remaining seven. The central committee as a whole shall elect the permanent committee. For election of the permanent committee, the provisions of rule VII.1. shall not apply: no counter nominations shall be accepted from the floor.

3. Of the overall membership at least half shall be members of the WCC executive committee. Proxies may substitute for absent members. Advisers may be invited from member churches. Observers may be invited from non-member churches, or on occasion from churches in association with the WCC.

4. Two co-moderators shall be elected by the membership of the permanent committee, one by the Orthodox members of the central committee, and one by the other members of the central committee.

5. The term of the members of the outgoing permanent committee shall conclude upon election of replacement members following an assembly. The permanent committee shall be considered a committee of the assembly and shall advise the business committee of the assembly.

6. The permanent committee will have responsibility for:

a) continuing the authority, mandate, concerns and dynamic of the Special Commission (mandated by the eighth assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 1998);

b) giving advice and making recommendations to governing bodies of the WCC during and between assemblies in order to contribute to the formation of consensus on matters proposed for the agenda of the WCC;

c) facilitating improved participation of the Orthodox in the entire life and work of the Council;

d) offering counsel and providing opportunity for action in matters of common interest;

e) giving attention to matters of ecclesiology.

7. The permanent committee will report to the central committee and to the executive committee.

X. Programme committee

1. The programme committee shall consist of up to 40 members including:

a) a moderator who shall be a member of the executive committee;

b) not more than 30 central committee members of whom 2 shall also be members of the executive committee;

c) the moderators of all commissions, boards and advisory groups that relate directly to the programme committee.

2. The programme committee shall normally meet in conjunction with the central committee and shall be required to report to it regularly.

3. Within the guidelines established by the assembly, the programme committee shall have the responsibility to make recommendations to the central committee on all matters regarding the programmes and activities of the World Council of Churches.

In particular, it shall:

a) ensure that the development of programmes takes account of the major thrusts and policies adopted by the central committee as well as of the available financial resources;

b) consider in particular the theological inter-relationship of different World Council activities;

c) recommend to the central committee to initiate and terminate programmes and activities, as well as to make decisions on other basic questions of policy;

d) provide for and make recommendations for regular evaluation of programmes and activities;

e) recommend to the central committee the mandate and size of the commissions which are to advise the central committee through the programme committee in areas of constitutional responsibility of the Council;

f) recommend to the central committee the mandate and size of boards, in particular the board of the Ecumenical Institute;

g) appoint other advisory groups for specific areas or constituencies, as required. The size and periodicity of meetings of such advisory groups are to be determined in light of the tasks assigned and the resources available.

XI. Finance committee of the central committee

1. The finance committee of the central committee shall consist of not less than nine members, including:

a) a moderator, who shall be a member of the executive committee;

b) five members, who shall be members of the central committee, two of whom shall also be members of the executive committee;

c) three members, to be designated by the programme committee from its membership. The programme committee may designate alternates who may attend if the principal member is unable to be present.

2. The committee shall have the following responsibilities and duties:

a) To present to the central committee:

1) in respect of the expired calendar year, an account of income and expenditure of all operations of the World Council of Churches and the balance sheet of the World Council of Churches at the end of that year and its recommendation, based on review of the report of the auditors, regarding approval and granting of discharge in respect of the accounts of the World Council of Churches for the completed period;

2) in respect of the current year, a review of all financial operations;

3) in respect of the succeeding calendar year, a budget covering all activities of the World Council of Churches and its recommendations regarding the approval of that budget in the light of its judgment as to the adequacy of the provisions made for the expenditure involved in the proposed programme of activities and the adequacy of reasonably foreseeable income to finance the budget; and

4) in respect of the year next following the succeeding calendar year a financial forecast together with recommendations thereon as in (3) above.

b) To consider and make recommendations to the central committee on all financial questions concerning the affairs of the World Council of Churches, such as:

1) the appointment of the auditor or auditors who shall be appointed annually by the central committee and shall be eligible for reappointment;

2) accounting procedures;

3) investment policy and procedures;

4) the basis of calculation of contributions from member churches;

5) procedures and methods of raising funds.

XII. Staff

1. The central committee shall elect or appoint or provide for the election or appointment of persons of special competence to conduct the continuing operations of the World Council of Churches. These persons collectively constitute the staff.

2. The general secretary shall be elected by the central committee. He or she is the chief executive officer of the World Council. As such, he or she is the head of the staff. When the position of general secretary becomes vacant, the executive committee shall appoint an acting general secretary.

3. a) In addition to the general secretary, the central committee shall itself elect one or more deputy general secretaries, the directors for programme and management, and any other executive director.

b) The executive committee shall appoint all programme staff and shall report its actions to the central committee.

Specialized, administrative and house staff shall be appointed by the general secretary.

4. The staff leadership group shall consist of the general secretary (moderator), the deputy general secretary or secretaries, the executive secretary in the general secretariat (secretary), and the executive directors. Other staff may be invited for specific items on the agenda.

The staff leadership group is the chief internal management team. Its overall responsibility is to advise the general secretary in his/her role as chief executive officer of the Council. It has the task of ensuring that all activities of the Council are carried out in an integrated and cohesive manner. For this purpose it will:

a) Implement policies and priorities established by the central and executive committees and facilitate proposals to be submitted to them.

b) Provide for overall coordination, decide on priorities and the direction of the Council’s activities.

c) Manage and allocate human and financial resources, propose the budget to the finance committees of the executive and central committees and ensure that programme planning is integrated with anticipated resources available.

d) Assist the general secretary in the appointment of staff and special reference groups.

5. There shall be a staff executive group. Its membership shall include ex-officio the members of the staff leadership group, the programme team coordinators, the director of Bossey and the management services managers. It shall meet regularly (normally twice a month); it shall be moderated by a member of the staff leadership group on a rotating basis.

The staff executive group shall advise the general secretary and the staff leadership group. Its purpose is to:

a) advise on matters of long-range planning, monitoring and evaluation of activities;

b) consider the preparation of the budget;

c) assure regular sharing of information and provide for discussion and interpretation of policies and issues affecting the Council as a whole;

d) facilitate the coordination of the activities of the teams;

e) appoint ad-hoc or permanent functional staff groups to advise on specific areas of concern;

f) promote a spirit and style of work to strengthen and promote integration, cooperation and collegiality.

6. The normal terms of appointment for the general secretary and for the deputy general secretary or secretaries shall be five years. Unless some other period is stated in the resolution making the appointment, the first term of office for all other staff appointed by the executive or central committee shall normally be four years from the date of the appointment. All appointments shall be reviewed one year before their expiration.

7. Retirement shall normally be at sixty-five for both men and women and in no case shall it be later than the end of the year in which a staff member reaches the age of sixty-eight.

XIII. Public statements

1. In the performance of its functions, the World Council of Churches through its assembly or through its central committee may issue statements on any situation or concern with which the Council or its constituent churches may be confronted.

2. While such statements may have great significance and influence as the expression of the judgment or concern of so widely representative a Christian body, yet their authority will consist only in the weight which they carry by their own truth and wisdom, and the publishing of such statements shall not be held to imply that the World Council as such has, or can have, any constitutional authority over the constituent churches or right to speak for them.

3. Any commission may recommend statements to the assembly or to the central committee for its consideration and action.

4. When, in the judgment of a commission, a statement should be issued before approval of the assembly or central committee can be obtained, the commission may do so provided the statement relates to matters within its own field of concern and action, has the approval of the moderator of the central committee and the general secretary, and the commission makes clear that neither the World Council of Churches nor any of its member churches is committed by the statement.

5. Between meetings of the central committee, when in their judgment the situation requires, a statement may be issued, provided that such statements are not contrary to the established policy of the Council, by:

a) the executive committee when meeting apart from the sessions of the central committee; or

b) the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee and the general secretary acting together; or

c) the moderator of the central committee or the general secretary on his or her own authority respectively.

XIV. Associate councils

1. Any national Christian council, national council of churches or national ecumenical council, established for purposes of ecumenical fellowship and activity, may be recognized by the central committee as an associate council, provided:

a) the applicant council, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its desire to cooperate with the World Council towards the achievement of one or more of the functions and purposes of this Council; and

b) the member churches of the World Council in the area have been consulted prior to the action.

2. Each associate council:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly;

b) may, at the discretion of the central committee, be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council shall inform each associate council regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its country.

4. In consultation with the associate councils, the central committee shall establish and review from time to time guidelines regarding the relationships between the World Council of Churches and national councils of churches.

XV. Regional ecumenical organizations

1. The World Council of Churches recognizes regional ecumenical organizations as essential partners in the ecumenical enterprise.

2. Such regional ecumenical organizations as may be designated by the central committee:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly;

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council shall inform each of these regional ecumenical organizations regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its region.

4. The central committee, together with the regional ecumenical organizations, shall establish and review as appropriate guiding principles for relationships and cooperation between the World Council and regional ecumenical organizations, including the means whereby programmatic responsibilities could be shared among them.

XVI. Christian world communions

1. The World Council of Churches recognizes the role of Christian world communions or world confessional bodies in the ecumenical movement.

2. Such Christian world communions as may be designated by the central committee and which express their desire to this effect:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly; and

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all World Council member churches.

3. The central committee shall establish and review as appropriate guidelines for relationships and cooperation with Christian world communions.

XVII. Specialized ministries engaged in ecumenical relief and development

1. Specialized ministries engaged in ecumenical relief and development are those church-based, church-related or ecumenical offices and organizations within the family of WCC member churches, serving the ecumenical movement particularly in the area of world service and development.

Any specialized ministry, committed to ecumenical diaconal services, may be recognized by the central committee as an organization with which the World Council of Churches has working relationships, provided:

a) the organization, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its willingness to relate to and cooperate with it; and

b) the WCC member church or churches with whom the specialized ministry is related do not formally oppose this form of relationship.

2. Each specialized ministry:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly (cf. rule IV.1.b.5);

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council may inform each of these specialized ministries regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its area of commitment and expertise.

4. In consultation with specialized ministries, the central committee shall establish and review from time to time guidelines regarding the relationships between the World Council of Churches and specialized ministries.

XVIII. International ecumenical organizations

1. Ecumenical organizations other than those mentioned under rules XIV, XV, XVI and XVII may be recognized by the central committee as organizations with which the World Council of Churches has working relationships, provided:

a) the organization is international in nature (global, regional or sub-regional) and its objectives are consistent with the functions and purposes of the World Council; and

b) the organization, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its desire to relate to and cooperate with it.

2. On the basis of reciprocity, each international ecumenical organization:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly (cf. rule IV.1.b.5);

b) shall be provided with copies of general communications sent to all World Council member churches.

XIX. Legal provisions

1. The duration of the World Council of Churches is unlimited.

2. The legal headquarters of the Council shall be at Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland. It is registered in Geneva as an association according to art. 60ff. of the Swiss civil code. Regional offices may be organized in different parts of the world by decision of the central committee.

3. The World Council of Churches is legally represented by its executive committee or by such persons as may be empowered by the executive committee to represent it.

4. The World Council shall be legally bound by the joint signatures of two of the following persons: the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee, the general secretary, the deputy general secretary or secretaries. Any two of the above-named persons shall have power to authorize other persons, chosen by them, to act jointly or singly on behalf of the World Council of Churches in fields circumscribed in the power of attorney.

5. The Council shall obtain the means necessary for the pursuance of its work from the contributions of its member churches and from donations or bequests.

6. The Council shall not pursue commercial functions but it shall have the right to act as an agency of interchurch aid and to publish literature in connection with its aims. It is not entitled to distribute any surplus income by way of profit or bonus among its members.

7. Members of the governing bodies of the Council or of the assembly shall have no personal liability with regard to the obligations or commitments of the Council. The commitments entered upon by the Council are guaranteed solely by its own assets.

XX. Conduct of meetings

1. General

a) These provisions for conduct of meetings shall apply to meetings of the assembly, the central committee, the executive committee and all other bodies of the WCC. During an assembly, the titles “president, moderator and vice-moderators of the central committee” shall refer to the persons holding those offices in the outgoing central committee. During the term of a central committee such titles shall refer to the current presidents and officers of that central committee.

b) “Delegate” shall mean an official representative of a member church to an assembly with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making (rule IV.1.a). For meetings of the central committee, “delegate” shall mean a member of the central committee or that member’s substitute (rule VI.1.c), with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decisionmaking.

c) “Participant” shall include delegates as well as persons invited to the assembly or a meeting of the central committee as persons with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making (rule IV.1.b).

2. Categories of sessions

The assembly shall sit in one of the following categories of sessions: general, hearing or decision. The business committee shall determine the category of session appropriate for different parts of the agenda.

a) General session

General sessions shall be reserved for ceremonial occasions, public acts of witness and formal addresses. Only matters proposed by the central committee or by the business committee shall be included in general sessions. No decisions shall be made during general sessions.

b) Hearing session

Hearing sessions shall be designated for plenary presentations, discussion, dialogue, and exchange of ideas as a resource for developing understanding, deepening fellowship among member churches and coming to a common mind on matters on the agenda. A wide range of perspectives shall be encouraged during hearing sessions. No decisions shall be made during hearing sessions, other than to move to a decision session, if deemed necessary or to deal with a point of order or procedural proposals.

c) Decision session

Decision sessions shall be designated for matters requiring a decision, including:

1) adoption of the agenda;

2) proposal for change in the agenda;

3) appointments and elections;

4) reception or adoption of reports or recommendations;

5) actions to be taken on recommendations or proposals of committees or commissions, or 6) arising out of hearing sessions;

6) adoption of accounts and financial audits; and

7) amendment of constitution or rules.

3. Moderating sessions

a) A moderator for each session of the assembly shall be designated before an assembly by the outgoing central committee, and during an assembly by the business committee, as follows:

1) in general sessions one of the presidents or the moderator of the central committee shall preside;

2) in hearing sessions one of the presidents, the moderator or a vice-moderator of the central committee, or a delegate with specific expertise in the subject matter of the hearing shall preside;

3) in decision sessions the moderator or a vice-moderator of the central committee or delegate to the assembly who was a member of the outgoing central committee shall preside.

b) The role of session moderators shall be:

1) to convene the session, including announcing the category of session;

2) to facilitate and encourage discussion and dialogue, for the exchange and development of ideas, and to assist the meeting to come to a common mind;

3) during decision sessions, to test any emerging agreement on a particular point and whether the meeting is ready to move to a decision by consensus;

4) in the event the category of session is to change during a session, to announce the change in category, providing a break in the session to mark the change in category; and

5) to close the session.

c) The moderator shall consult with the recorder for the session to ensure that the developing consensus is accurately noted and any changed wording promptly made available to the meeting.

d) All moderators shall undertake specific training in conducting meetings based upon the consensus model of decision-making, as described in these rules and the accompanying guidelines.

4. Moderator of the assembly

The moderator of the assembly shall announce the opening, suspension and the adjournment of the assembly.

5. Official minutes, records and reports

a) The business committee shall appoint recorders from among delegates for each decision session. Their role shall be to follow the discussion of a decision session, to record the language of the emerging consensus, including final language of decisions taken, and to assist the moderator of the session in discerning an emerging consensus. Recorders shall also assist the moderator in ensuring that the final agreed wording of a proposal is translated and available to delegates before a decision is made.

b) The business committee shall appoint rapporteurs for each hearing session and for committee meetings for which official minutes are not maintained, to prepare a report of the meeting including major themes and specific proposals. A rapporteur appointed for a committee meeting shall function as a recorder of that meeting.

c) The business committee shall appoint minute-takers to record the official minutes of general, hearing and decision sessions of an assembly or any meeting for which formal minutes must be kept, and shall include a record of the discussion, motions and decisions. The minutes will normally incorporate by reference any report of the meeting. The minutes shall be signed by the moderator and the minute-taker for the session and shall be sent to the participants of the meeting. For all minutes other than minutes of an assembly, if there is no objection within six months from the sending of the minutes, the minutes shall be considered to be accepted. The first full central committee meeting following an assembly shall confirm the minutes of the assembly.

d) Decision sessions shall produce official minutes, a record and/or report.

e) If, after the close of a meeting, a member church declares that it cannot support a decision of the meeting, the member church may submit its objection in writing and have its position recorded in the minutes or report of a subsequent meeting. The decision itself shall not be rescinded by this action.

6. Agenda

a) Matters may be included on the agenda of a meeting according to rule IV.3 and procedures established by the business and programme committees, and any other committee established by central committee for that purpose. Normally, matters included on an agenda will be based upon reports, recommendations or proposals that previously have been fully considered and have the consensus support of the proposing group or committee.

b) The business committee shall ensure that the moderator is advised before each session, and if appropriate during breaks within a session, as to the conduct of the business and the priority of various agenda items.

c) A delegate may propose to the business committee an item of business to be included on, or any change in, the agenda. If after consideration the business committee has not agreed to the proposal, the delegate may appeal the decision to the moderator of the assembly in writing. The moderator shall at a convenient time inform the assembly of the proposal, and a member of the business committee shall explain the reasons for this refusal. The delegate may give reasons for proposing it. The moderator shall then without further debate put the following question: Shall the assembly accept this proposal? If the assembly agrees to accept the proposal, the business committee as soon as possible shall bring proposals for the inclusion of the matter or the change in the agenda.

d) Matters concerning ecclesiological self-understanding: Where a matter being raised is considered by a delegate to go against the ecclesiological self-understanding of his or her church, the delegate may request that it not be submitted for decision. The moderator shall seek the advice of the business committee in consultation with this delegate and other members of the same church or confession present at the session. If agreed that the matter does in fact go against the ecclesiological selfunderstanding of the delegate’s church, the moderator shall announce that the matter will be removed from the agenda of the decision session and may be considered in a hearing session. The materials and minutes of the discussion shall be sent to the member churches for their study and comment.

e) Subject to the provisions of this rule, the agenda shall be proposed, amended and/or adopted in accordance with rule IV.3. and IV.5.

7. Speaking

a) In hearing sessions, participants wishing to speak either may submit to the moderator a written request or may queue at the microphones when the moderator so invites, but may speak only when called by the moderator.

b) In decision sessions of the assembly or central committee, only delegates may speak. Delegates wishing to speak either may submit to the moderator a written request or may queue at the microphones when the moderator so invites, but may speak only when called by the moderator.

c) In sessions of committees and advisory bodies where both hearing and decision may take place, participants who are not delegates have the right to speak but not to take part in decision-making.

d) The moderator shall decide who shall speak, ensuring that a fair distribution of opinions is heard, and may take advice on the order of speakers from a small sub-committee of the business committee. If time allows and others are not left unheard, the moderator may permit speakers to intervene more than once.

e) When called by the moderator, a speaker shall speak from a microphone, first stating his or her name, church, country, and role at the meeting, and shall address all remarks to the moderator.

f) Remarks will normally be limited to three minutes; however, the moderator may use discretion in allowing extra time if there is a difficulty in language or interpretation or if the issues being discussed are unusually complex.

g) Procedural proposals – hearing or decision sessions: Provided that a speaker is not interrupted, a delegate may ask for clarification of the pending matter or may raise suggestions about procedure. The moderator immediately shall provide clarification or respond to the suggestion for change of procedure.

h) Points of order – hearing or decision sessions: This provision is available to question whether procedures being followed are in accordance with these rules, to object to offensive language, to make a point of personal explanation, or to request that a meeting move to closed session. Points of order may be raised by a participant at any time, even by interrupting another speaker. A participant gains the attention of the moderator by standing and calling, “point of order!” The moderator shall ask the participant to state the point of order and then (without discussion) shall rule on it immediately.

i) If any delegate disagrees with the moderator’s decision on a procedural proposal or point of order, the delegate may appeal against it. In this case the moderator will put this question, without discussion, to the meeting: “Does the meeting concur with the decision of the moderator?” The delegates present shall decide the question according to the decision-making procedures then being employed.

8. Reaching consensus: seeking the common mind of the meeting

a) Consensus shall be understood as seeking the common mind of the meeting without resort to a formal vote, in a process of genuine dialogue that is respectful, mutually supportive and empowering, whilst prayerfully seeking to discern God’s will.

b) Decisions will normally be by consensus, unless otherwise specified by the rules.

c) A consensus decision on a particular matter shall be recorded when one of the following occurs:

1) all delegates are in agreement (unanimity); or

2) most are in agreement and those who disagree are satisfied that the discussion has been both full and fair and do not object that the proposal expresses the general mind of the meeting.

d) A consensus decision shall mean that there is agreement about the outcome of a discussion. This may mean agreement to accept a proposal or a variation of a proposal; it also may mean agreement about another outcome, including agreement to reject a proposal, to postpone a matter, that no decision can be reached, or that there are various opinions that may be held. When consensus has been reached that various opinions can be held concerning a matter, those various opinions shall be recorded in the final wording of the minutes and the report and the record of the meeting.

9. Decision-making by consensus

a) A proposal or recommendation considered in a decision session may be affirmed, modified or rejected. Delegates may suggest modifications, and the moderator may allow discussion on more than one modification at a time. Reaching a common mind may require a series of steps, if there is a variety of opinions being expressed. As discussion proceeds, the moderator may ask the meeting to affirm what is held in common before encouraging discussion on those aspects of a proposal about which more diverse opinions have been voiced.

b) To assist the moderator in discerning the mind of the meeting and to move efficiently towards consensus, the recorder of the session shall maintain a record of the discussion. Delegates may be provided with indicator cards to facilitate participation.

c) A delegate or the moderator may suggest that the matter under discussion be referred for further work to an appropriate group holding a range of points of view. This suggestion itself shall be tested to discern the mind of the meeting. If agreed, the business committee shall schedule consideration of the matter for a later session.

d) When it seems that the meeting is close to agreement on an outcome, the moderator shall ensure that the wording of the proposal (or the proposal as varied during the course of the discussion) is clear to all delegates, and then test whether there is consensus on that outcome. If all are agreed consistent with rule XX.8.c.1, the moderator shall declare that consensus has been reached and the decision made. If the meeting is not unanimous, the moderator shall invite those who hold a minority view to explain their reasons if they wish and to indicate whether they can agree with a decision pursuant to rule XX.8.c.2. If so, consensus shall be declared.

e) If, after every effort has been made to reach consensus, agreement cannot be reached and it is the opinion of an officer or the business committee that a decision must be made before the meeting concludes, the moderator shall ask the business committee to formulate a proposal for how the matter may be considered again in a new form. At the later decision session where this new approach is considered, the meeting itself shall decide whether a decision must be made at this meeting, and, if so, shall proceed on any one of the following courses, which may be followed sequentially:

1) to work further towards consensus on the proposal in its new form;

2) to work to reach agreement among most delegates with some delegates recording an objection, in which event a meeting shall record acceptance of the proposal, providing that each delegate who does not agree is satisfied with that outcome and has the right to have his or her viewpoint recorded in the minutes, in the report, and in the record of the meeting; or

3) to move into voting procedures to decide the matter (rule XX.10).

f) meeting and there is no ready agreement in accordance with rule XX.9.e.1 or 2, the moderator may offer a procedural proposal: “That the meeting resolve the proposal now by vote”. Except for matters described in rule XX.6.d, “matters concerning ecclesiological self-understanding”, the moderator shall announce that a vote to decide this change of procedure shall be taken. Delegates shall indicate by voting whether they agree that the matter shall be decided by a vote. If 85 percent of delegates present vote in favour of moving the matter to a voting process, the matter shall so move. If fewer than 85 percent of delegates present vote in favour of moving the matter to a voting process, the matter shall not so move, and the meeting shall decide, again by vote of 85 percent of delegates present, whether discussion should continue to achieve consensus or whether discussion should be discontinued.

10. Decision-making by vote

a) Some matters require decision by vote, rather than by consensus. These include:

1) constitutional changes (two-thirds majority);

2) elections (simple majority, with specific procedures in each case);

3) adoption of yearly accounts and of the financial audit report (simple majority).

b) For matters that have been moved from consensus procedures to decision-making by vote in accordance with rule XX.9.e.3 or rule XX.9.f, and for matters reserved to a voting procedure according to subsection (a) of this section, the following procedures shall be followed:

1) All motions must be moved and seconded by a delegate, and the mover has the right to speak first.

2) In discussion following the seconding of a motion, no delegate may speak more than once, except that the delegate who moved the motion may answer objections at the end of the discussion.

3) Any delegate may move an amendment, and if a seconder supports it, the amendment shall be considered simultaneously with the original proposal.

4) When discussion is concluded, including the right of mover to reply (see 2 above), the moderator shall call for the vote and shall put any amendment first. If approved, it will be incorporated in the original proposal, which will then be put to the vote without further discussion.

5) If the mover seeks to withdraw a motion or amendment during the discussion, the moderator will seek the consent of the meeting for the withdrawal.

c) A delegate may move to close the discussion, but in doing so shall not interrupt a speaker. If seconded, the moderator shall call for a vote on this motion immediately without discussion. If two-thirds of the meeting agree, the voting process will then begin. If the motion fails, discussion will proceed, but the same motion to close discussion may be moved again as the discussion continues, but not by the delegate who moved it the first time.

d) Voting shall be by show of hands or indicator cards and the moderator shall ask first for those in favour, then for those against, and finally for those who wish to abstain from voting. The moderator shall announce the result of the vote immediately.

e) If the moderator is in doubt, or for any other reason decides to do so, or if a delegate requests it, a vote on the matter shall be taken immediately by count of a show of hands or indicator cards. The moderator may call tellers to count those voting and abstaining. A delegate may ask that voting be by secret written ballot, and if seconded and if a majority of delegates present and voting agree, a secret written ballot shall be taken. The moderator shall announce the result of any count or secret written ballot.

f) A majority of the delegates present, including those who choose to abstain from voting, shall determine a matter being decided by vote unless a higher proportion is required by the constitution or these rules. If the vote results in a tie, the matter shall be regarded as defeated.

g) If the moderator wishes to participate in the discussion, he or she shall relinquish the position of moderator of the session to another presiding officer until the matter has been resolved.

h) A moderator entitled to vote as a delegate may do so, but may not cast the decisive vote in the event of a tie.

i) Any two delegates who voted with the majority for a previously approved matter may request that the business committee propose reconsideration of the matter. The business committee shall bring the proposal to the next decision session and may express an opinion as to whether the matter should be reconsidered. Reconsideration shall take place only if two-thirds of delegates present agree.

j) Anyone voting with a minority or abstaining from voting may have his or her opinion recorded in the minutes, in the report, and/or the record of the meeting.

11. Languages

The working languages in use in the World Council of Churches are English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. The general secretary shall make reasonable effort to provide interpretation for any one of those languages into the others and shall endeavour to provide written translation of the specific wording of proposals. A participant may speak in another language only if he or she provides for interpretation into one of the working languages. The general secretary shall provide all possible assistance to any participant requiring an interpreter.

XXI. Amendments

Amendments to these rules may be proposed at any session of the assembly or at any session of the central committee by any member and shall be decided according to the procedures in Rule XX.9; if the meeting shifts from consensus to voting, then the procedures in Rule XX. 10 will apply. In this case, the proposed change must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present to be adopted. No alteration in rules I, VI, VII and XXI shall come into effect until it has been confirmed by the assembly. Notice of a proposal to make any amendment shall be given in writing at least twenty-four hours before the session of the assembly or central committee at which it is to be considered.

***

Constitution & rules of the WCC (as submitted for approval to the Assembly)

The WCC's constitution identifies the basis for, and the principles of membership, the purposes and functions, authority, and organization of the Council. Its rules give precise guidance concerning the roles, responsibilities and structure of the Council's various governing bodies, officers, committees, staff and partner organizations, the role of public statements, and the conduct of meetings. The constitution and rules will be submitted to the Assembly for amendment.

Constitution & rules of the WCC (as submitted for approval to the Assembly)
14 February 2006

CONSTITUTION

I. Basis

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

II. Membership

(Note: The following new wording of this article was approved by the central committee in February 2005. It was submitted to member churches and is now presented to the assembly for final decision)

Churches shall be eligible for membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches who express their agreement with the basis upon which the Council is founded and satisfy such criteria as the assembly or central committee may prescribe. The central committee shall consider applications for membership according to the consensus model of decision-making. The application shall be accepted for a specified interim period of participation in the work of the World Council of Churches and for interaction with the local fellowship of member churches. The member churches of the World Council of Churches shall be consulted during the interim period. Following the interim period, the central committee shall assess whether a consensus of member churches has developed in favour of the application, in which event the applicant church shall be considered a new member church.

III. Purposes and functions

The World Council of Churches is constituted by the churches to serve the one ecumenical movement. It incorporates the work of the world movements for Faith and Order and Life and Work, the International Missionary Council, and the World Council of Christian Education.

The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and in one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe.

In seeking koinonia in faith and life, witness and service, the churches through the Council will:

- promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue, and the sharing of human, spiritual and material resources with one another;

- facilitate common witness in each place and in all places, and support each other in their work for mission and evangelism;

- express their commitment to diakonia in serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, promoting one human family in justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation, so that all may experience the fullness of life;

- nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness through processes of education and a vision of life in community rooted in each particular cultural context;

- assist each other in their relationships to and with people of other faith communities;

- foster renewal and growth in unity, worship, mission and service.

In order to strengthen the one ecumenical movement, the Council will:

- nurture relations with and among churches, especially within but also beyond its membership;

- establish and maintain relations with national councils, regional conferences of churches, organizations of Christian world communions and other ecumenical bodies;

- support ecumenical initiatives at regional, national and local levels;

- facilitate the creation of networks among ecumenical organizations;

- work towards maintaining the coherence of the one ecumenical movement in its diverse manifestations.

IV. Authority

The World Council shall offer counsel and provide opportunity for united action in matters of common interest.

It may take action on behalf of constituent churches only in such matters as one or more of them may commit to it and only on behalf of such churches.

The World Council shall not legislate for the churches; nor shall it act for them in any manner except as indicated above or as may hereafter be specified by the constituent churches.
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V. Organization

(Note: The assembly will be invited to confirm rule I on membership. This will have a consequence on articles V and VI of the constitution. The executive committee recommended to the assembly the adoption of the amendments with the understanding that all member churches were involved in preparing the new rule I and that the amendments of articles V and VI are a simple consequence of the new rule I.)

The World Council shall discharge its functions through an assembly, a central committee, an executive committee, and other subordinate bodies as may be established.

1. The assembly

a) The assembly shall be the supreme legislative body governing the World Council and shall ordinarily meet at seven-year intervals.

b) The assembly shall be composed of official representatives of the member churches, known as delegates, elected by the member churches.

c) The assembly shall have the following functions:

to elect the president or presidents of the World Council;

to elect not more than 145 members of the central committee from among the delegates which the member churches have elected to the assembly;

to elect not more than 5 members from among the representatives elected to the assembly by churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons;

to determine the overall policies of the World Council and to review programmes undertaken to implement policies previously adopted;

to delegate to the central committee specific functions, except to amend this constitution and to allocate the membership of the central committee granted by this constitution to the assembly exclusively.

2. The central committee

a) The central committee shall be responsible for implementing the policies adopted by the assembly and shall exercise the functions of the assembly itself delegated to it by the assembly between its meetings, except its power to amend this constitution and to allocate or alter the allocation of the membership of central committee.

b) The central committee shall be composed of the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches and not more than 150 members.

1) Not more than 145 members shall be elected by the assembly from among the delegates the member churches have elected to the assembly. Such members shall be distributed among the member churches by the assembly giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the Council, the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council, reasonable geographical and cultural balance, and adequate representation of the major interests of the Council.

2) Not more than 5 members shall be elected by the assembly from among the representatives whom the churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons have elected to the assembly.

3) A vacancy in the membership of the central committee, occurring between meetings of the assembly, shall be filled by the central committee itself after consultation with the church of which the person previously occupying the position was a member.

c) The central committee shall have, in addition to the general powers set out in (a) above, the following powers:

1) to elect its moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators from among the members of the central committee;

2) to elect the executive committee from among the members of the central committee;

3) to elect committees, commissions, and boards;

4) within the policies adopted by the assembly, and on the recommendation of the programme committee, to initiate and terminate programmes and activities and to set priorities for the work of the Council;

5) to adopt the budget of the World Council and secure its financial support;

6) to elect the general secretary and to elect or appoint or to make provision for the election or appointment of all members of the staff of the World Council;

7) to plan for the meetings of the assembly, making provision for the conduct of its business, for worship and study, and for common Christian commitment. The central committee shall determine the number of delegates to the assembly and allocate them among the member churches giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the Council; the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council; reasonable geographical and cultural balance; the desired distribution among church officials, parish ministers and lay persons; among men, women and young people; and participation by persons whose special knowledge and experience will be needed;

8) to delegate specific functions to the executive committee or to other bodies or persons.

3. Rules

The assembly or the central committee may adopt and amend rules not inconsistent with this constitution for the conduct of the business of the World Council.

4. By-laws

The assembly or the central committee may adopt and amend by-laws not inconsistent with this constitution for the functioning of its committees, boards, working groups and commissions.

5. Quorum

A quorum for the conduct of any business by the assembly or the central committee shall be one-half of its membership.

VI. Other ecumenical Christian organizations

(Note: The following two sub-sections of article VI were simply amended from "invited to send non-voting representatives to the assembly" into "shall not have the right to participate in decision-making".)

1. Such world confessional bodies and such international ecumenical organizations as may be designated by the central committee may be invited to send representatives to the assembly and to the central committee, in such numbers as the central committee shall determine; however, these representatives shall not have the right to participate in decision-making.

2. Such national councils and regional conferences of churches, other Christian councils and missionary councils as may be designated by the central committee may be invited to send representatives to the assembly and to the central committee, in such numbers as the central committee shall determine; however, these representatives shall not have the right to participate in decision-making.

VII. Amendments

The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the delegates to the assembly present and voting, provided that the proposed amendment shall have been reviewed by the central committee, and notice of it sent to the member churches not less than six months before the meeting of the assembly. The central committee itself, as well as the member churches, shall have the right to propose such amendment.



RULES

I. Membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches

(Note: This article of the rules elaborated in consultation with member churches and eventually adopted by the central committee has to be confirmed by the assembly according to rule XXI.)

The World Council of Churches is comprised of churches which have constituted the Council or which have been admitted into membership and which continue to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches. The term "church" as used in this article could also include an association, convention or federation of autonomous churches. A group of churches within a country or region, or within the same confession, may choose to participate in the World Council of Churches as one member. Churches within the same country or region or within the same confession may apply jointly to belong to the fellowship of the Council, in order to respond to their common calling, to strengthen their joint participation and/or to satisfy the requirement of minimum size (rule I.3.b.3). Such groupings of churches are encouraged by the World Council of Churches; each individual church within the grouping must satisfy the criteria for membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, except the requirements of size. A church seeking affiliation with a grouping of autonomous churches which is a member of the World Council of Churches must agree with the basis and fulfil the criteria for membership.

The general secretary shall maintain the official lists of member churches that have been accepted to belong to the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, noting any special arrangement accepted by the assembly or central committee. Separate lists shall be maintained of member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC that do or do not participate in decision-making.

1. Application

A church that wishes to join the World Council of Churches shall apply in writing to the general secretary.

2. Processing

The general secretary shall submit all such applications through the executive committee to the central committee (see article II of the constitution) together with such information as he or she considers necessary to enable the central committee to make a decision on the application.

3. Criteria

Churches applying to join the World Council of Churches ("applicant churches") are required first to express agreement with the basis on which the Council is founded and confirm their commitment to the purposes and functions of the Council as defined in articles I and III of the constitution. The basis states: "The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."

Applicant churches should give an account of how their faith and witness relate to these norms and practices:

a) Theological

In its life and witness, the church professes faith in the triune God according to the scriptures, and as this faith is reflected in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

The church maintains a ministry of proclaiming the gospel and celebrating the sacraments as understood by its doctrines.

The church baptizes in the name of the one God, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" and acknowledges the need to move towards the recognition of the baptism of other churches.

The church recognizes the presence and activity of Christ and the Holy Spirit outside its own boundaries and prays for the gift of God's wisdom to all in the awareness that other member churches also believe in the Holy Trinity and the saving grace of God.

The church recognizes in the other member churches of the WCC elements of the true church, even if it does not regard them "as churches in the true and full sense of the word" (Toronto statement).

b) Organizational

The church must produce evidence of sustained autonomous life and organization.

The church must be able to take the decision to apply for formal membership in the WCC and continue to belong to the fellowship of the WCC without obtaining the permission of any other body or person.

An applicant church must ordinarily have at least fifty thousand members. The central committee, for exceptional reasons, may dispense with this requirement and accept a church that does not fulfill the criteria of size.

An applicant church with more than 10,000 members but less than 50,000 members that has not been granted membership for exceptional reasons under rule I.3.b.3,2 but is otherwise eligible for membership, can be admitted as a member subject to the following conditions: (a) it shall not have the right to participate in decision-making in the assembly, and (b) it may participate with other churches in selecting five representatives to the central committee in accordance with rule IV.4.b.3. Such church shall be considered as a member church belonging to the fellowship of the WCC in all other respects.

Churches must recognize the essential interdependence of the member churches belonging to the fellowship of the WCC, particularly those of the same confession, and should make every effort to practise constructive ecumenical relations with other churches within their country or region. This will normally mean that the church is a member of the national council of churches or similar body and of the regional/sub-regional ecumenical organization.

4 Consultation

Before admitting a church to membership in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches, the appropriate world confessional body or bodies and national council or regional ecumenical organization shall be consulted.

5. Resignation

A church which desires to resign its membership in the fellowship of the Council can do so at any time. A church which has resigned but desires to rejoin the Council must again apply for membership.

II. Responsibilities of membership

Membership in the World Council of Churches signifies faithfulness to the basis of the Council, fellowship in the Council, participation in the life and work of the Council and commitment to the ecumenical movement as integral to the mission of the church. Churches which are members of the World Council of Churches are expected to:

1) appoint delegates to the assembly, the major policy-making body of the Council, and participate in council with other member churches in shaping the ecumenical vision and the ecumenical agenda;

2) inform the World Council of their primary concerns, priorities, activities and constructive criticisms as they may relate to its programmes as well as any matters which they feel need expression of ecumenical solidarity or which merit the attention of the Council and/or churches around the world;

3) communicate the meaning of ecumenical commitment, to foster and encourage ecumenical relations and action at all levels of their church life and to pursue ecumenical fellowship locally, nationally, regionally and internationally;

4) interpret both the broader ecumenical movement and the World Council of Churches, its nature, purpose and programmes throughout their membership as a normal part of their own reporting to their constituency;

5) encourage participation in World Council programmes, activities and meetings, including:

a) proposing persons who could make a particular contribution to and/or participate in the Council's various committees, meetings and consultations, programmes, publications and staff;

b) establishing links between their own programme offices and the appropriate World Council programme offices; and

c) submitting materials for and promoting World Council communications resources: books, periodicals and other publications;

6) respond to decisions of the central committee which call for study, action or other follow-up by the member churches as well as respond to requests on matters referred by the central or executive committee or the general secretary for prayer, advice, information or opinion;

7) make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council: the amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed;

8) participate, in ways commensurate with their resources and in consultation with the Council, in assuming responsibility for the costs of the Council's programmtheir its representatives to Council events.

The implications of not fulfilling such obligations shall be such as the central committee shall decide.

III. Churches in association with the World Council of Churches

A church that agrees with the basis of the Council may request in writing to be received as a church in association with the World Council of Churches, stating its reasons for requesting this mode of relating with the Council. If the reasons are approved by the central committee, such a church may be accepted to be in association with the World Council of Churches.

Churches in association with the World Council of Churches:

1) can send representative(s) to the assembly and the central committee who can speak with permission of the chair, but have no right to participate in formal decision-making, whether by consensus or by vote;

2)can be invited to participate in the work of the commissions, advisory groups and other consultative bodies of the Council as consultants or advisers;

3) have the possibility of participating in the work of the WCC as described, but will not be identified with decisions taken or statements issued by the Council;

4) shall be expected to make an annual contribution to the general budget of the Council; the amount of the contribution shall be agreed upon in consultation between the church and the Council and shall be regularly reviewed; no financial support will ordinarily be made available from the Council to such churches to facilitate their participation.

The general secretary shall maintain a list of churches in association with the Council.

IV. The assembly

1. Composition of the assembly

a) Persons with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making

The assembly shall be composed of official representatives of the member churches, known as delegates, elected by the member churches, with the right to speak and with the responsibility to participate in decision-making.

1) The central committee shall determine the number of delegates to the assembly well in advance of its meeting.

2) The central committee shall determine the percentage of the delegates, not less than 85 percent, who shall be both nominated and elected by the member churches. Each member church shall be entitled to a minimum of one delegate. The central committee shall allocate the other delegates in this group among the member churches giving due regard to the size of the churches and confessions represented in the World Council of Churches, the number of churches of each confession which are members of the Council, and reasonable geographical and cultural balance. The central committee shall recommend the proper distribution within delegations among church officials, parish ministers and lay persons; and among men, women, young people and Indigenous peoples. The central committee may make provision for the election by the member churches of alternate delegates who shall serve only in place of such delegates who are unable to attend meetings of the assembly.

3) The remaining delegates, not more than 15 percent, shall be elected by certain member churches upon nomination of the central committee as follows:

1. If the moderator or any vice-moderator of the central committee is not elected a delegate within the provisions of paragraph 2 above, the central committee shall nominate such officer to the member church of which such officer is a member. Paragraphs 5 and 6 below apply to such nominees.

2. The central committee shall determine the categories of additional delegates necessary to achieve balance in respect of:

a) the varied sizes of churches and confessions;

b) the historical significance, future potential or geographical location and cultural background of particular churches, as well as the special importance of united churches;

c) the presence of persons whose special knowledge and experience will be necessary to the assembly;

d) proportions of women, youth, lay persons and local pastors;

e) participation of Indigenous peoples.

3. The central committee shall invite the member churches to propose the names of persons in the categories so determined whom the churches would be willing to elect, if nominated by the central committee.

4. From the lists so compiled, the central committee shall propose the nomination of particular individuals to their respective member church.

5. If that member church elects the said nominee, he or she shall become an additional delegate of that member church.

6. The member churches shall not elect alternate delegates for such delegates.

Member churches are encouraged to consult regionally in the selection of the delegates described in paragraphs 2 and 3 above, provided that every delegate is elected by the church of which he or she is a member in accordance with its own procedures.

b) Persons with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making

In addition to the delegates, who alone have the right to vote, the following categories of persons may attend meetings of the assembly with the right to speak:

1) Presidents and officers: Any president or presidents of the Council or moderator or vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee who have not been elected delegates by their churches.

2) Members of the retiring central committee: Any members of the retiring central committee who have not been elected delegates by their churches.

3) Representatives of associate member churches (following confirmation of rule I: "churches which do not fulfil the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons"): Each associate member church ("each one of these churches") may elect one representative.

4) Advisers: The central committee may invite a small number of persons who have a special contribution to make to the deliberations of the assembly or who have participated in the activities of the World Council. Before an invitation is extended to an adviser who is a member of a member church, that church shall be consulted.

5) Delegated representatives: The central committee may invite persons officially designated as delegated representatives by organizations with which the World Council maintains relationship.

6) Delegated observers: The central committee may invite persons officially designated as delegated observers by non-member churches.

c) Persons without the right to speak or to participate in decision-making

The central committee may invite to attend the meetings of the assembly without the right to speak or to participate in decision-making:

1) Observers: Persons identified with organizations with which the World Council maintains relationship which are not represented by delegated representatives or with non-member churches which are not represented by delegated observers.

2) Guests: Persons named individually.

2. Presiding officers and committees

a) At the first decision session of the assembly the central committee shall present its proposals for the moderatorship of the assembly and for the membership of the business committee of the assembly and make any other proposals, including the appointment of other committees, their membership and functions, for the conduct of the business of the assembly as it sees fit.

b) At the first or second decision session, additional nominations for membership of any committee may be made in writing by any six concurring delegates.

c) Election shall be by ballot unless the assembly shall otherwise determine.

3. Agenda

The agenda of the assembly shall be proposed by the central committee to the first decision session of the assembly. A delegate may propose changes to the agenda in accordance with rule XX.6.c. New business or any change may be proposed by the business committee under rule IV.5.b.2.

4. Nominations committee of the assembly

a) At an early decision session of the assembly, the assembly shall elect a nominations committee, on which there shall be appropriate confessional, cultural and geographical representation of the membership of the assembly and representation of the major interests of the World Council.

b) The nominations committee in consultation with the officers of the World Council and the executive committee shall make nominations for the following:

the president or presidents of the World Council;

not more than 145 members of the central committee from among the delegates which the member churches have elected to the assembly;

not more than 5 members of the central committee from among the representatives which the associate member churches (following confirmation of rule I: "churches which do not fulfill the criteria of size and have not been granted membership for exceptional reasons") have elected to the assembly.

c) In making nominations, the nominations committee shall have regard to the following principles:

the personal qualifications of the individual for the task for which he or she is to be nominated;

fair and adequate confessional representation;

fair and adequate geographical and cultural representation;

fair and adequate representation of the major interests of the World Council.

The nominations committee shall satisfy itself as to the general acceptability of the nominations to the churches to which the nominees belong.

Not more than seven persons from any one member church shall be nominated as members of the central committee.

The nominations committee shall secure adequate representation of lay persons - men, women and young people - so far as the composition of the assembly makes this possible.

d) The nominations committee shall present its nominations to the assembly. Additional nominations may be made by any six delegates concurring in writing, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the nominations committee.

e) Election shall be by ballot unless the assembly shall otherwise determine.

5. Business committee of the assembly

a) The business committee of the assembly shall consist of the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee, the general secretary, the presidents of the Council, the co-moderators of the permanent committee on consensus and collaboration participating as a delegate, the moderator or a member of the assembly planning committee participating as a delegate, the moderators of hearings and committees who may appoint substitutes and ten delegates who are not members of the outgoing central committee, who shall be elected in accordance with rule IV.2. If a co-moderator of the permanent committee and/or the moderator of the assembly planning committee is not a delegate, he/she shall be invited as an adviser to the assembly and its business committee with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

b) The business committee shall:

coordinate the day-to-day business of the assembly and may make proposals for rearrangement, modification, addition, deletion or substitution of items included on the agenda. Any such proposal shall be presented to the assembly at the earliest convenient time by a member of the business committee with reasons for the proposed change. After opportunity for discussion on the proposal, the moderator shall put the following question to the assembly: Shall the assembly approve the proposal of the business committee? The assembly shall decide the question by consensus or voting procedures. If decided according to voting procedures, then any proposed change must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present to be adopted;

consider any item of business or change in the agenda proposed to the business committee by a delegate under rule XX.6.c;

determine whether the assembly sits in general, hearing or decision session as defined in rule XX.2;

receive information from and review the reports of other committees in order to consider how best the assembly can act on them.

6. Other committees of the assembly

a) Any other committee of the assembly shall consist of such members and shall have such powers and duties as are proposed by the central committee at the first decision session or by the business committee after its election and accepted by the assembly.

b) Any such committee shall, unless the assembly otherwise directs, inform the business committee about its work and shall make its report or recommendations to the assembly.

V. Presidents

1. The assembly shall elect the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches; the number of presidents elected shall, however, not exceed eight; the role of the presidents being to promote ecumenism and to interpret the work of the World Council of Churches, especially in their respective regions.

2. The term of office of a president shall end at the end of the next assembly following his or her election.

3. A president who has been elected by the assembly shall be ineligible for election for a second consecutive term of office.

4. The presidents should be persons whose ecumenical experience and standing is widely recognized among the ecumenical partners of the World Council in their respective regions.

5. The presidents shall be ex officio members of the central committee.

6. Should a vacancy occur in the presidium between assemblies, the central committee may elect a president to fill the unexpired term.

VI. Central committee

1. Membership

a) The central committee shall consist of the president or presidents of the World Council of Churches together with not more than 150 members elected by the assembly (see constitution, article V.2.b).

b) Any member church, not already represented, may send one representative to the meetings of the central committee. Such a representative shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

c) If a regularly elected member of the central committee is unable to attend a meeting, the church to which the absent member belongs shall have the right to send a substitute, provided that the substitute is ordinarily resident in the country where the absent member resides. Such a substitute shall have the right to speak and to participate in decision-making. If a member, or his or her substitute, is absent without excuse for two consecutive meetings, the position shall be declared vacant, and the central committee shall fill the vacancy according to the provisions of article V.2.b.3 of the constitution.

d) Moderators and vice-moderators of committees, commissions and boards who are not members of the central committee may attend meetings of the central committee and shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

e) Advisers for the central committee may be appointed by the executive committee after consultation with the churches of which they are members. They shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

f) Members of the staff of the World Council appointed by the central committee as specified under rule XII.3. shall have the right to attend the sessions of the central committee unless on any occasion the central committee shall otherwise determine. When present they shall have the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making.

g) The newly elected central committee shall be convened by the general secretary during or immediately after the meeting of the assembly.

2. Officers

a) The central committee shall elect from among its members a moderator and a vice-moderator or vice-moderators to serve for such periods as it shall determine.

b) The general secretary of the World Council of Churches shall be ex officio secretary of the central committee.

3. Meetings

a) The central committee shall ordinarily meet once every year. The executive committee may call an extraordinary meeting of the central committee whenever it deems such a meeting desirable and shall do so upon the request in writing of one-third or more of the members of the central committee.

b) The general secretary shall take all possible steps to ensure that there be adequate representation present from each of the main confessions and from the main geographical areas of the membership of the World Council of Churches and of the major interests of the World Council.

c) The central committee shall determine the date and place of its own meetings and of the meetings of the assembly.

4. Functions

In exercising the powers set forth in the constitution the central committee shall have the following specific functions:

a) In the conduct of its business, the central committee shall elect the following committees:

nominations committee;

executive committee;

permanent committee on consensus and collaboration;

programme committee (a standing committee);

finance committee (a standing committee);

reference committee or committees (appointed as needed at each meeting to advise the central committee on any other questions arising which call for special consideration or action by the central committee).

b) It shall adopt the budget of the Council.

c) It shall deal with matters referred to it by member churches

d) It shall determine the policies to be followed in the work of the World Council of Churches, including the task to initiate and terminate programmes and activities. It shall provide for the organizational structure to carry out the work mentioned herein before and to this end, amongst others, shall elect commissions and boards.

e) It shall report to the assembly the actions it has taken during its period of office and shall not be discharged until its report has been received.

VII. Nominations committee of the central committee

1. In its first meeting during or immediately after the assembly, the central committee shall elect a nominations committee which shall:

a) nominate persons from among the members of the central committee for the offices of moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee;

b) nominate members of the executive committee of the central committee;

c) nominate a person for the office of president to fill the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the presidium between assemblies;

d) nominate members of committees, commissions and boards and where appropriate their moderators;

e) make recommendations regarding the election of persons proposed for staff positions under rule XII.3.

In making nominations as provided for by (a) and (b) to (d) above, the nominations committee shall have regard to principles set out in rule IV.4.c and, in applying principles (2), (3) and (4) to the nomination of members of committees, commissions and boards, shall consider the representative character of the combined membership of all such committees. Any member of the central committee may make additional nominations, provided that each such nominee shall be proposed in opposition to a particular nominee of the nominations committee.

2. In between meetings of the central committee, the executive committee shall act as the nominations committee of the central committee.

3. Election shall be by ballot unless the committee shall otherwise determine.

VIII. Executive committee

1. Membership

a) The executive committee shall consist of the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee, the moderators of programme and finance committees of the central committee and 20 other members of the central committee.

b) If a member of the executive committee is unable to attend, he/she has the right - provided that the moderator agrees - to send a member of the central committee as a substitute. Such a substitute shall - as far as possible - be of the same region and church family, and shall have the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making.

c) The moderator of the central committee shall also be the moderator of the executive committee.

d) The general secretary of the World Council of Churches shall be ex officio the secretary of the executive committee.

e) The officers may invite other persons to attend a meeting of the executive committee for consultation, always having in mind the need for preserving a due balance of the confessions and of the geographical areas and cultural backgrounds, and of the major interests of the World Council.

2. Functions

a) The executive committee shall be accountable to the central committee, and shall present to the central committee at its next meeting a report of its work for approval. The central committee shall consider such a report and take such action in regard to it as it thinks fit.

b) The executive committee shall be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the ongoing programmes and activities of the World Council of Churches including the task of determining the allocation of resources. The executive committee's power to make public statements is limited and defined in rule XIII.5.

c) The central committee may by specific action provide for the election of staff to those positions specified in rule XII.3.a by the executive committee which should report these actions to the next meeting of the central committee.

d) The executive committee shall supervise the operation of the budget and may, if necessary, impose limitations on expenditures.

3. Elections

a) The central committee shall elect an executive committee at its first meeting during or immediately after the assembly.

b) Vacancies on the executive committee shall be filled by the next meeting of the central committee.

IX Permanent committee on consensus and collaboration

1. At its first full meeting after an assembly, the central committee shall elect from among its members the membership of the permanent committee on consensus and collaboration (the "permanent committee"), consisting of fourteen members, of whom half shall be Orthodox.

2. The Orthodox members of the nominations committee of the central committee, in consultation with all Orthodox members of the central committee, shall nominate the seven Orthodox members, and the other members of the nominations committee of the central committee shall nominate the remaining seven. The central committee as a whole shall elect the permanent committee. For election of the permanent committee, the provisions of rule VII.1. shall not apply: no counter nominations shall be accepted from the floor.

3. Of the overall membership at least half shall be members of the WCC executive committee. Proxies may substitute for absent members. Advisers may be invited from member churches. Observers may be invited from non-member churches, or on occasion from churches in association with the WCC.

4. Two co-moderators shall be elected by the membership of the permanent committee, one by the Orthodox members of the central committee, and one by the other members of the central committee.

5. The term of the members of the outgoing permanent committee shall conclude upon election of replacement members following an assembly. The permanent committee shall be considered a committee of the assembly and shall advise the business committee of the assembly.

6. The permanent committee will have responsibility for:

a) continuing the authority, mandate, concerns and dynamic of the Special Commission (mandated by the eighth assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 1998);

b) giving advice and making recommendations to governing bodies of the WCC during and between assemblies in order to contribute to the formation of consensus on matters proposed for the agenda of the WCC;

c) facilitating improved participation of the Orthodox in the entire life and work of the Council;

d) offering counsel and providing opportunity for action in matters of common interest;

e) giving attention to matters of ecclesiology.

7. The permanent committee will report to the central committee and to the executive committee.

X. Programme committee

1. The programme committee shall consist of up to 40 members including:

a) a moderator who shall be a member of the executive committee;

b) not more than 30 central committee members of whom 2 shall also be members of the executive committee;

c) the moderators of all commissions, boards and advisory groups that relate directly to the programme committee.

2. The programme committee shall normally meet in conjunction with the central committee and shall be required to report to it regularly.

3) Within the guidelines established by the assembly, the programme committee shall have the responsibility to make recommendations to the central committee on all matters regarding the programmes and activities of the World Council of Churches.

In particular, it shall:

a) ensure that the development of programmes takes account of the major thrusts and policies adopted by the central committee as well as of the available financial resources;

b) consider in particular the theological inter-relationship of different World Council activities;

c) recommend to the central committee to initiate and terminate programmes and activities, as well as to make decisions on other basic questions of policy;

d) provide for and make recommendations for regular evaluation of programmes and activities;

e) recommend to the central committee the mandate and size of the commissions which are to advise the central committee through the programme committee in areas of constitutional responsibility of the Council;

f) recommend to the central committee the mandate and size of boards, in particular the board of the Ecumenical Institute;

g) appoint other advisory groups for specific areas or constituencies, as required. The size and periodicity of meetings of such advisory groups are to be determined in light of the tasks assigned and the resources available.

XI. Finance committee of the central committee

1. The finance committee of the central committee shall consist of not less than nine members, including:

a) a moderator, who shall be a member of the executive committee;

b) five members, who shall be members of the central committee, two of whom shall also be members of the executive committee;

c) three members, to be designated by the programme committee from its membership. The programme committee may designate alternates who may attend if the principal member is unable to be present.

2. The committee shall have the following responsibilities and duties:

a) To present to the central committee:

in respect of the expired calendar year, an account of income and expenditure of all operations of the World Council of Churches and the balance sheet of the World Council of Churches at the end of that year and its recommendation, based on review of the report of the auditors, regarding approval and granting of discharge in respect of the accounts of the World Council of Churches for the completed period;

in respect of the current year, a review of all financial operations;

in respect of the succeeding calendar year, a budget covering all activities of the World Council of Churches and its recommendations regarding the approval of that budget in the light of its judgment as to the adequacy of the provisions made for the expenditure involved in the proposed programme of activities and the adequacy of reasonably foreseeable income to finance the budget; and

in respect of the year next following the succeeding calendar year a financial forecast together with recommendations thereon as in (3) above.

b) To consider and make recommendations to the central committee on all financial questions concerning the affairs of the World Council of Churches, such as:

the appointment of the auditor or auditors who shall be appointed annually by the central committee and shall be eligible for reappointment;

accounting procedures;

investment policy and procedures;

the basis of calculation of contributions from member churches;

procedures and methods of raising funds.

XII. Staff

1. The central committee shall elect or appoint or provide for the election or appointment of persons of special competence to conduct the continuing operations of the World Council of Churches. These persons collectively constitute the staff.

2. The general secretary shall be elected by the central committee. He or she is the chief executive officer of the World Council. As such, he or she is the head of the staff. When the position of general secretary becomes vacant, the executive committee shall appoint an acting general secretary.

3. a) In addition to the general secretary, the central committee shall itself elect one or more deputy general secretaries, the directors for programme and management, and any other executive director.
b) The executive committee shall appoint all programme staff and shall report its actions to the central committee. Specialized, administrative and house staff shall be appointed by the general secretary.

4. The staff leadership group shall consist of the general secretary (moderator), the deputy general secretary or secretaries, the executive secretary in the general secretariat (secretary), and the executive directors. Other staff may be invited for specific items on the agenda

The staff leadership group is the chief internal management team. Its overall responsibility is to advise the general secretary in his/her role as chief executive officer of the Council. It has the task of ensuring that all activities of the Council are carried out in an integrated and cohesive manner. For this purpose it will:

a) Implement policies and priorities established by the central and executive committees and facilitate proposals to be submitted to them.

b) Provide for overall coordination, decide on priorities and the direction of the Council's activities.

c) Manage and allocate human and financial resources, propose the budget to the finance committees of the executive and central committees and ensure that programme planning is integrated with anticipated resources available.

d) Assist the general secretary in the appointment of staff and special reference groups.

5. There shall be a staff executive group. Its membership shall include ex-officio the members of the staff leadership group, the programme team coordinators, the director of Bossey and the management services managers. It shall meet regularly (normally twice a month); it shall be moderated by a member of the staff leadership group on a rotating basis.

The staff executive group shall advise the general secretary and the staff leadership group. Its purpose is to:

a) advise on matters of long-range planning, monitoring and evaluation of activities;

b) consider the preparation of the budget;

c) assure regular sharing of information and provide for discussion and interpretation of policies and issues affecting the Council as a whole;

d) facilitate the coordination of the activities of the teams;

e) appoint ad-hoc or permanent functional staff groups to advise on specific areas of concern;

f) promote a spirit and style of work to strengthen and promote integration, cooperation and collegiality.

6. The normal terms of appointment for the general secretary and for the deputy general secretary or secretaries shall be five years. Unless some other period is stated in the resolution making the appointment, the first term of office for all other staff appointed by the executive or central committee shall normally be four years from the date of the appointment. All appointments shall be reviewed one year before their expiration.

7. Retirement shall normally be at sixty-five for both men and women and in no case shall it be later than the end of the year in which a staff member reaches the age of sixty-eight.

XIII. Public statements

1. In the performance of its functions, the World Council of Churches through its assembly or through its central committee may issue statements on any situation or concern with which the Council or its constituent churches may be confronted.

2. While such statements may have great significance and influence as the expression of the judgment or concern of so widely representative a Christian body, yet their authority will consist only in the weight which they carry by their own truth and wisdom, and the publishing of such statements shall not be held to imply that the World Council as such has, or can have, any constitutional authority over the constituent churches or right to speak for them.

3. Any commission may recommend statements to the assembly or to the central committee for its consideration and action.

4. When, in the judgment of a commission, a statement should be issued before approval of the assembly or central committee can be obtained, the commission may do so provided the statement relates to matters within its own field of concern and action, has the approval of the moderator of the central committee and the general secretary, and the commission makes clear that neither the World Council of Churches nor any of its member churches is committed by the statement.

5. Between meetings of the central committee, when in their judgment the situation requires, a statement may be issued, provided that such statements are not contrary to the established policy of the Council, by:

a) the executive committee when meeting apart from the sessions of the central committee; or

b) the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee and the general secretary acting together; or

c) the moderator of the central committee or the general secretary on his or her own authority respectively.

XIV. Associate councils

1. Any national Christian council, national council of churches or national ecumenical council, established for purposes of ecumenical fellowship and activity, may be recognized by the central committee as an associate council, provided:

a) the applicant council, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its desire to cooperate with the World Council towards the achievement of one or more of the functions and purposes of this Council; and

b) the member churches of the World Council in the area have been consulted prior to the action.

2. Each associate council:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly;

b) may, at the discretion of the central committee, be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council shall inform each associate council regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its country.

4. In consultation with the associate councils, the central committee shall establish and review from time to time guidelines regarding the relationships between the World Council of Churches and national councils of churches.

XV. Regional ecumenical organizations

1. The World Council of Churches recognizes regional ecumenical organizations as essential partners in the ecumenical enterprise.

2. Such regional ecumenical organizations as may be designated by the central committee:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly;

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council shall inform each of these regional ecumenical organizations regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its region.

4. The central committee, together with the regional ecumenical organizations, shall establish and review as appropriate guiding principles for relationships and cooperation between the World Council and regional ecumenical organizations, including the means whereby programmatic responsibilities could be shared among them.

XVI. Christian world communions

1. The World Council of Churches recognizes the role of Christian world communions or world confessional bodies in the ecumenical movement.

2. Such Christian world communions as may be designated by the central committee and which express their desire to this effect:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly; and

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all World Council member churches.

3. The central committee shall establish and review as appropriate guidelines for relationships and cooperation with Christian world communions.

XVII. Specialized ministries engaged in ecumenical relief and development

1. Specialized ministries engaged in ecumenical relief and development are those church-based, church-related or ecumenical offices and organizations within the family of WCC member churches, serving the ecumenical movement particularly in the area of world service and development.

Any specialized ministry, committed to ecumenical diaconal services, may be recognized by the central committee as an organization with which the World Council of Churches has working relationships, provided:

a) the organization, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its willingness to relate to and cooperate with it; and

b) the WCC member church or churches with whom the specialized ministry is related do not formally oppose this form of relationship.

2. Each specialized ministry:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly (cf. rule IV.1.b.5);

b) shall be invited to send an adviser to meetings of the central committee; and

c) shall be provided with copies of all general communications sent to all member churches of the World Council of Churches.

3. In addition to communicating directly with its member churches, the World Council may inform each of these specialized ministries regarding important ecumenical developments and consult it regarding proposed World Council programmes in its area of commitment and expertise.

4. In consultation with specialized ministries, the central committee shall establish and review from time to time guidelines regarding the relationships between the World Council of Churches and specialized ministries.

XVIII. International ecumenical organizations

1. Ecumenical organizations other than those mentioned under rules XIV, XV, XVI and XVII may be recognized by the central committee as organizations with which the World Council of Churches has working relationships, provided:

a) the organization is international in nature (global, regional or sub-regional) and its objectives are consistent with the functions and purposes of the World Council; and

b) the organization, knowing the basis upon which the World Council of Churches is founded, expresses its desire to relate to and cooperate with it.

2. On the basis of reciprocity, each international ecumenical organization:

a) shall be invited to send a delegated representative to the assembly (cf. rule IV.1.b.5);

b) shall be provided with copies of general communications sent to all World Council member churches.

XIX. Legal provisions

1. The duration of the World Council of Churches is unlimited.

2. The legal headquarters of the Council shall be at Grand-Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland. It is registered in Geneva as an association according to art. 60ff. of the Swiss civil code. Regional offices may be organized in different parts of the world by decision of the central committee.

3. The World Council of Churches is legally represented by its executive committee or by such persons as may be empowered by the executive committee to represent it.

4. The World Council shall be legally bound by the joint signatures of two of the following persons: the moderator and vice-moderator or vice-moderators of the central committee, the general secretary, the deputy general secretary or secretaries. Any two of the above-named persons shall have power to authorize other persons, chosen by them, to act jointly or singly on behalf of the World Council of Churches in fields circumscribed in the power of attorney.

5. The Council shall obtain the means necessary for the pursuance of its work from the contributions of its member churches and from donations or bequests.

6. The Council shall not pursue commercial functions but it shall have the right to act as an agency of interchurch aid and to publish literature in connection with its aims. It is not entitled to distribute any surplus income by way of profit or bonus among its members.

7. Members of the governing bodies of the Council or of the assembly shall have no personal liability with regard to the obligations or commitments of the Council. The commitments entered upon by the Council are guaranteed solely by its own assets.
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XX. Conduct of meetings

1. General

a) These provisions for conduct of meetings shall apply to meetings of the assembly, the central committee, the executive committee and all other bodies of the WCC. During an assembly, the titles "president, moderator and vice-moderators of the central committee" shall refer to the persons holding those offices in the outgoing central committee. During the term of a central committee such titles shall refer to the current presidents and officers of that central

b) "Delegate" shall mean an official representative of a member church to an assembly with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making (rule IV.1.a). For meetings of the central committee, "delegate" shall mean a member of the central committee or that member's substitute (rule VI.1.c), with the right to speak and the responsibility to participate in decision-making.

c) "Participant" shall include delegates as well as persons invited to the assembly or a meeting of the central committee as persons with the right to speak but not to participate in decision-making (rule IV.1.b).

2. Categories of sessions

The assembly shall sit in one of the following categories of sessions: general, hearing or decision. The business committee shall determine the category of session appropriate for different parts of the agenda.

a) General session

General sessions shall be reserved for ceremonial occasions, public acts of witness and formal addresses. Only matters proposed by the central committee or by the business committee shall be included in general sessions. No decisions shall be made during general sessions.

b) Hearing session

Hearing sessions shall be designated for plenary presentations, discussion, dialogue, and exchange of ideas as a resource for developing understanding, deepening fellowship among member churches and coming to a common mind on matters on the agenda. A wide range of perspectives shall be encouraged during hearing sessions. No decisions shall be made during hearing sessions, other than to move to a decision session, if deemed necessary or to deal with a point of order or procedural proposals.

c) Decision session

Decision sessions shall be designated for matters requiring a decision, including:

adoption of the agenda;

proposal for change in the agenda;

appointments and elections;

reception or adoption of reports or recommendations;

actions to be taken on recommendations or proposals of committees or commissions, or arising out of hearing sessions;

adoption of accounts and financial audits; and

amendment of constitution or rules.

3. Moderating sessions

a) A moderator for each session of the assembly shall be designated before an assembly by the outgoing central committee, and during an assembly by the business committee, as follows:

in general sessions one of the presidents or the moderator of the central committee shall preside;

in hearing sessions one of the presidents, the moderator or a vice-moderator of the central committee, or a delegate with specific expertise in the subject matter of the hearing shall preside;

in decision sessions the moderator or a vice-moderator of the central committee or delegate to the assembly who was a member of the outgoing central committee shall preside.

b) The role of session moderators shall be:

to convene the session, including announcing the category of session;

to facilitate and encourage discussion and dialogue, for the exchange and development of ideas, and to assist the meeting to come to a common mind;

during decision sessions, to test any emerging agreement on a particular point and whether the meeting is ready to move to a decision by consensus;

in the event the category of session is to change during a session, to announce the change in category, providing a break in the session to mark the change in category; and

to close the session.

c) The moderator shall consult with the recorder for the session to ensure that the developing consensus is accurately noted and any changed wording promptly made available to the meeting.

d) All moderators shall undertake specific training in conducting meetings based upon the consensus model of decision-making, as described in these rules and the accompanying guidelines.

4. Moderator of the assembly

The moderator of the assembly shall announce the opening, suspension and the adjournment of the assembly.

5. Official minutes, records and reports

a) The business committee shall appoint recorders from among delegates for each decision session. Their role shall be to follow the discussion of a decision session, to record the language of the emerging consensus, including final language of decisions taken, and to assist the moderator of the session in discerning an emerging consensus. Recorders shall also assist the moderator in ensuring that the final agreed wording of a proposal is translated and available to delegates before a decision is made.

b) The business committee shall appoint rapporteurs for each hearing session and for committee meetings for which official minutes are not maintained, to prepare a report of the meeting including major themes and specific proposals. A rapporteur appointed for a committee meeting shall function as a recorder of that meeting.

c) The business committee shall appoint minute-takers to record the official minutes of general, hearing and decision sessions of an assembly or any meeting for which formal minutes must be kept, and shall include a record of the discussion, motions and decisions. The minutes will normally incorporate by reference any report of the meeting. The minutes shall be signed by the moderator and the minute-taker for the session and shall be sent to the participants of the meeting. For all minutes other than minutes of an assembly, if there is no objection within six months from the sending of the minutes, the minutes shall be considered to be accepted. The first full central committee meeting following an assembly shall confirm the minutes of the assembly.

d) Decision sessions shall produce official minutes, a record and/or report.

e) If, after the close of a meeting, a member church declares that it cannot support a decision of the meeting, the member church may submit its objection in writing and have its position recorded in the minutes or report of a subsequent meeting. The decision itself shall not be rescinded by this action.

6. Agenda

a) Matters may be included on the agenda of a meeting according to rule IV.3 and procedures established by the business and programme committees, and any other committee established by central committee for that purpose. Normally, matters included on an agenda will be based upon reports, recommendations or proposals that previously have been fully considered and have the consensus support of the proposing group or committee.

b) The business committee shall ensure that the moderator is advised before each session, and if appropriate during breaks within a session, as to the conduct of the business and the priority of various agenda items.

c) A delegate may propose to the business committee an item of business to be included on, or any change in, the agenda. If after consideration the business committee has not agreed to the proposal, the delegate may appeal the decision to the moderator of the assembly in writing. The moderator shall at a convenient time inform the assembly of the proposal, and a member of the business committee shall explain the reasons for this refusal. The delegate may give reasons for proposing it. The moderator shall then without further debate put the following question: Shall the assembly accept this proposal? If the assembly agrees to accept the proposal, the business committee as soon as possible shall bring proposals for the inclusion of the matter or the change in the agenda.

d) Matters concerning ecclesiological self-understanding: Where a matter being raised is considered by a delegate to go against the ecclesiological self-understanding of his or her church, the delegate may request that it not be submitted for decision. The moderator shall seek the advice of the business committee in consultation with this delegate and other members of the same church or confession present at the session. If agreed that the matter does in fact go against the ecclesiological self-understanding of the delegate's church, the moderator shall announce that the matter will be removed from the agenda of the decision session and may be considered in a hearing session. The materials and minutes of the discussion shall be sent to the member churches for their study and comment.

e) Subject to the provisions of this rule, the agenda shall be proposed, amended and/or adopted in accordance with rule IV.3. and IV.5.

7. Speaking

a) In hearing sessions, participants wishing to speak either may submit to the moderator a written request or may queue at the microphones when the moderator so invites, but may speak only when called by the moderator.

b) In decision sessions of the assembly or central committee, only delegates may speak. Delegates wishing to speak either may submit to the moderator a written request or may queue at the microphones when the moderator so invites, but may speak only when called by the moderator.

c) In sessions of committees and advisory bodies where both hearing and decision may take place, participants who are not delegates have the right to speak but not to take part in decision-making.

d) The moderator shall decide who shall speak, ensuring that a fair distribution of opinions is heard, and may take advice on the order of speakers from a small sub-committee of the business committee. If time allows and others are not left unheard, the moderator may permit speakers to intervene more than once.

e) When called by the moderator, a speaker shall speak from a microphone, first stating his or her name, church, country, and role at the meeting, and shall address all remarks to the moderator.

f) Remarks will normally be limited to three minutes; however, the moderator may use discretion in allowing extra time if there is a difficulty in language or interpretation or if the issues being discussed are unusually complex.

g) Procedural proposals - hearing or decision sessions: Provided that a speaker is not interrupted, a delegate may ask for clarification of the pending matter or may raise suggestions about procedure. The moderator immediately shall provide clarification or respond to the suggestion for change of procedure.

h) Points of order - hearing or decision sessions: This provision is available to question whether procedures being followed are in accordance with these rules, to object to offensive language, to make a point of personal explanation, or to request that a meeting move to closed session. Points of order may be raised by a participant at any time, even by interrupting another speaker. A participant gains the attention of the moderator by standing and calling, "point of order!" The moderator shall ask the participant to state the point of order and then (without discussion) shall rule on it immediately.

i) If any delegate disagrees with the moderator's decision on a procedural proposal or point of order, the delegate may appeal against it. In this case the moderator will put this question, without discussion, to the meeting: "Does the meeting concur with the decision of the moderator?" The delegates present shall decide the question according to the decision-making procedures then being employed.

8. Reaching consensus: seeking the common mind of the meeting

a) Consensus shall be understood as seeking the common mind of the meeting without resort to a formal vote, in a process of genuine dialogue that is respectful, mutually supportive

b) Decisions will normally be by consensus, unless otherwise specified by the rules.

c) A consensus decision on a particular matter shall be recorded when one of the following occurs:

all delegates are in agreement (unanimity); or

most are in agreement and those who disagree are satisfied that the discussion has been both full and fair and do not object that the proposal expresses the general mind of the meeting.

d) A consensus decision shall mean that there is agreement about the outcome of a discussion. This may mean agreement to accept a proposal or a variation of a proposal; it also may mean agreement about another outcome, including agreement to reject a proposal, to postpone a matter, that no decision can be reached, or that there are various opinions that may be held. When consensus has been reached that various opinions can be held concerning a matter, those various opinions shall be recorded in the final wording of the minutes and the report and the record of the meeting.

9. Decision-making by consensus

a) A proposal or recommendation considered in a decision session may be affirmed, modified or rejected. Delegates may suggest modifications, and the moderator may allow discussion on more than one modification at a time. Reaching a common mind may require a series of steps, if there is a variety of opinions being expressed. As discussion proceeds, the moderator may ask the meeting to affirm what is held in common before encouraging discussion on those aspects of a proposal about which more diverse opinions have been voiced.

b)To assist the moderator in discerning the mind of the meeting and to move efficiently towards consensus, the recorder of the session shall maintain a record of the discussion. Delegates may be provided with indicator cards to facilitate participation.

c) A delegate or the moderator may suggest that the matter under discussion be referred for further work to an appropriate group holding a range of points of view. This suggestion itself shall be tested to discern the mind of the meeting. If agreed, the business committee shall schedule consideration of the matter for a later session.

d) When it seems that the meeting is close to agreement on an outcome, the moderator shall ensure that the wording of the proposal (or the proposal as varied during the course of the discussion) is clear to all delegates, and then test whether there is consensus on that outcome. If all are agreed consistent with rule XX.8.c.1, the moderator shall declare that consensus has been reached and the decision made. If the meeting is not unanimous, the moderator shall invite those who hold a minority view to explain their reasons if they wish and to indicate whether they can agree with a decision pursuant to rule XX.8.c.2. If so, consensus shall be declared.

e) If, after every effort has been made to reach consensus, agreement cannot be reached and it is the opinion of an officer or the business committee that a decision must be made before the meeting concludes, the moderator shall ask the business committee to formulate a proposal for how the matter may be considered again in a new form. At the later decision session where this new approach is considered, the meeting itself shall decide whether a decision must be made at this meeting, and, if so, shall proceed on any one of the following courses, which may be followed sequentially:

to work further towards consensus on the proposal in its new form;

to work to reach agreement among most delegates with some delegates recording an objection, in which event a meeting shall record acceptance of the proposal, providing that each delegate who does not agree is satisfied with that outcome and has the right to have his or her viewpoint recorded in the minutes, in the report, and in the record of the meeting; or

to move into voting procedures to decide the matter (rule XX.10).

f) When a meeting discusses by consensus procedures a matter for which decision must be reached at that meeting and there is no ready agreement in accordance with rule XX.9.e.1 or 2, the moderator may offer a procedural proposal: "That the meeting resolve the proposal now by vote". Except for matters described in rule XX.6.d, "matters concerning ecclesiological self-understanding", the moderator shall announce that a vote to decide this change of procedure shall be taken. Delegates shall indicate by voting whether they agree that the matter shall be decided by a vote. If 85 percent of delegates present vote in favour of moving the matter to a voting process, the matter shall so move. If fewer than 85 percent of delegates present vote in favour of moving the matter to a voting process, the matter shall not so move, and the meeting shall decide, again by vote of 85 percent of delegates present, whether discussion should continue to achieve consensus or whether discussion should be discontinued.

10. Decision-making by vote

a) Some matters require decision by vote, rather than by consensus. These include:

constitutional changes (two-thirds majority);

elections (simple majority, with specific procedures in each case);

adoption of yearly accounts and of the financial audit report (simple majority).

b) For matters that have been moved from consensus procedures to decision-making by vote in accordance with rule XX.9.e.3 or rule XX.9.f, and for matters reserved to a voting procedure according to subsection (a) of this section, the following procedures shall be followed:

All motions must be moved and seconded by a delegate, and the mover has the right to speak first.

In discussion following the seconding of a motion, no delegate may speak more than once, except that the delegate who moved the motion may answer objections at the end of the discussion.

Any delegate may move an amendment, and if a seconder supports it, the amendment shall be considered simultaneously with the original proposal.

When discussion is concluded, including the right of mover to reply (see 2 above), the moderator shall call for the vote and shall put any amendment first. If approved, it will be incorporated in the original proposal, which will then be put to the vote without further discussion.

If the mover seeks to withdraw a motion or amendment during the discussion, the moderator will seek the consent of the meeting for the withdrawal.

c) A delegate may move to close the discussion, but in doing so shall not interrupt a speaker. If seconded, the moderator shall call for a vote on this motion immediately without discussion. If two-thirds of the meeting agree, the voting process will then begin. If the motion fails, discussion will proceed, but the same motion to close discussion may be moved again as the discussion continues, but not by the delegate who moved it the first time.

d) Voting shall be by show of hands or indicator cards and the moderator shall ask first for those in favour, then for those against, and finally for those who wish to abstain from voting. The moderator shall announce the result of the vote immediately.

e) If the moderator is in doubt, or for any other reason decides to do so, or if a delegate requests it, a vote on the matter shall be taken immediately by count of a show of hands or indicator cards. The moderator may call tellers to count those voting and abstaining. A delegate may ask that voting be by secret written ballot, and if seconded and if a majority of delegates present and voting agree, a secret written ballot shall be taken. The moderator shall announce the result of any count or secret written ballot.

f) A majority of the delegates present, including those who choose to abstain from voting, shall determine a matter being decided by vote unless a higher proportion is required by the constitution or these rules. If the vote results in a tie, the matter shall be regarded as defeated.

g) If the moderator wishes to participate in the discussion, he or she shall relinquish the position of moderator of the session to another presiding officer until the matter has been resolved.

h) A moderator entitled to vote as a delegate may do so, but may not cast the decisive vote in the event of a tie.

i) Any two delegates who voted with the majority for a previously approved matter may request that the business committee propose reconsideration of the matter. The business committee shall bring the proposal to the next decision session and may express an opinion as to whether the matter should be reconsidered. Reconsideration shall take place only if two-thirds of delegates present agree.

j) Anyone voting with a minority or abstaining from voting may have his or her opinion recorded in the minutes, in the report, and/or the record of the meeting.

11. Languages

The working languages in use in the World Council of Churches are English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. The general secretary shall make reasonable effort to provide interpretation for any one of those languages into the others and shall endeavour to provide written translation of the specific wording of proposals. A participant may speak in another language only if he or she provides for interpretation into one of the working languages. The general secretary shall provide all possible assistance to any participant requiring an interpreter.

XXI. Amendments

Amendments to these rules may be proposed at any session of the assembly or at any session of the central committee by any member and may be decided according to consensus or voting procedures. If decided according to voting procedures, then any proposed change must receive a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present to be adopted. No alteration in rules I, VI and XXI shall come into effect until it has been confirmed by the assembly. Notice of a proposal to make any amendment shall be given in writing at least twenty-four hours before the session of the assembly or central committee at which it is to be considered.

1 Including changes in the rules adopted at the central committee meeting in February 2005 (cf. Minutes of the Fifty-Fourth meeting of the central committee). Please note that numbering of the CC Minutes followed the sequence of the former version of the rules. The present document follows a different numbering because of the addition of new rules.

2 When adopting the new rule on membership, the central committee of the WCC (Geneva, February 2005), made it clear that churches which are already members are an exception to this rule.

***

Report of the Finance Committee

Report of the Finance Committee (as adopted)
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Finance Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

1. Financial stewardship and management issues: From Harare to Porto Alegre

The accomplishment of WCC's work during the seven year period depended on the generous contributions by member churches, specialized ministries, congregations and individuals, contributions whether great or small, whether in money terms or by other means. To all who have contributed, the assembly finance committee (AFC) expresses its profound gratitude.

Since 1999, total income of WCC has decreased by 30%, from CHF 61 million to a budget of CHF 41 million in 2006. Membership income has remained stable; the income category which decreased most significantly was income channelled through the WCC to ecumenical partners. A framework budget for 2007 estimates CHF 39 million available income.

During the period 1999 to 2005, the funds and reserves of WCC also decreased by almost CHF 20 million, or 30%. There were at least three factors which caused this. Firstly, following investment gains of CHF 7 million in 1999, investment losses of CHF 6 million were incurred in total from 2000 to 2002. Secondly, in 2000 and 2001 operating deficit budgets were approved and subsequently realized as such. Finally, with CHF 23 million programme fund balances accumulated by 2000, it was necessary that programme funds be used for the purposes for which they were intended.

In response to the decrease in funds and reserves, a new programme structure with activity-based costing was implemented in 2002, and there was a reduction in staff. Central committee's policy statements of 2003 defining and clarifying funds and reserves categories and reducing investment risk, together with its firm targets for the rebuilding of general reserves then helped to produce breakeven results from 2003 to 2005.

The actions taken fulfilled important recommendations from the AFC report from Harare which identified the need to establish funds and reserves policies, and to work to improve financial planning.

In 2006, programme funds are estimated to close at CHF 4 million in contrast with the position of CHF 23 million seven years ago. The overall mandate to use accumulated programme funds has been accomplished and therefore the practice of relying on funds to cover current year expenses is at an end. Reinforced planning and accurate budgeting will be essential skills for effective programme management in the forthcoming period.

The AFC thoroughly concurs with the recommendations of central committee that WCC do less, and do it well. In keeping with the work on the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement, the WCC is encouraged to sharpen its focus and to communicate its unique role and responsibilities as a global fellowship of churches.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that:

• the new central committee continue to set realistic and responsible annual budgets, reviewing annually the required level of the general reserves, and the long-term capital expenditure and treasury plans. In addition, programme and project plans including clearly documented three-year and one-year objectives and expected outcomes should be submitted for approval as part of three-year rolling plans;

• the focus on the unique role played by WCC, and the manner in which each of the programmes proposed fulfils aspects of that role, be clearly stated in the plan for 2007 to 2009 which will be presented to central committee in September 2006;

• to meet this target, an action plan be developed by the staff leadership group immediately following the assembly. Elements of the plan will include the programme priorities identified; consideration of the staffing required for each of these plans; responsible conclusion of certain project work in 2006; and discussion with Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches of possible options for the transfer to and continuity of other programme projects within the church and ecumenical networks;

• In the light of the Pre-assembly evaluation, WCC implement a programme planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting process led by the staff leadership group, permeating the working culture and including the assignment of a professional co-ordinator, the development of database programme management tools and general staff training.

2. Membership income

Membership contributions of CHF 6.4 million make up only 13% of WCC total income in 2005. Membership income has remained stable, in itself an achievement given the financial difficulties faced by many churches since 1999. The membership campaign reports progress in the increased number of members contributing. At the end of 2005, 75% of member churches contributed, compared with 55% in 1999. Success in this area depends on the building of relationships and clear communication with churches.

The membership campaign target set in Harare of CHF 10 million has proven to be unrealistic in the time period specified. The assembly finance committee expresses its appreciation to the central committee for the implementation of the new membership calculation system, based on fairness and transparency. Under the new system, the target should be attainable in the longer-term.

The AFC affirms that all member churches should contribute at least the minimum fee of CHF 1,000, as a demonstration of their commitment to the fellowship.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that:

• efforts continue to increase the number of churches paying their membership fee;

• central committee amend the sanction for non-payment of membership contributions, such that a member church be declared non-active after three consecutive years of non-payment (instead of seven), during which no response has been made to WCC communications;

• the target of CHF 10 million be retained for the long-term, while a target of CHF 7 million should be set for the three-year period 2007 to 2009;

• assembly delegates encourage their churches to work towards attainment of the short-term and long-terms targets.

3. New work methods

During 2003 to present, WCC has continued to develop new work methods based on networking, including the establishment of two new subsidiaries in Lebanon and Fiji; the appointment in host organizations of staff whose positions are funded by WCC programmes; and the development of international ecumenical initiatives which operate through a structure of consultants under contract from WCC, placed with host organizations in Africa and Jerusalem. These initiatives also report both to international reference groups and to the programme teams in WCC, creating some uncertainties as to the responsibilities for management decisions. At the same time, there are no reporting lines to the management teams in Geneva.

While finance and administrative staff have been reduced in Geneva, services are now being required for new organizations-in-formation in the ecumenical centre.

The AFC recognizes that there are considerable advantages in working methods which leverage the resources in the ecumenical fellowship.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that:

• WCC perform cost-benefit analyses of using small, external structures to accomplish our work, taking into account the increased risks highlighted by WCC's auditors;

• policies be developed for both the recruitment and management of staff and of staff benefits in the external structures; and

• WCC increase the capacity and competence of programme leadership and the management team staff to manage the new work methods.

4. Staffing issues

WCC has also adopted the current market trend of offering temporary contracts to recruits, while almost automatically re-approving extension of contracts for long-serving executives. In 2005, over 32% of staff was over age 55, while only 11% was under 30.

Total salaried staff and consultants on longer-term contracts total 210 headcount, compared with 204 in 2002. If consultants are considered together with staff, a real increase in both headcount and full-time equivalents is reported. This trend is in contrast with guidelines issued by finance committee in 2001 to keep staff numbers at a steady level.

Staff and consultants' costs in relation to contributions rose from 40% in 1999 to 50% in 2002; after the programme readjustment, the ratio dropped to 46% in 2003. In 2006, the ratio is set to rise to about 57%. The finance committee recognizes WCC's evolution towards knowledge-based working structures, but considers that this ratio is relatively high.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that:

• WCC review its staff rules and regulations and personnel policies, covering in particular the following aspects:

renewal of contracts, including reaffirmation of the concept that programme executive staff contracts are not normally renewed more than once (at present, four years plus three years);

the encouragement of the recruitment of competent younger staff who may thus also have their role in the transformation of the organization;

the recruitment procedures be transparent and open to external applicants;

• Statistics on staff costs, headcount and full-time equivalents be reported regularly in a consistent manner, with written definitions of the staff and consultant categories concerned.

5. Income strategy

Programme contributions from churches and specialized ministries of CHF 31.3 million make up 65% of WCC total income in 2005. Twenty funding partners provide approximately 90% of the programme contributions. Of those twenty, five contribute almost 60%.

Although a certain stability was achieved between 2003 to 2005, there is an anticipated decrease of 4% in programme contributions in 2006. The approved budget framework for 2007 anticipates a further reduction of 6%.

Income strategy continues to work on maintaining relationships with the principal funding partners, efforts which reach an annual focal point at the WCC round table. In addition, staff is also developing strategies for fund-raising among the US constituents and focusing some initial effort on non-traditional funding sources.

The AFC affirms the importance of the continued work in building common understanding and trust with the funding partners.

6. Buildings

The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey has been entirely renovated during the last three to four years, including renovation of the student residence. The entire cost of the project was CHF 8.4 million, principally financed by long-term fixed interest mortgage loans. Increased income at the Institute has financed the interest expense, and loan repayments over the next five years have been scheduled in WCC's longer-term treasury plans, with the first payments met over the last two years.

Maintenance plans at the Ecumenical Centre have lagged behind. Action is now required to be taken to ensure satisfactory compliance with local building regulations.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that the central committee address both the funding for the deferred maintenance of the Ecumenical Centre and a further financial plan for improvements for maximizing both the use of the building and its income generation potential.

7. Audit Committee Mandate

The assembly finance committee received a draft audit committee mandate which had been prepared and submitted by the WCC audit committee. The assembly finance committee recognizes the contribution of the professional volunteers who have contributed to the audit committee's work over the last seven years.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly recommends that the finance committee at its first meeting review the audit committee mandate for adoption by the central committee and appointment of the new committee.

8. WCC Pension Fund

Further to the request of the Executive Committee, the assembly finance committee received a report on the current status of the WCC Pension Fund. The WCC Pension Fund had reported a slight lack of coverage of its obligations, and in accordance with Swiss law and further to the advice of actuaries, the Pension Fund Board have restructured the pension plan, introducing new regulations effective from 2006. While staff benefits earned up until 2005 are guaranteed, from 2006 staff retirement benefits are accrued at a reduced rate.

The AFC recognizes with thanks the work of the members of the Pension Fund Board, and agrees that the WCC should remain in solidarity with the Pension Fund Board, sharing communications where appropriate.

***

Report of the Finance Committee (revised)
22 February 2006

1. Financial stewardship and management issues: from Harare to Porto Alegre

The accomplishment of WCC's work during the seven year period depended on the generous contributions by member churches, specialized ministries, congregations and individuals, contributions whether great or small, whether in money terms or by other means. To all who have contributed, the assembly finance committee (AFC) expresses its profound gratitude.

Since 1999, total income of WCC has decreased by 30%, from CHF 61 million to a budget of CHF 41 million in 2006. Membership income has remained stable; the income category which decreased most significantly was income channelled through the WCC to ecumenical partners. A framework budget for 2007 estimates CHF 39 million available income.

During the period 1999 to 2005, the funds and reserves of WCC also decreased by almost CHF 20 million, or 30%. There were at least three factors which caused this. Firstly, following investment gains of CHF 7 million in 1999, investment losses of CHF 6 million were incurred in total from 2000 to 2002. Secondly, in 2000 and 2001 operating deficit budgets were approved and subsequently realized as such. Finally, with CHF 23 million programme fund balances accumulated by 2000, it was necessary that programme funds be used for the purposes for which they were intended.

In response to the decrease in funds and reserves, a new programme structure with activity-based costing was implemented in 2002, and there was a reduction in staff. Central committee's policy statements of 2003 defining and clarifying funds and reserves categories and reducing investment risk, together with its firm targets for the rebuilding of general reserves then helped to produce breakeven results from 2003 to 2005.

The actions taken fulfilled important recommendations from the AFC report from Harare which identified the need to establish funds and reserves policies, and to work to improve financial planning.

In 2006, programme funds are estimated to close at CHF 4 million in contrast with the position of CHF 23 million seven years ago. The overall mandate to use accumulated programme funds has been accomplished and therefore the practice of relying on funds to cover current year expenses is at an end. Reinforced planning and accurate budgeting will be essential skills for effective programme management in the forthcoming period.

The AFC thoroughly concurs with the recommendations of central committee that WCC do less, and do it well. In keeping with the work on the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement, the WCC is encouraged to sharpen its focus and to communicate its unique role and responsibilities as a global fellowship of churches.

The AFC recommends that:

• the new central committee continue to set realistic and responsible annual budgets, reviewing annually the required level of the general reserves, and the long-term capital expenditure and treasury plans. In addition, programme and project plans including clearly documented three-year and one-year objectives and expected outcomes should be submitted for approval as part of three-year rolling plans.

• the focus on the unique role played by WCC, and the manner in which each of the programmes proposed fulfills aspects of that role, be clearly stated in the plan for 2007 to 2009 which will be presented to central committee in September 2006;

• to meet this target, an action plan be developed by the staff leadership group immediately following the assembly. Elements of the plan will include the programme priorities identified; consideration of the staffing required for each of these plans; responsible conclusion of certain project work in 2006; and discussion with Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches of possible options for the transfer to and continuity of other programme projects within the church and ecumenical networks.

• in the light of the Pre-assembly evaluation, WCC implement a programme planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting process led by the staff leadership group, permeating the working culture and including the assignment of a professional co-ordinator, the development of database programme management tools and general staff training.

2. Membership income

Membership contributions of CHF 6.4 million make up only 13% of WCC total income in 2005. Membership income has remained stable, in itself an achievement given the financial difficulties faced by many churches since 1999. The membership campaign reports progress in the increased number of members contributing. At the end of 2005, 75% of member churches contributed, compared with 55% in 1999. Success in this area depends on the building of relationships and clear communication with churches.

The membership campaign target set in Harare of CHF 10 million has proven to be unrealistic in the time period specified. The assembly finance committee expresses its appreciation to the central committee for the implementation of the new membership calculation system, based on fairness and transparency. Under the new system, the target should be attainable in the longer-term.

The AFC affirms that all member churches should contribute at least the minimum fee of CHF 1,000, as a demonstration of their commitment to the fellowship.

The AFC recommends that:

• efforts continue to increase the number of churches paying their membership fee;

• central committee amend the sanction for non-payment of membership contributions, such that a member church be declared non-active after three consecutive years of non-payment (instead of seven), during which no response has been made to WCC communications;

• the target of CHF 10 million be retained for the long-term, while a target of CHF 7 million should be set for the three-year period 2007 to 2009;

• assembly delegates encourage their churches to work towards attainment of the short-term and long-terms targets.

3. New work methods

During 2003 to present, WCC has continued to develop new work methods based on networking, including the establishment of two new subsidiaries in Lebanon and Fiji; the appointment in host organizations of staff whose positions are funded by WCC programmes; and the development of international ecumenical initiatives which operate through a structure of consultants under contract from WCC, placed with host organizations in Africa and Jerusalem. These initiatives also report both to international reference groups and to the programme teams in WCC, creating some uncertainties as to the responsibilities for management decisions. At the same time, there are no reporting lines to the management teams in Geneva.

While finance and administrative staff have been reduced in Geneva, services are now being required for new organizations-in-formation in the ecumenical centre.

The AFC recognizes that there are considerable advantages in working methods which leverage the resources in the ecumenical fellowship.

The AFC recommends:

• that WCC perform cost-benefit analyses of using small, external structures to accomplish our work, taking into account the increased risks highlighted by WCC's auditors;

• that policies be developed for both the recruitment and management of staff and of staff benefits in the external structures; and

• that WCC increase the capacity and competence of programme leadership and the management team staff to manage the new work methods.

4. Staffing issues

WCC has also adopted the current market trend of offering temporary contracts to recruits, while almost automatically re-approving extension of contracts for long-serving executives. In 2005, over 32% of staff was over age 55, while only 11% was under 30.

Total salaried staff and consultants on longer-term contracts total 210 headcount, compared with 204 in 2002. If consultants are considered together with staff, a real increase in both headcount and full-time equivalents is reported. This trend is in contrast with guidelines issued by finance committee in 2001 to keep staff numbers at a steady level.

Staff and consultants' costs in relation to contributions rose from 40% in 1999 to 50% in 2002; after the programme readjustment, the ratio dropped to 46% in 2003. In 2006, the ratio is set to rise to about 57%. The finance committee recognizes WCC's evolution towards knowledge-based working structures, but considers that this ratio is relatively high.

The AFC recommends that:

• WCC review its staff rules and regulations and personnel policies, covering in particular the following aspects:

renewal of contracts, including reaffirmation of the concept that programme executive staff contracts are not normally renewed more than once (at present, four years plus three years);

the encouragement of the recruitment of competent younger staff who may thus also have their role in the transformation of the organization;

the recruitment procedures be transparent and open to external applicants;

• Statistics on staff costs, headcount and full-time equivalents be reported regularly in a consistent manner, with written definitions of the staff and consultant categories concerned.

5. Income strategy

Programme contributions from churches and specialized ministries of CHF 31.3 million make up 65% of WCC total income in 2005. Twenty funding partners provide approximately 90% of the programme contributions. Of those twenty, five contribute almost 60%.

Although a certain stability was achieved between 2003 to 2005, there is an anticipated decrease of 4% in programme contributions in 2006. The approved budget framework for 2007 anticipates a further reduction of 6%.

Income strategy continues to work on maintaining relationships with the principal funding partners, efforts which reach an annual focal point at the WCC round table. In addition, staff is also developing strategies for fund-raising among the US constituents and focusing some initial effort on non-traditional funding sources.

The AFC affirms the importance of the continued work in building common understanding and trust with the funding partners.

6. Buildings

The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey has been entirely renovated during the last three to four years, including renovation of the student residence. The entire cost of the project was CHF 8.4 million, principally financed by long-term fixed interest mortgage loans. Increased income at the Institute has financed the interest expense, and loan repayments over the next five years have been scheduled in WCC's longer-term treasury plans, with the first payments met over the last two years.

Maintenance plans at the Ecumenical Centre have lagged behind. Action is now required to be taken to ensure satisfactory compliance with local building regulations.

The AFC recommends that the central committee address both the funding for the deferred maintenance of the Ecumenical Centre and a further financial plan for improvements for maximizing both the use of the building and its income generation potential.

7. Audit Committee Mandate

The assembly finance committee received a draft audit committee mandate which had been prepared and submitted by the WCC audit committee. The assembly finance committee recognizes the contribution of the professional volunteers who have contributed to the audit committee's work over the last seven years.

The AFC recommends that the finance committee at its first meeting review the audit committee mandate for adoption by the central committee and appointment of the new committees.

8. WCC Pension Fund

Further to the request of Executive Committee, the assembly finance committee received a report on the current status of the WCC Pension Fund. The WCC Pension Fund had reported a slight lack of coverage of its obligations, and in accordance with Swiss law and further to the advice of actuaries, the Pension Fund Board have restructured the pension plan, introducing new regulations effective from 2006. While staff benefits earned up until 2005 are guaranteed, from 2006 staff retirement benefits are accrued at a reduced rate.

The AFC recognizes with thanks the work of the members of the Pension Fund Board, and agrees that the WCC should remain in solidarity with the Pension Fund Board, sharing communications where appropriate.

***

Final report of the Nominations Committee (as adopted)
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolution was proposed by the Nominations Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

The Nominations Committee, after many hours of work and having had to face directly the dilemmas presented by multiple competing mandates and values, would like respectfully to raise the following concerns which we believe must be clarified by the new Central Committee before the 10th assembly.

1. Currently the Orthodox 25% participation is placed within the regional allocations, which makes it impossible to achieve the regional percentages reflected in the Assembly seat allocation. This is especially true for the Middle East and Europe, where many Orthodox live, but it is also true for other regions as well. One solution may be to separate the Orthodox numbers from the regional numbers.

2. While for many years the WCC has had mandated balances of 50% women, 50% lay and 25% youth for the Central Committee, it has never attained any of these percentages. This may be raising unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, the Committee understands and affirms the need to press for the full participation of people in these categories. How do we reconcile these realities and values?

3. It was immediately clear to us when we examined the delegates list and nominations submitted by the churches that it would be impossible to reach the goal of 25% youth. Even after a plea for more names, we still saw little improvement.

There are multiple-person delegations to the assembly which have not complied with the mandated representation of women, lay persons and/or youth. Since Central Committee members can be drawn only from assembly delegates, this contributes to the difficulty in reaching the mandated balances. How can this be dealt with?

We understand that the Nominations Committee has the authority to nominate any delegate for the Central Committee. But how realistic is such a nomination if a young person (or a woman) does not have the full support of his/her church? What would such a nomination mean for that young person back at home, and how might this impact their effectiveness in the Central Committee? How do we honour our various cultures and traditions and at the same time enable the full participation of young adults from the whole body of Christ?

Of the young people nominated to Central Committee, 19 are women and 3 are men. What does this imbalance say to our young men about their role in church life?

How can young people be guaranteed a significant voice through both quantity of presence and quality of opportunities for participation in the decision-making life of the WCC and of the churches?

4. We believe that a clearer process must be developed for the selection of the presidents, beginning with discussions within the regions prior to the assembly. In addition, a more structured process for the actual election of the presidents at the assembly should be designed.

5. While each Central Committee needs both new and experienced members, should the WCC consider limiting the number of terms served by any individual? As the number of member churches increases, should the WCC reconsider the maximum number of seats available to any one church? Should there be more rotation of member churches on Central Committee and, if so, what system should be put in place for such rotations?

The Nominations Committee requests that these questions and concerns be forwarded to the new Central Committee early in its work so that they may be clarified long before preparations for the 10th assembly begin.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly elects the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches as presented in document NC 04.1.

***

First report of the Nominations Committee (as adopted)
14 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolution was proposed by the Nominations Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus

Review of the nominations process

1. The Nominations Committee is mandated to nominate the eight presidents of the WCC, and to prepare a list of 145 nominees to the next central committee from among the member churches and 5 nominees from among the churches not fulfilling the criterion of size.

2. The Committee brings to the attention of the assembly the rules governing its work (WCC Rules IV.4), which are set out on pages 49-50 of the Programme Book, and the "Guidelines for the Conduct of Meetings" relating to the election process, on pages 35-36 of the Programme Book. At the same time, and in order to accomplish its tasks, the Committee has taken into consideration discussions at meetings of the central committee and decisions taken thereby. In particular, the Committee calls the attention of the assembly to the letter sent by the WCC general secretary in October 2005 to all member churches, in which he quotes the following decision of the central committee:

Prior to the assembly, member churches are invited to nominate candidates for the central committee from amongst assembly delegates. Consultation between churches is encouraged, such that a name supported by more than one church will carry more weight for the Nominations Committee.

3. The Committee has received proposals for nominations from individual churches and from national, sub-regional and regional gatherings, and is taking these into consideration. Furthermore, the Committee is giving due consideration to the wishes of the nominating churches, while acknowledging that it may not be possible to accept all recommendations.

4. The Committee expresses its gratitude to those churches which took seriously the general secretary's request and submitted their nominations through national, sub-regional or regional groupings, keeping in mind the desired balances and representation for the next central committee. It would like to draw the assembly's attention, however, to the fact that with the increasing number of member churches and the decreased number of delegates to the 9th Assembly, it has become more difficult to fulfil the mandated WCC goals for representation and balances. The Committee may consider bringing appropriate recommendations to the new central committee regarding this concern in relation to the 10th Assembly.

5. Concerning the regional and confessional balances for the new central committee, the Committee recognizes the representation decided by the central committee for the allocation of seats to the Assembly itself.

6. Concerning the Orthodox churches, the Committee has considered the procedures and understandings which have developed over the years through dialogues and negotiations. In light of these procedures and understandings, the Committee has maintained and applied the principle of 25% Orthodox representation in the next central committee.

7. The Committee has also taken into consideration the other mandated balances: gender (50% women), youth (25%) and lay/ordained (50% lay). It has been informed that at this 9th Assembly the percentage of women delegates registered is 36%, youth 15% and lay 39%. The Committee will also give consideration to appropriate participation of persons with disabilities, indigenous people and persons of racial and ethnic minorities.

8. To date the Nominations Committee has received proposed nominations from about 115 of the 348 member churches (some of which are consensus nominations from a group of churches). The Committee would like to encourage all remaining churches to respond - reminding them of the central committee's request that where a church is represented at the assembly by more than one delegate, a prioritized list of nominations be submitted rather than just a single name. The churches are also reminded that names supported by more than one church will carry more weight for the Nominations Committee.

Process for submitting further proposed nominations

All further proposed nominations must be received by 9:30 am on Saturday 18 February.

• Proposed nominations should be prepared in writing and brought to Room 702 (7th floor) in Building 40.

• Where a church is represented at the assembly by more than one delegate, written endorsement of the nomination(s) from the church's head office (for the Orthodox churches, from the Patriarchate or head of delegation) is required.


Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly confirms the direction in which the Nominating Committee is going, as presented in this document.

***

Second report of the Nominations Committee
21 February 2006

1. The Nominations Committee would like to extend a word of gratitude to the churches which responded to our plea for more nominations of women, youth and indigenous people to the central committee. We received a total of 214 nominations by the given deadline, 42% of whom were women, 14% youth, 39% lay and 4% indigenous persons, together with nominations from the community of persons with disabilities. We thank you.

2. We have struggled with the regional and confessional percentages as allocated for the assembly, which are to be reflected in the new central committee. When we placed them alongside the other mandated balances, it became clear that it would not be possible to follow exactly every percentage given to us. In this regard, we expect to make some recommendations to the new central committee so that the guidelines may be re-evaluated and revised before the 10th Assembly. Nevertheless, the Committee met in a spirit of togetherness in order to prepare the proposed slate of central committee nominees which you now receive.

3. Because of the pressure of time available to put together the central committee list, and also because of the Sunday break and the need for additional consultations, we will not bring the list of Presidium nominations until Tuesday 21st. We trust that this will be acceptable.

4. The slate which you have received shows the following composition:

Category / Number / %

Demographics / -- / --

Women / 61 / 41%

Youth / 22 / 15%

Lay / 54 / 35%

Indigenous / 6 / 4%

Disabled / 1 / 1%

Region / -- / --

Africa / 29 / 19%

Asia / 27 / 18%

Caribbean / 3 / 2%

Europe / 48 / 32%

Latin America / 6 / 4%

Middle East / 10 / 7%

North America / 22 / 15%

Pacific / 5 / 3%

-- / 150 / 100%

Category Church family / Number / %

African Instituted / 2 / 1%

Anglican / 15 / 10%

Baptist / 4 / 3%

Disciples / 1 / 1%

Free / 3 / 2%

Independent / 1 / 1%

Lutheran / 19 / 13%

Mar Thoma / 1 / 1%

Methodist / 20 / 13%

Post-denominational / 2 / 1%

Old Catholic / 1 / 1%

Orthodox Eastern / 28 / 19%

Orthodox Oriental / 10 / 7%

Pentecostal / 1 / 1%

Reformed / 27 / 18%

United and Uniting / 15 / 10%

-- / 150 / 100%
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5. We would also like to call your attention to the fact that, while the churches not meeting the criterion of size are normally allocated five seats in the central committee, we have nominated representatives of only three such churches. This is because we received only three nominations from churches in this category.

6. According to the "Guidelines for the conduct of meetings of the WCC", proposals for changing individual nominations may be made as follows:

Process for proposing changes to specific nominations

• Delegates may bring proposals for changes to specific nominations to the nominations committee outside of the plenary meeting. Any change needs to offer a replacement with the same demographic profile (region, gender, age, etc.) - unless the replacement will improve the balances sought - and must be signed by six delegates from the same region.

• Proposals for changes should be brought to Office #702 (7th floor) of Building 40 no later than 9:30 am on Tuesday 21 February.

***

Third report of the Nominations Committee
22 February 2006

1. The Nominations Committee heard the concerns raised in the plenary and has seriously considered each proposal for change which was received. Following considerable discussion, however, we are able to recommend only a few changes to Doc. NC 02.1.

2. In light of the discussion in the plenary about increasing youth participation, we hoped that the Committee would receive a number of replacement youth nominations. However this turned out not to be the case: only one church made such a recommendation. In addition we were informed that one delegate marked as youth was actually over 30, and we agreed to replace one youth with a woman because that church had been represented during the previous period by a youth. The net result, therefore, is one less youth than in the first slate proposed. Needless to say, the Committee is deeply disappointed in this outcome.

3. The proposed replacements are as follows:

AF / Rev. Dr Elisée Musemakweli / Presbyterian Church in Rwanda / M / O

replaces / Dr Endor Modeste Rakoto / Malagasy Lutheran Church / M / O

AS / Mrs Prabhjot Prim Rose Masih / Church of North India / F / O

replaces / Ms Vinata Kellellu / Church of North India / F / L / Y

CA / Rev. Glenna Spencer / Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas / F / O

replaces / Rev. Dr Héctor Méndez Rodriguez / Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba / M / O

NA / Rev. Gretchen Schoon-Tanis / Reformed Church in America / F / O / Y

replaces / Rev. Dr Wesley Granberg-Michaelson / Reformed Church in America / M / O

4. The corrections are as follows:

EU / Mme Marie-Christine Michau / Evangelical Lutheran Church of France

not / Reformed Church of France

Archbishop Joris Vercammen / Old-Catholic Church of the Netherlands

not / International Old-Catholic Bishops Conference

PA / Rev. Sanele Faasua Lavatai / Methodist Church of Samoa / M / O / (not Y)

5. Taking into account these changes, the revised slate shows the following composition (the regional balances remain the same) :

Category / Number / %

Demographics / -- / --

Women / 63 / 42%

Youth / 21 / 14%

Lay / 54 / 36%

Indigenous / 6 / 4%

Disabled / 1 / 1%

Church family / -- / --

African Instituted / 2 / 1%

Anglican / 15 / 10%

Baptist / 4 / 3%

Disciples / 1 / 1%

Free / 3 / 2%

Independent / 1 / 1%

Lutheran / 19 / 13%

Mar Thoma / 1 / 1%

Methodist / 21 / 14%

Post-denominational / 2 / 1%

Old Catholic / 1 / 1%

Orthodox Eastern / 28 / 19%

Orthodox Oriental / 10 / 7%

Pentecostal / 1 / 1%

Reformed / 1 / 1%

United and Uniting / 15 / 10%

-- / 150 / 100%

***

Report of the Policy Reference Committee (as adopted)
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Policy Reference Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Mandate and Overview

1. "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5)

The ecumenical movement, inspired by the Holy Spirit, seeks to promote the renewal of our churches and God's whole creation as integral to the growth towards unity. It is in this broad framework that the Policy Reference Committee (PRC) did its work.

2. The PRC has been asked to work in an integrated way with the Programme Guidelines Committee and Public Issues Committee of the Assembly to offer one coherent outcome within their three reports that will guide future policies and the programmatic work of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The PRC was specifically directed to consider the changing ecclesial context and the relational dynamics in the wider ecumenical movement while proposing policy guidelines for the future on the fundamental and strategic questions of relationships.

3. The reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary were received with appreciation by the PRC, in particular, the deeply spiritual tone of both reports reflecting upon the theme of the Assembly "God in your grace, transform the world". The vision for the Ninth Assembly and also for the ecumenical movement in the twenty-first century derives from our self-understanding as a faithful, praying community of Christians dedicated to witnessing to the world together, in relationship with one another by the grace of God. The quest for the visible unity of the church remains at the heart of the WCC.

4. Our ultimate vision is that we will achieve, by God s grace, the visible unity of Christ's Church and will be able to welcome one another at the Lord's table, to reconcile our ministries, and to be committed together to the reconciliation of the world. We must never lose sight of this dream, and we must take concrete steps now to make it a reality. The report of the Moderator articulated specific hopes and dreams related to work already begun around (i) the common date for Easter, (ii) Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, and (iii) preparations for a single ecumenical assembly, dreams that echo those stated by the founders of the WCC.

Resolution:

5. The Ninth Assembly sets as its goal that we will have made substantial progress towards realizing these hopes and dreams by the Tenth Assembly. Witness to the world of the progress made toward visible unity can include agreement among all of the Christian churches for calculation of the annual date for celebration of the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, for mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism, understanding that there are some who do not observe the rite of Baptism in water but share in the desire to be faithful to Christ, and for convening an ecumenical assembly that would assemble all churches to celebrate their fellowship in Jesus Christ and to address common challenges facing the church and humanity -- all on the way toward visible unity and a shared Eucharist.

Emerging trends in the life of the churches and their ecumenical implications

Ecumenical Relationships in the Twenty-first Century

6. Understanding the rapid and radical changes in the shape of global Christianity and the life of the churches is essential to addressing the shape of ecumenical relationships in the twenty-first century. The PRC suggests that a report, on changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts, be prepared and updated on a regular basis in advance of meetings of the Central Committee during the next period.

7. The Assembly was called upon by the General Secretary to put "relationships in the centre of the ecumenical movement". The PRC echoes this call, understanding the creative tension that exists at the various levels of relationship engaged by the WCC, particularly between being a fellowship while also responding to the changing ecumenical landscape and responding to the world.

8. The process of reconfiguring the ecumenical movement is in large part an effort to "choreograph" the intricate relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and new ecumenical partners, so that clarity, transparency, communication and cooperative efforts mark those relationships, allowing the ecumenical movement as a whole to offer to the world and to the regions and local churches the coherent grace-filled spiritual message of Christianity. The PRC took note of the messages coming from many sources gathered in the Ninth Assembly, as well as the theme at the heart of the Assembly. The process that has been called "reconfiguration" should be understood not as patching up the existing ecumenical structures, but as a dynamic process to deepen the relationship of the ecumenical movement to its spiritual roots and missionary identity, reaffirm the relationship of the ecumenical instruments to the churches, clarify the relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and ensuring that the message and the effort be coordinated and coherent.

9. The PRC noted with appreciation the efforts toward this end, including the two consultations that have taken place with broad participation, the mapping process that described the various ecumenical actors, the recommendations that resulted from those consultations, as well as the continuing dynamic, inclusive dialogue that has followed from that work.

Resolution:

10. The Ninth Assembly:

a) calls upon the member churches, and ecumenical instruments, to encourage the WCC in its role as leader of the process engaging the wider ecumenical movement in constructive collaboration (reconfiguration), including WCC member churches, Christian World Communions, Regional Ecumenical Organizations, National Councils of Churches, World Mission Bodies, Specialized Ministries, as well as Christian churches not currently in membership in the WCC, in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current status of the ecumenical movement and offer strategies for enhancing the strengths and addressing the weaknesses;

b) affirms the appointment of a continuation committee as recommended during the consultation on "Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century" (Chavannes-de-Bogis, December 2004) that will report to the Central Committee to continue this process during this next term maintaining a primary role for the member churches;

c) requests that the WCC explores the implications of new forms of mission and ecumenism for the reconfiguration process, building on the method and results of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, Athens (2005).

Strengthening and Deepening the WCC and Relationships among Member Churches

Who We Are and How We Work Together

11. The Common Understanding and Vision document (CUV) serves as a foundational statement of the nature of the fellowship among the member churches of the WCC and as the churches relate to other ecumenical partners. The committee affirms the centrality of this statement, urges that the CUV be more fully incorporated into the life and witness of the WCC at all levels, and continue to guide the programmatic work and relationships of the WCC.

Resolution:

12. The report of the General Secretary to the Ninth Assembly articulated urgent calls for deep change - not incremental change - in the way the WCC conducts its work during the next term. The most important is the call by the General Secretary for "a more integrated and interactive approach to programmes and for relationships" in the Council's future work. In the spirit of this report, therefore, the Assembly instructs the General Secretary, in consultation with the Central Committee, to implement clear and consistent changes to the working style, organizational structure and staffing of the WCC necessary to meet the current and future challenges to the ecumenical movement. The PRC is particularly interested in ensuring that all programmes, consultations, visits or statements initiated by the WCC are integrated and coordinated with the work being undertaken by staff in other programme areas.

13. The PRC affirms the importance of providing possibilities for young adults to participate in meaningful decision-making roles both in the churches and in the WCC, and urges that member churches provide additional opportunities for their young adults to benefit from ecumenical formation, including theological training at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

Resolutions:

14. In light of the meeting of the Moderator and the General Secretary with young adult delegates to the Ninth Assembly, and the Statement on Youth Contribution delivered to the Assembly, the Assembly directs the Central Committee to create a representative body of young adults who would coordinate the various roles of young adults connected to the WCC and facilitate communication between them. Such a body would create space for a meaningful participation of young adults in the life and decision making of the WCC, and would be able to hold the WCC accountable to its goals regarding young adults.

15. The PRC noted the persistence of references to "persons with disabilities" which can be an acknowledgement of their absence in leadership and in decision-making processes. The PRC will, however, note that this can serve to mark the continuing marginalisation of those persons living with different disabilities. The Assembly recommends that the WCC work with representatives of the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network to articulate in an even more bold and creative way, consistent with Christian theology, ways to make the churches fully inclusive communities and the ecumenical movement a more open space for all human beings.

16. The PRC affirmed the recent actions of the Central Committee on human rights, Indigenous Peoples and language loss. The Assembly recommends to strengthen the participation and visibility of Indigenous Peoples within the WCC. The Assembly considers this an essential step for deepening the relationships among WCC member churches. The Assembly in particular urges the WCC to address the main areas which are problematic for Indigenous churches in its policy directions. The Assembly considers strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples an opportunity for the fellowship to gain new insights on the importance of place, land, language and theology of creation, as well as creative perspectives on grace and transformation.

17. The PRC appreciates the new consensus style of discernment for reaching decisions in the WCC and notes the opportunity this offers to the churches. A particular concern was expressed that the length of the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary on the one hand, and the schedule of the Assembly on the other, limited meaningful discussion despite the stated goals of the consensus process, either during the presentation plenary or in committee. The PRC suggests that the shift to consensus process in decision-making also requires changes in methodology and process in order to create adequate space for consensus to occur. This requires an evaluation of current models of reporting.

18. The Central Committee engaged in a process of self-evaluation in the months immediately preceding the Ninth Assembly. The PRC thanks those who conducted that evaluation and receives with appreciation the report of the Evaluation Committee. The PRC suggests that clear mechanisms for planning and evaluation of the programmes and work and for transparent and mutually accountable working methods between the WCC and its member churches be established in advance of the second full meeting of the Central Committee, with particular attention to evaluating the transition to consensus and its consequences for working methods.

Relationships among Member Churches

19. Work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC marked this past term of the WCC. The PRC affirms this important achievement of the Council that deepens the relationships among member churches and helps dispel misperceptions between families of churches. In particular, the Committee urges the WCC to stress the importance of this work as it implements the policies adopted by the Central Committee, grows into the consensus process of discernment for decision-making, and engages in the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement. The committee welcomed the revisions to the Constitution and Rules of the WCC, including especially the new ways of relating to one another in our work as member churches working towards consensus in discerning ways to work together, clarified understanding of membership in the WCC, and the new opportunities for relationship to the WCC through the category of "churches in association with the WCC."

20. The PRC noted that each new term of the Central Committee provides an opportunity for informal encounters between and among representatives of member churches, to deepen understanding of the ecclesial commonalities and particularities of each member church. The PRC urges the WCC to make space for this type of interaction at every opportunity, to encourage the practice of "Living Letters" that provides an opportunity for personal encounters with churches in their own contexts, so that the churches come to know one another, and to encourage local collaborative consultations of Faith and Order documents.

21. The PRC also urges the WCC to listen to the member churches and strive towards greater coherence in the various relations with them, increasing cooperation, exchange of information and consultation among all involved persons (including WCC staff) and ecumenical partners.

The Call to be the One Church

22. The PRC has received with deep appreciation the document entitled Called to be the One Church (the Ecclesiology Text).

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly:

a) adopts the Ecclesiology Text as an invitation and challenge to the member churches to renew their commitment to the search for unity and to deepen their dialogue;

b) calls upon each member church to respond to the ten questions at the conclusion of the Ecclesiology Text with the expectation that, by the Tenth Assembly, each member church will have so responded;

c) directs the WCC, through the commission on Faith and Order, to prepare periodic reports to the Central Committee of the number and content of responses received, so that responses can inform the direction of work towards deepening the understanding among member churches and furthering progress towards the visible unity of the Church. Such a process would go some way to addressing the fundamental ecclesiological issues raised by the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC.

Relationships with Ecumenical Partners

Christian World Communions

23. The WCC is strengthened by interaction with the Christian World Communions. Its spirituality, witness, and work are enhanced by cooperative efforts with Christian World Communions towards building Christian unity. Multi-lateral and bi-lateral dialogues have contributed to a number of unity agreements and have enhanced understanding and cooperation among churches. Cooperative efforts in areas of witness, mission, diakonia and ecumenical formation are integral to the life of the WCC. The importance of strengthening this relationship is articulated in the Common Understanding and Vision document and affirmed by the Harare Assembly.

24. The PRC notes that the various structures and self-understanding of the Christian World Communions and of the member churches of the WCC results in a variety of ways of relating to the WCC, and welcomes the ongoing relationship with the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, whilst recognizing that not all member churches find themselves represented in this body. Some Christian World Communions and the General Secretary have called for new ways of relating CWCS to the WCC, including new possibilities related to future WCC Assemblies, expanded space in the structure of WCC Assemblies for confessional meetings, and the vision ultimately of a broadly inclusive ecumenical assembly.

Resolution:

25. The Ninth Assembly:

a) affirms the important specific role and place of the Christian World Communions in the ecumenical movement and as partners of the WCC, and particularly acknowledges the importance of the role of Christian World Communions in both multi-lateral and bilateral dialogues and reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement;

b) directs that the WCC jointly consult with the Christian World Communions to explore the significance and implications of overlap of membership, coordination of programmes, and other common efforts between the WCC and the Christian World Communions;

c) directs that the WCC initiate, within the next year and in consultation with the Christian World Communions, a joint consultative commission to discuss and recommend ways to further strengthen the participation of Christian World Communions in the WCC;

d) directs that the WCC explore the feasibility of a structure for WCC assemblies that would provide expanded space for Christian World Communions and confessional families to meet, for the purpose of deliberation and/or overall agendas. Early in the term of this next Central Committee, a decision would be expected as to whether the next WCC Assembly should be so structured;

e) directs that United and Uniting churches be included in this process.

Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches

26. The Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches worldwide comprise expressions of the ecumenical movement with a wide variety of structures and varying degrees of relationship with the work and programmes of the WCC. These independently constituted organizations have a composition of membership that is broader than that of the WCC, some including as full members representatives of bishop's conferences of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that are not members of the WCC. The current relationship between the WCC, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, is mutually enriching and important to their common work and witness to the world, yet lacks clarity as to the specific character, role and particular strengths of each ecumenical instrument and the relationship of each to the local churches, and also lacks coherence of common vision and cooperative efforts.

Resolution:

27. The Ninth Assembly:

a) affirms the specific and important relationship between the WCC and the Regional Ecumenical Organizations and the National Councils of Churches as essential partners in the work of the ecumenical movement;

b) encourages the WCC to continue to facilitate the annual meetings of leaders of Regional Ecumenical Organizations in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, and (iv) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, the process to be overseen by the continuation committee formed following the consultation on Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century (Chavannes-de-Bogis, 2004);

c) endorses the recommendation of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC that the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity be asked to cosponsor a consultation of representatives of National Councils of Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and episcopal conferences from places where the Roman Catholic Church is not in membership. The consultation should consider the document "Inspired by the Same Vision" and reflect on the experience others have gleaned regarding Catholic participation;

d) directs that this consultation be held within the next two to four years, in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, (iv) enhance relationships with the Roman Catholic Church by inviting the leadership of national bishops' conferences, and (v) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, ensuring that decisions are made closest to the people affected, and with the priority that programmes are preferable when they interconnect with regional, national or local initiatives.

Specialized Ministries and Agencies Related to the WCC

28. The PRC received with interest and for information a report of the proposal for a new alliance of churches and church and ecumenical agencies engaged in development work (Proposed Ecumenical Alliance for Development, PEAD), and understands that the formation of such a global alliance and its identity as an agency related to the WCC and its member churches, and/or related to the work of Action by Churches Together (ACT) and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), is still in progress.

Resolution:

29. The Ninth Assembly:

a) affirms with appreciation the work and role of Specialized Ministries and their relationship to the WCC and to the diaconal work of the WCC and the member churches;

b) asks the WCC to continue its leadership role in exploring with the agencies which have proposed the new alliance the most appropriate structure for that alliance to take in relating to the other ecumenical partners, particularly as the alliance would relate to and serve the specific diaconal tasks of member churches and relate to ACT and other existing ecumenical instruments, including Regional Ecumenical Organizations, taking into account the priorities that have been articulated;

c) directs that the Central Committee encourage the continuing leadership role of the WCC in relation to this proposal.

Relationships with other Christian Churches

The Roman Catholic Church

30. The PRC received with appreciation the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and acknowledges with deep appreciation the past forty years of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC. Since the Second Vatican Council, major studies have resulted from this joint effort, deepening the mutual understanding and the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the churches of the WCC. Joint responsibility for preparing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, full membership in the commissions on Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, provision for staff in areas of mission and at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute have enhanced that collaboration, even while the Roman Catholic Church declines membership in the WCC. The member churches of the WCC continue to encourage and hope for an even more organic relationship with the Roman Catholic Church in the quest towards the visible unity of the Church.

Resolution:

31. The Ninth Assembly:

a) receives the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and the report of the consultation, that marked the forty years of collaboration, and expresses its appreciation to the members of the JWG for their work in the period 1999 - 2006;

b) endorses the continuation of the Joint Working Group and its recommendations for future direction, but also asks the Joint Working Group, working with Faith and Order, to include in their agendas concrete steps in that context to realize the dreams described in the Moderator's report: for a common date for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism understanding that there are some who do not observe the rite of Baptism in water but share in the desire to be faithful to Christ, and convening a common ecumenical assembly, including offering ways to deepen the theological basis of all ecumenical work and engage in work towards resolution of the theological divergences that still keep us apart.

Pentecostal Churches

32. Porto Alegre, Brazil provided a dynamic setting for the Ninth Assembly to receive the Report from the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostal Churches, which the PRC forwards to the Assembly with appreciation for the work of that Group. This six-year effort is an example of efforts of the WCC to broaden the Council and the ecumenical movement and to respond to the dynamically changing landscape of Christian expression, whilst being mindful of the ecclesial realities that makes formal partnerships difficult. The PRC appreciates the extraordinary effort that has accompanied this process to provide the safe ecumenical space for this mutually beneficial open dialogue.

Resolution:

33. The Ninth Assembly:

a) receives the Report of the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostals including the recommendations and the direction for future work, expresses its appreciation to the members of the Joint Consultative Group for their work in the period 2000 - 2005, and endorses the continuation of the Joint Consultative Group;

b) recognizes the visible contribution of the Pentecostal churches in the dynamically changing Christian landscape, and the importance to the ecumenical movement of engaging in mutual learning and sustained dialogue with the Pentecostal churches.

Global Christian Forum

34. The Harare Assembly affirmed the proposal that the WCC facilitate the process identified in the Common Understanding and Vision document as the " Forum proposal". This process has included a series of meetings preparatory to gathering a broader representation of Christian churches than currently are members in the WCC for consultation on issues common to all Christian churches and inter-church organizations. Several regional consultations have taken place, with participation from a wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches not represented in the WCC, the Roman Catholic Church and from representatives of WCC member churches, gathering together at a global level representatives of all four main streams of Christianity. Demonstrating the timeliness of this initiative, given the changing global Christian landscape and to enhance a common Christian witness and solidarity in a fractured world, the Global Christian Forum process offers a fluid model of initiatives that can be facilitated by the WCC to welcome broader participation in the ecumenical journey.

35. The PRC noted the tension that will continue to be present as the WCC proceeds on the one hand to deepen its relationships among the member churches and explore the areas of theological convergence and divergence, while on the other hand encountering with ecclesial challenges presented by engaging with the broader Christian community. The committee reaffirms the centrality of the fellowship of member churches, the Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC, and the particular accomplishments of the Special Commission in deepening the relationships among the member churches, and notes the urgent need for the WCC to continue to facilitate gathering the broader Christian community in consultation and dialogue.

Resolution:

36. The Ninth Assembly:

a) receives the report on the Global Christian Forum including the direction for future work and expresses its appreciation to the organizers of the consultations and the forum event;

b) instructs that the WCC participate in the global forum event scheduled to take place in late 2007, and following that event conduct a formal and comprehensive evaluation of the concept and the process.

Relationships with Other Faiths

37. The WCC has committed itself to engaging in dialogue with partners of other faiths that is aimed at building trust, articulating common values, promoting mutual understanding, meeting common challenges and addressing conflictive and divisive issues. Interreligious dialogue is now more than ever an expression of the Council's essential identity engaging in the world, diffusing tensions, peacemaking, protecting human dignity and the rights of religious minorities. The PRC appreciates the strong reaffirmation of this work of the Council that was contained in the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary and concurs that forming and deepening constructive, respectful, intentional relationships with others in this pluralistic world is one of the most important efforts the WCC can model for its ecumenical partners and for member churches at the international and the grassroots levels.

Relationships with Nations and World Events

38. The WCC expresses its fellowship by engaging in the world as we have been called by Jesus Christ to engage the world - as witnesses to His love. The WCC is in a unique position to articulate values that signify human dignity. The WCC has made a mark in its history by providing prophetic response to this calling. Participants in the Ninth Assembly were moved by the various plenary presentations and interactions with the local churches to recommit to engage together with issues of economic justice and globalization, to fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, to reaffirm solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and to promote a culture of peace through the programmes of the Decade to Overcome Violence. The PRC acknowledges the essential significance of the work of the WCC interacting as the voice of Christian churches with secular world bodies. The PRC recognizes the significance of this expression of the WCC's responsibility for the churches toward the world as a privileged instrument of the ecumenical movement.

Conclusion

39. The PRC received with deep appreciation the reports of the General Secretary and the Moderator of the WCC, and thanks the Moderator, especially on this occasion of his final report to an Assembly of the WCC as Moderator, for his years of dedicated leadership of the WCC.

40. The PRC received with deep gratitude the various reports of efforts to initiate, maintain and deepen the relationships of the WCC with its member churches, with its ecumenical partners, and with other Christian Churches. It suggests a full and closer reading by anyone involved in the ecumenical movement. Recommendations from those reports are offered as recommendations of the PRC with the understanding that priority be given to programmes that strengthen the WCC in the search for visible unity, enhance its ability to represent the member churches, and build new bridges for relationships and trust with other Christian churches not currently within its fellowship.

41. We give thanks to God for our relationships with Christian World Communions, the Roman Catholic and Pentecostal Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, Specialized Ministries, and the emerging Global Christian Forum. We request that the Assembly call on them all to join in a fresh commitment with the WCC and one another to create a renewed and unified ecumenical movement as we begin the third millennium of Christian history that will strengthen and deepen the fellowship of churches and enable us to be faithful in our common calling to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

***

Report of the Policy Reference Committee (draft - for action)
14 February 2006

Mandate and Overview

1. "Behold, I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5)

The ecumenical movement, inspired by the Holy Spirit, seeks to promote the renewal of our churches and God's whole creation as integral to the growth towards unity. It is in this broad framework that the Policy Reference Committee (PRC) did its work.

2. The PRC has been asked to work in an integrated way with the Programme Committee and Public Issues Committee of the Assembly to offer one coherent outcome within their three reports that will guide future policies and the programmatic work of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The PRC was specifically directed to consider the changing ecclesial context and the relational dynamics in the wider ecumenical movement while proposing policy guidelines for the future on the fundamental and strategic questions of relationships.

3. The reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary were received with appreciation by the PRC, in particular, the deeply spiritual tone of both reports reflecting upon the theme of the Assembly "God in your grace, transform the world". The vision for the Ninth Assembly and also for the ecumenical movement in the twenty-first century derives from our self-understanding as a faithful, praying community of Christians dedicated to witnessing to the world together, in relationship with one another by the grace of God. The quest for the visible unity of the church remains at the heart of the WCC.

4. Our ultimate vision is that we will achieve the visible unity of Christ's Church and will be able to welcome one another at the Lord's table, to reconcile our ministries, and to be committed together to the reconciliation of the world. We must never lose sight of this dream, and we must take concrete steps now to make it a reality. The report of the Moderator articulated specific hopes and dreams related to work already begun around (i) the common date for Easter, (ii) Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, and preparations (iii) for a single ecumenical assembly, dreams that echo those stated by the founders of the WCC.

5. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly set as its goal that we will have made substantial progress towards realizing these hopes and dreams by the Tenth Assembly. Witness to the world of the progress made toward visible unity can include agreement among all of the Christian churches for calculation of the annual date for celebration of the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, for mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism, and for convening an ecumenical assembly that would assemble all churches to celebrate their fellowship in Jesus Christ and to address common challenges facing the church and humanity -- all on the way toward full communion and a shared Eucharist.

Emerging trends in the life of the churches and their ecumenical implications

Ecumenical Relationships in the Twenty-first Century

6. Understanding the rapid and radical changes in the shape of global Christianity and the life of the churches is essential to addressing the shape of ecumenical relationships in the twenty-first century. The PRC suggests that a report, on changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts, be prepared and updated on a regular basis in advance of meetings of the Central Committee during the next period.

7. The Assembly was called upon by the General Secretary to put "relationships in the centre of the ecumenical movement". The PRC echoes this call, understanding the creative tension that exists at the various levels of relationship engaged by the WCC, particularly between being a fellowship while also responding to the changing ecumenical landscape and responding to the world.

8. The process of reconfiguring the ecumenical movement is in large part an effort to "choreograph" the intricate relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and new ecumenical partners, so that clarity, transparency, communication and cooperative efforts mark those relationships, allowing the ecumenical movement as a whole to offer to the world and to the regions and local churches the coherent grace-filled spiritual message of Christianity. The PRC took note of the messages coming from many sources gathered in the Ninth Assembly, as well as the theme at the heart of the Assembly. The process that has been called "reconfiguration" should be understood not as patching up the existing ecumenical structures, but as a dynamic process to deepen the relationship of the ecumenical movement to its spiritual roots and missionary identity, reaffirm the relationship of the ecumenical instruments to the churches, clarify the relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and ensuring that the message and the effort be coordinated and coherent.

9. The PRC noted with appreciation the efforts toward this end, including the two consultations that have taken place with broad participation, the mapping process that described the various ecumenical actors, the recommendations that resulted from those consultations, as well as the continuing dynamic, inclusive dialogue that has followed from that work.

10. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) call upon the member churches, and ecumenical instruments, to empower the WCC in its role as leader of the process engaging the wider ecumenical movement in constructive collaboration (reconfiguration), including WCC member churches, Christian World Communions, Regional Ecumenical Organizations, National Councils of Churches, World Mission Bodies, Specialized Agencies, as well as Christian churches not currently in membership in the WCC, in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current status of the ecumenical movement and offer strategies for enhancing the strengths and addressing the weaknesses;

b) affirm the appointment of a continuation committee as recommended during the Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century Consultation (Chavannes-de-Bogis, December 2004) that will report to the Central Committee to continue this process during this next term, assuring the leadership of the WCC and maintaining a primary role for the member churches;

c) request that the WCC explores the implications of new forms of mission and ecumenism for the reconfiguration process.

Strengthening and Deepening the WCC and Relationships among Member Churches

Who We Are and How We Work Together

11. The Common Understanding and Vision document (CUV) serves as a foundational statement of the nature of the fellowship among the member churches of the WCC and as the churches relate to other ecumenical partners. The committee affirms the centrality of this statement, urges that the CUV be more fully incorporated into the life and witness of the WCC at all levels, and continue to guide the programmatic work and relationships of the WCC.

12. The report of the General Secretary to the Ninth Assembly articulated urgent calls for deep change - not incremental change - in the way the WCC conducts its work during the next term. The most important is the call by the General Secretary for "a more integrated and interactive approach to programmes and for relationships" in the Council's future work. In the spirit of this report, therefore, the PRC recommends to the Assembly that the Assembly instruct the General Secretary, in consultation with the Central Committee, to implement clear and consistent changes to the working style, organizational structure and staffing of the WCC necessary to meet the current and future challenges to the ecumenical movement. The PRC is particularly interested in ensuring that all programmes, consultations, visits or statements initiated by the WCC are integrated and coordinated with the work being undertaken by staff in other programme areas.

13. The PRC affirms the importance of providing possibilities for young adults to participate in meaningful decision-making roles both in the churches and in the WCC, and urges that member churches provide additional opportunities for their young theologians to benefit from ecumenical formation, including through the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

14. Additionally, the PRC, in the light of the meeting of the Moderator and the General Secretary with young adult delegates to the Ninth Assembly, recommends that to the Assembly approve the creation of a special body of young people who would coordinate the various roles of young people connected to the WCC and facilitate communication between them. Such a body would create space for youth leadership in the WCC as it reconfigures; and would be able to hold the WCC accountable to its goals regarding young people."

15. The PRC noted the persistent pattern of references to "persons with disabilities" included in the mantra of politically correct references, which can serve to mark the continuing marginalization of those persons included in those lists. The PRC calls upon the WCC to work with representatives of the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network to articulate in a bold and creative way consistent with Christian theology the open space in the church and in the ecumenical movement for all human beings.

16. The PRC appreciates the new consensus style of discernment for reaching decisions in the WCC and notes the opportunity this offers to the churches. A particular concern was expressed that the length of the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary on the one hand, and the schedule of the Assembly on the other, limited meaningful discussion despite the stated goals of the consensus process, either during the presentation plenary or in committee. The PRC suggests that the shift to consensus process in decision-making also requires changes in methodology and process in order to create adequate space for consensus to occur. This requires an evaluation of current models of reporting.

17. The Central Committee engaged in a process of self-evaluation in the months immediately preceding the Ninth Assembly. The PRC thanks those who conducted that evaluation and receives with appreciation the report of the Evaluation Committee. The PRC suggests that clear mechanisms for planning and evaluation of the programmes and work be established in advance of the second full meeting of the Central Committee, with particular attention to evaluating the transition to consensus and its consequences for working methods.

Relationships among Member Churches

18. Work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC marked this past term of the WCC. The PRC affirms this important achievement of the Council that deepens the relationships among member churches and helps dispel misperceptions between families of churches. In particular, the Committee urges the WCC to stress the importance of this work as it implements the policies adopted by the Central Committee, grows into the consensus process of discernment for decision-making, and engages in the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement. The committee welcomed the revisions to the Constitution and Rules of the WCC, including especially the new ways of relating to one another in our work as member churches working towards consensus in discerning ways to work together, clarified understanding of membership in the WCC, and the new opportunities for relationship to the WCC through the category of "churches in association with the WCC."

19. The PRC noted that each new term of the Central Committee provides an opportunity for informal encounters between and among representatives of member churches, to deepen understanding of the ecclesial commonalities and particularities of each member church. The PRC urges the WCC to make space for this type of interaction at every opportunity, to encourage the practice of "Living Letters" that provides an opportunity for personal encounters with churches in their own contexts, so that the churches come to know one another, and to encourage local collaborative consultations of Faith and Order documents.

20. The PRC also urges the WCC to listen to the member churches and strive towards greater coherence in the various relations with them, increasing cooperation, exchange of information and consultation among all involved persons (including WCC staff) and ecumenical partners.

The Call to be the One Church

21. The PRC has received with deep appreciation the document entitled Called to be the One Church (the Ecclesiology Text) and recommends that the Assembly

a) adopt the Ecclesiology Text as an invitation and challenge to the member churches to renew their commitment to the search for unity and to deepen their dialogue;

b) call upon each member church to respond to the ten questions at the conclusion of the Ecclesiology Text with the expectation that, by the Tenth Assembly, each member church will have so responded;

c) direct the WCC to prepare periodic reports to the Central Committee of the number and content of responses received, so that responses can inform the direction of work towards deepening the understanding among member churches and furthering progress towards the visible unity of the Church.
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Relationships with Ecumenical Partners

Christian World Communions

22. The WCC is strengthened by interaction with the Christian World Communions. Its spirituality, witness, and work are enhanced by cooperative efforts with Christian World Communions towards building Christian unity. Multi-lateral and bi-lateral dialogues have contributed to a number of unity agreements and have enhanced understanding and cooperation among churches. Cooperative efforts in areas of witness, mission, diakonia and ecumenical formation are integral to the life of the WCC. The importance of strengthening this relationship is articulated in the Common Understanding and Vision document and affirmed by the Harare Assembly.

23. The PRC notes that the various structures and self-understanding of the Christian World Communions and of the member churches of the WCC results in a variety of ways of relating to the WCC, and welcomes the ongoing relationship with the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, whilst recognizing that not all member churches find themselves represented in this body. Some Christian World Communions and the General Secretary have called for new ways of relating CWCS to the WCC, including new possibilities related to future WCC Assemblies, expanded space in the structure of WCC Assemblies for confessional meetings, and the vision ultimately of a broadly inclusive ecumenical assembly.

24. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) affirm the important specific role and place of the Christian World Communions in the ecumenical movement and as partners of the WCC, and particularly acknowledges the importance of the role of Christian World Communions in both multi-lateral and bilateral dialogues and reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement;

b) direct that the WCC jointly consult with the Christian World Communions to explore the significance and implications of overlap of membership, coordination of programmes, and other common efforts between the WCC and the Christian World Communions;

c) direct that the WCC initiate, within the next year and in consultation with the Christian World Communions, a joint consultative commission to discuss and recommend ways to further strengthen the participation of Christian World Communions in the WCC;

d) direct that the WCC explore the feasibility of a structure for WCC assemblies that would provide expanded space for Christian World Communions and confessional families to meet, for the purpose of deliberation and/or overall agendas. Early in the term of this next central committee, a decision would be expected as to whether the next WCC Assembly should be so structured.

Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches

25. The Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches worldwide comprise expressions of the ecumenical movement with a wide variety of structures and varying degrees of relationship with the work and programmes of the WCC. These independently constituted organizations have a composition of membership that is broader than that of the WCC, some including as full members representatives of bishop's conferences of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that are not members of the WCC. The current relationship between the WCC, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, is mutually enriching and important to their common work and witness to the world, yet lacks clarity as to the specific character, role and particular strengths of each ecumenical instrument and the relationship of each to the local churches, and also lacks coherence of common vision and cooperative efforts.

26. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) affirm the specific and important relationship between the WCC and the Regional Ecumenical Organizations and the National Councils of Churches as essential partners in the work of the ecumenical movement;

b) encourage the WCC to continue to facilitate the annual meetings of leaders of Regional Ecumenical Organizations in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, and (iv) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, the process to be overseen by the continuation committee formed following the consultation on Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century (Chavannes-de-Bogis, 2004);

c) endorse the recommendation of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC that the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity be asked to cosponsor a consultation of representatives of National Councils of Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and episcopal conferences from places where the Roman Catholic Church is not in membership. The consultation should consider the document "Inspired by the Same Vision" and reflect on the experience others have gleaned regarding Catholic participation;

d) direct that this consultation be held within the next two to four years, in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, (iv) enhance relationships with the Roman Catholic Church by inviting the leadership of national bishops' conferences, and (v) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, ensuring that decisions are made closest to the people affected, and with the priority that programmes are preferable when they interconnect with regional, national or local initiatives.

Specialized Ministries and Agencies Related to the WCC

27. The PRC received with interest and for information a report of the proposal (PEAD) for a new alliance of churches and church and ecumenical agencies engaged in development work, and understands that the formation of such a global alliance and its identity as an agency related to the WCC and its member churches, and/or related to the work of Action by Churches Together (ACT) and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), is still in progress.

28. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) affirm with appreciation the work and role of Specialized Ministries and their relationship to the WCC and to the diaconal work of the WCC and the member churches;

b) ask the WCC to continue its leadership role in exploring with the agencies which have proposed the new alliance the most appropriate structure for that alliance to take in relating to the other ecumenical partners, particularly as the alliance would relate to and serve the needs of member churches and relate to ACT and other existing ecumenical instruments, taking into account the priorities that have been articulated;

c) direct that the Central Committee encourages the continuing leadership role of the WCC in relation to this proposal.

Relationships with other Christian Churches

The Roman Catholic Church

29. The PRC received with appreciation the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and acknowledges with deep appreciation the past forty years of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC. Since the Second Vatican Council, major studies have resulted from this joint effort, deepening the mutual understanding and the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the churches of the WCC. Joint responsibility for preparing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, full membership in the commissions on Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, provision for staff in areas of mission and at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute have enhanced that collaboration, even while the Roman Catholic Church declines membership in the WCC. The member churches of the WCC continue to encourage and hope for an even more organic relationship with the Roman Catholic Church, and understands their own work towards broadening the ecumenical movement at the global level to include developing an ecumenical model in which the Roman Catholic Church would find a congenial home as a fully committed partner in the quest towards the visible unity of the Church.

30. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

a) receive the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and the report of the consultation, that marked the forty years of collaboration, and express its appreciation to the members of the JWG for their work in the period 1999 - 2006;

b) endorse the recommendations for future direction made by the Joint Working Group (pages 28-30 of the Eighth Report), but also ask the Joint Working Group to include in its agenda concrete steps in that context to realize the dreams described in the Moderator's report: a common date for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism, and convening a common ecumenical assembly.

Pentecostal Churches

31. Porto Alegre, Brazil provided a dynamic setting for the Ninth Assembly to receive the Report from the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostal Churches (Doc. 6.2 and Assembly Programme Book pp. 169 - 173), which the PRC forwards to the Assembly with appreciation for the work of that Group. This six-year effort is an example of efforts of the WCC to broaden the Council and the ecumenical movement and to respond to the dynamically changing landscape of Christian expression, whilst being mindful of the ecclesial realities that makes formal partnerships difficult. The PRC appreciates the extraordinary effort that has accompanied this process to provide the safe ecumenical space for this mutually beneficial open dialogue.

32. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

a) receive the Report of the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostals (Programme Book, pages 169 - 173) including the recommendations and the direction for future work, and express its appreciation to the members of the Joint Consultative Group for their work in the period 2000 - 2005;

b) include the Pentecostal churches, particularly young people, in programmes of ecumenical formation, including at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

Global Christian Forum

33. The Harare Assembly affirmed the proposal that the WCC facilitate the process identified in the Common Understanding and Vision document as the " Forum proposal". This process has included a series of meetings preparatory to gathering a broader representation of Christian churches than currently are members in the WCC for consultation on issues common to all Christian churches and inter-church organizations. Several regional consultations have taken place, with participation from a wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches not represented in the WCC, the Roman Catholic Church and from representatives of WCC member churches, gathering together at a global level representatives of all four main streams of Christianity. Demonstrating the timeliness of this initiative, given the changing global Christian landscape and to enhance a common Christian witness and solidarity in a fractured world, the Global Christian Forum process offers a fluid model of initiatives that can be facilitated by the WCC to welcome broader participation in the ecumenical journey.

34. The PRC noted the tension that will continue to be present as the WCC proceeds on the one hand to deepen its relationships among the member churches and explore the areas of theological convergence and divergence, while on the other hand encountering with ecclesial challenges presented by engaging with the broader Christian community. The committee reaffirms the centrality of the fellowship of member churches, the Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC, and the particular accomplishments of the Special Commission in deepening the relationships among the member churches, and notes the urgent need for the WCC to continue to facilitate gathering the broader Christian community in consultation and dialogue.

35. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

a) receive the report on the Global Christian Forum (Programme Book, pages 164 - 168) ) including the direction for future work and to express its appreciation to the organizers of the consultations and the forum event;

b) instruct that the WCC participate in the global forum event scheduled to take place in late 2007, and following that event to conduct a formal and comprehensive evaluation of the concept and the process.

Relationships with Other Faiths

36. The WCC has committed itself to engaging in dialogue with partners of other faiths that is aimed at building trust, articulating common values, promoting mutual understanding, meeting common challenges and addressing conflictive and divisive issues. Interreligious dialogue is now more than ever an expression of the Council's essential identity engaging in the world, diffusing tensions, peacemaking, protecting human dignity and the rights of religious minorities. The PRC appreciates the strong reaffirmation of this work of the Council that was contained in the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary and concurs that forming and deepening constructive, respectful, intentional relationships with others in this pluralistic world is one of the most important efforts the WCC can model for its ecumenical partners and for member churches at the international and the grassroots levels.

Relationships with Nations and World Events

37. The WCC expresses its fellowship by engaging in the world as we have been called by Jesus Christ to engage the world - as witnesses to His love. The WCC is in a unique position to articulate values that signify human dignity. The WCC has made a mark in its history by providing prophetic response to this calling. Participants in the Ninth Assembly were moved by the various plenary presentations and interactions with the local churches to recommit to engage together with issues of economic justice and globalization, to fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, to reaffirm solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and to promote a culture of peace through the programmes of the Decade to Overcome Violence. The PRC acknowledges the essential significance of the work of the WCC interacting as the voice of Christian churches with secular world bodies. The PRC recognizes the significance of this expression of the WCC's responsibility for the churches toward the world as a privileged instrument of the ecumenical movement.

Conclusion

38. The PRC received with deep appreciation the reports of the General Secretary and the Moderator of the WCC, and thanks the Moderator, especially on this occasion of his final report to an Assembly of the WCC as Moderator, for his years of dedicated leadership of the WCC.

39. The PRC received with deep gratitude for these efforts the various reports of efforts to initiate, maintain and deepen the relationships of the WCC with its member churches, with its ecumenical partners, and with other Christian Churches with deep gratitude. It suggests a full and closer reading by anyone involved in the ecumenical movement. Recommendations from those reports are offered as recommendations of the PRC with the understanding that priority be given to programmes that strengthen the WCC in the search for visible unity, enhance its ability to represent the member churches, and build new bridges for relationships and trust with other Christian churches not currently within its fellowship.

40. We give thanks to God for our relationships with Christian World Communions, the Roman Catholic and Pentecostal Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, Specialized Ministries, and the emerging Global Christian Forum. We call on them all to join in a fresh commitment with the WCC and one another to create a renewed and unified ecumenical movement as we begin the third millennium of Christian history that will strengthen and deepen the fellowship of churches and enable us to be faithful in our common calling to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

***

Report of the Policy Reference Committee (revised)
22 February 2006

Mandate and Overview

1. "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5)

The ecumenical movement, inspired by the Holy Spirit, seeks to promote the renewal of our churches and God's whole creation as integral to the growth towards unity. It is in this broad framework that the Policy Reference Committee (PRC) did its work.

2. The PRC has been asked to work in an integrated way with the Programme Guidelines Committee and Public Issues Committee of the Assembly to offer one coherent outcome within their three reports that will guide future policies and the programmatic work of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The PRC was specifically directed to consider the changing ecclesial context and the relational dynamics in the wider ecumenical movement while proposing policy guidelines for the future on the fundamental and strategic questions of relationships.

3. The reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary were received with appreciation by the PRC, in particular, the deeply spiritual tone of both reports reflecting upon the theme of the Assembly "God in your grace, transform the world". The vision for the Ninth Assembly and also for the ecumenical movement in the twenty-first century derives from our self-understanding as a faithful, praying community of Christians dedicated to witnessing to the world together, in relationship with one another by the grace of God. The quest for the visible unity of the church remains at the heart of the WCC.

4. Our ultimate vision is that we will achieve, by God s grace, the visible unity of Christ's Church and will be able to welcome one another at the Lord's table, to reconcile our ministries, and to be committed together to the reconciliation of the world. We must never lose sight of this dream, and we must take concrete steps now to make it a reality. The report of the Moderator articulated specific hopes and dreams related to work already begun around (i) the common date for Easter, (ii) Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, and (iii) preparations for a single ecumenical assembly, dreams that echo those stated by the founders of the WCC.

5. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly set as its goal that we will have made substantial progress towards realizing these hopes and dreams by the Tenth Assembly. Witness to the world of the progress made toward visible unity can include agreement among all of the Christian churches for calculation of the annual date for celebration of the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, for mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism, understanding that there are some who do not observe the rite of Baptism in water but share in the desire to be faithful to Christ, and for convening an ecumenical assembly that would assemble all churches to celebrate their fellowship in Jesus Christ and to address common challenges facing the church and humanity -- all on the way toward visible unity and a shared Eucharist.

Emerging trends in the life of the churches and their ecumenical implications

Ecumenical Relationships in the Twenty-first Century

6. Understanding the rapid and radical changes in the shape of global Christianity and the life of the churches is essential to addressing the shape of ecumenical relationships in the twenty-first century. The PRC suggests that a report, on changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts, be prepared and updated on a regular basis in advance of meetings of the Central Committee during the next period.

7. The Assembly was called upon by the General Secretary to put "relationships in the centre of the ecumenical movement". The PRC echoes this call, understanding the creative tension that exists at the various levels of relationship engaged by the WCC, particularly between being a fellowship while also responding to the changing ecumenical landscape and responding to the world.

8. The process of reconfiguring the ecumenical movement is in large part an effort to "choreograph" the intricate relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and new ecumenical partners, so that clarity, transparency, communication and cooperative efforts mark those relationships, allowing the ecumenical movement as a whole to offer to the world and to the regions and local churches the coherent grace-filled spiritual message of Christianity. The PRC took note of the messages coming from many sources gathered in the Ninth Assembly, as well as the theme at the heart of the Assembly. The process that has been called "reconfiguration" should be understood not as patching up the existing ecumenical structures, but as a dynamic process to deepen the relationship of the ecumenical movement to its spiritual roots and missionary identity, reaffirm the relationship of the ecumenical instruments to the churches, clarify the relationships among the various ecumenical instruments and ensuring that the message and the effort be coordinated and coherent.

9. The PRC noted with appreciation the efforts toward this end, including the two consultations that have taken place with broad participation, the mapping process that described the various ecumenical actors, the recommendations that resulted from those consultations, as well as the continuing dynamic, inclusive dialogue that has followed from that work.

10. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) call upon the member churches, and ecumenical instruments, to encourage the WCC in its role as leader of the process engaging the wider ecumenical movement in constructive collaboration (reconfiguration), including WCC member churches, Christian World Communions, Regional Ecumenical Organizations, National Councils of Churches, World Mission Bodies, Specialized Agencies, as well as Christian churches not currently in membership in the WCC, in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current status of the ecumenical movement and offer strategies for enhancing the strengths and addressing the weaknesses;

b) affirm the appointment of a continuation committee as recommended during the consultation on Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century° (Chavannes-de-Bogis, December 2004) that will report to the Central Committee to continue this process during this next term maintaining a primary role for the member churches;

c) request that the WCC explores the implications of new forms of mission and ecumenism for the reconfiguration process, building on the method and results of the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, Athens (2005).

Strengthening and Deepening the WCC and Relationships among Member Churches

Who We Are and How We Work Together

11. The Common Understanding and Vision document (CUV) serves as a foundational statement of the nature of the fellowship among the member churches of the WCC and as the churches relate to other ecumenical partners. The committee affirms the centrality of this statement, urges that the CUV be more fully incorporated into the life and witness of the WCC at all levels, and continue to guide the programmatic work and relationships of the WCC.

12. The report of the General Secretary to the Ninth Assembly articulated urgent calls for deep change - not incremental change - in the way the WCC conducts its work during the next term. The most important is the call by the General Secretary for "a more integrated and interactive approach to programmes and for relationships" in the Council's future work. In the spirit of this report, therefore, the PRC recommends to the Assembly that the Assembly instruct the General Secretary, in consultation with the Central Committee, to implement clear and consistent changes to the working style, organizational structure and staffing of the WCC necessary to meet the current and future challenges to the ecumenical movement. The PRC is particularly interested in ensuring that all programmes, consultations, visits or statements initiated by the WCC are integrated and coordinated with the work being undertaken by staff in other programme areas.

13. The PRC affirms the importance of providing possibilities for young adults to participate in meaningful decision-making roles both in the churches and in the WCC, and urges that member churches provide additional opportunities for their young adults to benefit from ecumenical formation, including theological training at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

14. In light of the meeting of the Moderator and the General Secretary with young adult delegates to the Ninth Assembly, and the Statement on Youth Contribution delivered to the Assembly, the PRC recommends that the Assembly direct the Central Committee to create a representative body of young adults who would coordinate the various roles of young adults connected to the WCC and facilitate communication between them. Such a body would create space for a meaningful participation of young adults in the life and decision making of the WCC, and would be able to hold the WCC accountable to its goals regarding young adults.

15. The PRC noted the persistence of references to "persons with disabilities" which can be an acknowledgment of their absence in leadership and in decision making processes.. The PRC will, however, note that this can serve to mark the continuing marginalisation of those persons. carrying different abilities The PRC recommends that the WCC work with representatives of the Ecumenical Disabilities Advocates Network to articulate in an even more bold and creative way, consistent with Christian theology ways to make the churches fully inclusive communities and the ecumenical movement a more open space for all human beings.

16. The PRC affirms the recent actions of the Central Committee on human rights, Indigenous Peoples and language loss The PRC recommends to the Assembly to strengthen the participation and visibility of Indigenous Peoples within the WCC. The PRC considers this an essential step for deepening the relationships among WCC member churches. The PRC in particular urges the WCC to address the main areas which are problematic for Indigenous churches in its policy directions. The PRC considers strengthening relationships with Indigenous Peoples an opportunity for the fellowship to gain new insights on the importance of place, land, language and theology of creation, as well as creative perspectives on grace and transformation.

17. The PRC appreciates the new consensus style of discernment for reaching decisions in the WCC and notes the opportunity this offers to the churches. A particular concern was expressed that the length of the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary on the one hand, and the schedule of the Assembly on the other, limited meaningful discussion despite the stated goals of the consensus process, either during the presentation plenary or in committee. The PRC suggests that the shift to consensus process in decision-making also requires changes in methodology and process in order to create adequate space for consensus to occur. This requires an evaluation of current models of reporting.

18. The Central Committee engaged in a process of self-evaluation in the months immediately preceding the Ninth Assembly. The PRC thanks those who conducted that evaluation and receives with appreciation the report of the Evaluation Committee. The PRC suggests that clear mechanisms for planning and evaluation of the programmes and work and for transparent and mutually accountable working methods between the WCC and its member churches be established in advance of the second full meeting of the Central Committee, with particular attention to evaluating the transition to consensus and its consequences for working methods.

Relationships among Member Churches

19. Work of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC marked this past term of the WCC. The PRC affirms this important achievement of the Council that deepens the relationships among member churches and helps dispel misperceptions between families of churches. In particular, the Committee urges the WCC to stress the importance of this work as it implements the policies adopted by the Central Committee, grows into the consensus process of discernment for decision-making, and engages in the reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement. The committee welcomed the revisions to the Constitution and Rules of the WCC, including especially the new ways of relating to one another in our work as member churches working towards consensus in discerning ways to work together, clarified understanding of membership in the WCC, and the new opportunities for relationship to the WCC through the category of "churches in association with the WCC."

20. The PRC noted that each new term of the Central Committee provides an opportunity for informal encounters between and among representatives of member churches, to deepen understanding of the ecclesial commonalities and particularities of each member church. The PRC urges the WCC to make space for this type of interaction at every opportunity, to encourage the practice of "Living Letters" that provides an opportunity for personal encounters with churches in their own contexts, so that the churches come to know one another, and to encourage local collaborative consultations of Faith and Order documents.

21. The PRC also urges the WCC to listen to the member churches and strive towards greater coherence in the various relations with them, increasing cooperation, exchange of information and consultation among all involved persons (including WCC staff) and ecumenical partners.

The Call to be the One Church

22. The PRC has received with deep appreciation the document entitled Called to be the One Church (the Ecclesiology Text) and recommends that the Assembly

a) adopt the Ecclesiology Text as an invitation and challenge to the member churches to renew their commitment to the search for unity and to deepen their dialogue;

b) call upon each member church to respond to the ten questions at the conclusion of the Ecclesiology Text with the expectation that, by the Tenth Assembly, each member church will have so responded;

c) direct the WCC, through the commission on Faith and Order, to prepare periodic reports to the Central Committee of the number and content of responses received, so that responses can inform the direction of work towards deepening the understanding among member churches and furthering progress towards the visible unity of the Church. Such a process would go some way to addressing the fundamental ecclesiological issues raised by the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC.

Relationships with Ecumenical Partners

Christian World Communions

23. The WCC is strengthened by interaction with the Christian World Communions. Its spirituality, witness, and work are enhanced by cooperative efforts with Christian World Communions towards building Christian unity. Multi-lateral and bi-lateral dialogues have contributed to a number of unity agreements and have enhanced understanding and cooperation among churches. Cooperative efforts in areas of witness, mission, diakonia and ecumenical formation are integral to the life of the WCC. The importance of strengthening this relationship is articulated in the Common Understanding and Vision document and affirmed by the Harare Assembly.

24. The PRC notes that the various structures and self-understanding of the Christian World Communions and of the member churches of the WCC results in a variety of ways of relating to the WCC, and welcomes the ongoing relationship with the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions, whilst recognizing that not all member churches find themselves represented in this body. Some Christian World Communions and the General Secretary have called for new ways of relating CWCS to the WCC, including new possibilities related to future WCC Assemblies, expanded space in the structure of WCC Assemblies for confessional meetings, and the vision ultimately of a broadly inclusive ecumenical assembly.

25. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

a) affirm the important specific role and place of the Christian World Communions in the ecumenical movement and as partners of the WCC, and particularly acknowledges the importance of the role of Christian World Communions in both multi-lateral and bilateral dialogues and reconfiguration of the ecumenical movement;

b) direct that the WCC jointly consult with the Christian World Communions to explore the significance and implications of overlap of membership, coordination of programmes, and other common efforts between the WCC and the Christian World Communions;

c) direct that the WCC initiate, within the next year and in consultation with the Christian World Communions, a joint consultative commission to discuss and recommend ways to further strengthen the participation of Christian World Communions in the WCC;

d) direct that the WCC explore the feasibility of a structure for WCC assemblies that would provide expanded space for Christian World Communions and confessional families to meet, for the purpose of deliberation and/or overall agendas. Early in the term of this next central committee, a decision would be expected as to whether the next WCC Assembly should be so structured-

e) direct that United and Uniting churches be included in this process.

Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches

26. The Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches worldwide comprise expressions of the ecumenical movement with a wide variety of structures and varying degrees of relationship with the work and programmes of the WCC. These independently constituted organizations have a composition of membership that is broader than that of the WCC, some including as full members representatives of bishop's conferences of the Roman Catholic Church and Evangelical and Pentecostal churches that are not members of the WCC. The current relationship between the WCC, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, is mutually enriching and important to their common work and witness to the world, yet lacks clarity as to the specific character, role and particular strengths of each ecumenical instrument and the relationship of each to the local churches, and also lacks coherence of common vision and cooperative efforts.

27. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

affirm the specific and important relationship between the WCC and the Regional Ecumenical Organizations and the National Councils of Churches as essential partners in the work of the ecumenical movement;

encourage the WCC to continue to facilitate the annual meetings of leaders of Regional Ecumenical Organizations in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, and (iv) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, the process to be overseen by the continuation committee formed following the consultation on Ecumenism in the Twenty-first Century (Chavannes-de-Bogis, 2004);
endorse the recommendation of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC that the WCC and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity be asked to cosponsor a consultation of representatives of National Councils of Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and episcopal conferences from places where the Roman Catholic Church is not in membership. The consultation should consider the document "Inspired by the Same Vision" and reflect on the experience others have gleaned regarding Catholic participation;

direct that this consultation be held within the next two to four years, in order to (i) bring more clarity to the specific character of each ecumenical instrument, (ii) improve the process of consultation, particularly in areas in which work and programmes might overlap and where statements or efforts of the WCC might have particularly sensitive local ramifications, (iii) articulate an agreement of shared values, (iv) enhance relationships with the Roman Catholic Church by inviting the leadership of national bishops' conferences, and (v) improve cooperation in programming and coherence of message so that each instrument of the ecumenical movement is undertaking the programmes and tasks most effectively suited to their strengths, on the principle of subsidiarity, that is, ensuring that decisions are made closest to the people affected, and with the priority that programmes are preferable when they interconnect with regional, national or local initiatives.

Specialized Ministries and Agencies Related to the WCC

28. The PRC received with interest and for information a report of the proposal (PEAD) for a new alliance of churches and church and ecumenical agencies engaged in development work, and understands that the formation of such a global alliance and its identity as an agency related to the WCC and its member churches, and/or related to the work of Action by Churches Together (ACT) and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), is still in progress.

29. The PRC recommends that the Assembly:

affirm with appreciation the work and role of Specialized Ministries and their relationship to the WCC and to the diaconal work of the WCC and the member churches;

ask the WCC to continue its leadership role in exploring with the agencies which have proposed the new alliance the most appropriate structure for that alliance to take in relating to the other ecumenical partners, particularly as the alliance would relate to and serve the specific diaconal tasks of member churches and relate to ACT and other existing ecumenical instruments, including Regional Ecumenical Organizations, taking into account the priorities that have been articulated;

direct that the Central Committee encourages the continuing leadership role of the WCC in relation to this proposal.

Relationships with other Christian Churches

The Roman Catholic Church

30. The PRC received with appreciation the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and acknowledges with deep appreciation the past forty years of collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC. Since the Second Vatican Council, major studies have resulted from this joint effort, deepening the mutual understanding and the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the churches of the WCC. Joint responsibility for preparing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, full membership in the commissions on Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, provision for staff in areas of mission and at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute have enhanced that collaboration, even while the Roman Catholic Church declines membership in the WCC. The member churches of the WCC continue to encourage and hope for an even more organic relationship with the Roman Catholic Church in the quest towards the visible unity of the Church.

31. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

receive the Eighth Report of the Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC and the report of the consultation, that marked the forty years of collaboration, and express its appreciation to the members of the JWG for their work in the period 1999 - 2006;

endorse the continuation of the Joint Working Group and its recommendations for future direction (pages 28-30 of the Eighth Report), but also ask the Joint Working Group, working with Faith and Order, to include in their agendas concrete steps in that context to realize the dreams described in the Moderator's report: for a common date for the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and mutual recognition by all churches of one Baptism understanding that there are some who do not observe the rite of Baptism in water but share in the desire to be faithful to Christ, and convening a common ecumenical assembly, including offering ways to deepen the theological basis of all ecumenical work and engage in work that towards resolution of the theological divergences that still keep us apart.

Pentecostal Churches

32. Porto Alegre, Brazil provided a dynamic setting for the Ninth Assembly to receive the Report from the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostal Churches (Doc. 6.2 and Assembly Programme Book pp. 169 - 173), which the PRC forwards to the Assembly with appreciation for the work of that Group. This six-year effort is an example of efforts of the WCC to broaden the Council and the ecumenical movement and to respond to the dynamically changing landscape of Christian expression, whilst being mindful of the ecclesial realities that makes formal partnerships difficult. The PRC appreciates the extraordinary effort that has accompanied this process to provide the safe ecumenical space for this mutually beneficial open dialogue.

33. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

a) receive the Report of the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostals (Programme Book, pages 169 - 173) including the recommendations and the direction for future work, and express its appreciation to the members of the Joint Consultative Group for their work in the period 2000 - 2005, and endorse the continuation of the Joint Consultative Group;

c) recognize the visible contribution of the Pentecostal churches in the dynamically changing Christian landscape, and the importance to the ecumenical movement of engaging in mutual learning and sustained dialogue with the Pentecostal churches.

Global Christian Forum

34. The Harare Assembly affirmed the proposal that the WCC facilitate the process identified in the Common Understanding and Vision document as the " Forum proposal". This process has included a series of meetings preparatory to gathering a broader representation of Christian churches than currently are members in the WCC for consultation on issues common to all Christian churches and inter-church organizations. Several regional consultations have taken place, with participation from a wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches not represented in the WCC, the Roman Catholic Church and from representatives of WCC member churches, gathering together at a global level representatives of all four main streams of Christianity. Demonstrating the timeliness of this initiative, given the changing global Christian landscape and to enhance a common Christian witness and solidarity in a fractured world, the Global Christian Forum process offers a fluid model of initiatives that can be facilitated by the WCC to welcome broader participation in the ecumenical journey.

35. The PRC noted the tension that will continue to be present as the WCC proceeds on the one hand to deepen its relationships among the member churches and explore the areas of theological convergence and divergence, while on the other hand encountering with ecclesial challenges presented by engaging with the broader Christian community. The committee reaffirms the centrality of the fellowship of member churches, the Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC, and the particular accomplishments of the Special Commission in deepening the relationships among the member churches, and notes the urgent need for the WCC to continue to facilitate gathering the broader Christian community in consultation and dialogue.

36. The PRC recommends that the Ninth Assembly:

receive the report on the Global Christian Forum (Programme Book, pages 164 - 168) ) including the direction for future work and to express its appreciation to the organizers of the consultations and the forum event;

instruct that the WCC participate in the global forum event scheduled to take place in late 2007, and following that event to conduct a formal and comprehensive evaluation of the concept and the process.

Relationships with Other Faiths

37. The WCC has committed itself to engaging in dialogue with partners of other faiths that is aimed at building trust, articulating common values, promoting mutual understanding, meeting common challenges and addressing conflictive and divisive issues. Interreligious dialogue is now more than ever an expression of the Council's essential identity engaging in the world, diffusing tensions, peacemaking, protecting human dignity and the rights of religious minorities. The PRC appreciates the strong reaffirmation of this work of the Council that was contained in the reports of the Moderator and the General Secretary and concurs that forming and deepening constructive, respectful, intentional relationships with others in this pluralistic world is one of the most important efforts the WCC can model for its ecumenical partners and for member churches at the international and the grassroots levels.

Relationships with Nations and World Events

38. The WCC expresses its fellowship by engaging in the world as we have been called by Jesus Christ to engage the world - as witnesses to His love. The WCC is in a unique position to articulate values that signify human dignity. The WCC has made a mark in its history by providing prophetic response to this calling. Participants in the Ninth Assembly were moved by the various plenary presentations and interactions with the local churches to recommit to engage together with issues of economic justice and globalization, to fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, to reaffirm solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS and to promote a culture of peace through the programmes of the Decade to Overcome Violence. The PRC acknowledges the essential significance of the work of the WCC interacting as the voice of Christian churches with secular world bodies. The PRC recognizes the significance of this expression of the WCC's responsibility for the churches toward the world as a privileged instrument of the ecumenical movement.

Conclusion

39. The PRC received with deep appreciation the reports of the General Secretary and the Moderator of the WCC, and thanks the Moderator, especially on this occasion of his final report to an Assembly of the WCC as Moderator, for his years of dedicated leadership of the WCC.

40. The PRC received with deep gratitude the various reports of efforts to initiate, maintain and deepen the relationships of the WCC with its member churches, with its ecumenical partners, and with other Christian Churches. It suggests a full and closer reading by anyone involved in the ecumenical movement. Recommendations from those reports are offered as recommendations of the PRC with the understanding that priority be given to programmes that strengthen the WCC in the search for visible unity, enhance its ability to represent the member churches, and build new bridges for relationships and trust with other Christian churches not currently within its fellowship.

41. We give thanks to God for our relationships with Christian World Communions, the Roman Catholic and Pentecostal Churches, Regional Ecumenical Organizations and National Councils of Churches, Specialized Ministries, and the emerging Global Christian Forum. We request that the Assembly call on them all to join in a fresh commitment with the WCC and one another to create a renewed and unified ecumenical movement as we begin the third millennium of Christian history that will strengthen and deepen the fellowship of churches and enable us to be faithful in our common calling to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

***

Report of the Programme Guidelines Committee

Report of the Programme Guidelines Committee (as adopted)
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Programme Guidelines Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

I. Introduction

1. One of the primary tasks of each Assembly of the World Council of Churches is to review the work and activities of the Council since its last Assembly and to set directions and priorities for the Council's programme in the future.

2. The Programme Guidelines Committee (PGC) of this Assembly has taken its tasks seriously, using as a starting point the report From Harare to Porto Alegre, the Pre-Assembly Programme Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee, and a background paper, entitled "A Changing World," prepared by WCC staff. Each of the PGC members also attended an Ecumenical Conversation to listen to Assembly delegates about future WCC priorities. Finally, the PGC shared in dialogue and reflection on the reports of the Moderator, the General Secretary, the thematic plenaries, hearing sessions, and many suggestions and ideas coming from Mutirão participants and constituency groups seeking to discern the mind of the Assembly and the call of God related to the unique role of the WCC within the ecumenical movement.

3. In presenting this report, the PGC has been aware that the work of the Policy Reference Committee has reviewed, and will address, several important programme initiatives since the Harare Assembly related to strengthening and deepening relationships among the member churches (e.g., the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC), with ecumenical partners, and with other Christian churches (e.g., the Joint Working Group with the Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostals, etc.).

4. While the wealth of the input gathered by the PGC cannot be included in our Report to the Assembly, substantive documentation - including the reports from the 22 Ecumenical Conversations; the statements coming from constituency groups (youth, Indigenous Peoples, and persons with disabilities); the various proposals on specific issues from Mutirao workshops - will be referred to future governing bodies of the WCC in the important work of developing specific future programmes for the WCC. That documentation will inform them in their task of translating the broad policy directions included in this Report into programme.

Resolution:

5. The Ninth Assembly receives with appreciation the report From Harare to Porto Alegre and the "Pre-Assembly Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee"1.

II. The Context of Our Work

6. The Porto Alegre Assembly has taken place against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. It is on this stage, even as the drama of changing contexts unfolds, that the churches are called to fulfill their mission and calling. Changes are taking place everywhere, and all are related: the changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts (including church geography, statistics, and secularization), as well as the changing political, economic and social contexts (including growing inequalities, environmental destruction, migration, violence and terror). These changes present immense challenges to the churches and to the WCC that call for courageous visions of hope and greater commitment to make visible God's gift of unity and reconciliation in Christ before our divided churches, societies, and world. We were greatly encouraged by how our Latin American hosts presented their history of struggle and hope in responding to the challenges their continent is facing. However, concerns were expressed about the marginalization of Indigenous Peoples and Afrodescendants in the life of the church and in society in Latin America.

7. We have been reminded that, "A divided church cannot have a credible witness in a broken world; it cannot stand against the disintegrating and disorienting forces of globalization and enter into meaningful dialogue with the world" (Moderator's Report, Para 17). We turn to God and pray, "God, in your grace, transform our lives, our churches, our nations and world". All programmes and activities of the WCC are thus to be responsive to this changing context in seeking to be a faithful expression of God's justice, peace, care for creation, healing, reconciliation and salvation: the "fullness" of life for all.
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III. Our Vision and Our Goals

8. In its work at this first WCC Assembly in the 21st century, the PGC reaffirmed the stated purpose and functions of the WCC (as expressed in the Constitution, para. III.) as the basis for its work: "The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe." In addition, that paragraph affirms as goals of the Council that it will:

• promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue and the sharing of human, spiritual and material resources with one another;

• facilitate common witness; express their commitment to diakonia in serving human need;

• nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness;

• assist each other in relationships to and with people of other faiths; and,

• foster renewal and growth through unity, worship, mission and service.

9. These purposes and functions demonstrate the breadth of the vision of the WCC, and provide a foundation for the programmatic work of the Council.

Resolution:

10. The Ninth Assembly re-affirms the document "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC" (referred to in From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp. 175-181) as an expression of the vision of the WCC as a fellowship of churches and as a servant of the one ecumenical movement. Ways need to be found to make the content of the CUV document more accessible and understandable in order to facilitate greater ownership by the churches and by the ecumenical movement at large.

IV. Guiding Principles and Methodological Recommendations

11. Building upon the very helpful material and recommendations in the "Programme Evaluation Report from the 2005 Central Committee" (referred to in From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp.203-216), and receiving a strong and sobering recommendation from the Finance Committee of this Assembly related to the anticipated financial situation of the WCC in the coming years, the PGC identified seven basic principles to guide the WCC in setting its programme priorities in the future:

• to keep its focus upon what the WCC uniquely might do as a global fellowship of churches in providing leadership to the whole of the ecumenical movement;

• to do less, to do it well, in an integrated, collaborative and interactive approach;

• to lift up its central task of the churches calling one another to visible unity;

• to keep in tension the work of dialogue and advocacy, of building relationships and promoting social witness among churches and with different sectors in society;

• to foster greater ownership and participation by the churches in building as much as possible on initiatives of the churches and partner organizations;

• to bring a prophetic voice and witness to the world in addressing the urgent and turbulent issues of our times in a focused way;

• to communicate WCC activities to the churches and the world in a timely and imaginative way.

12. The PGC also identified several methodological elements in defining how future WCC life and work would be carried out, including:

• articulating a clear theological basis for all of its work;

• developing a comprehensive planning, monitoring and evaluation process that will include a clear time-line and goals;

• designing a strategy for communication, engagement and ownership by the churches;

• facilitating the coordinating role of the WCC in seeking partnerships in networking and advocacy with other ecumenical organizations, including Christian World Communions, REOs, NCCs, Specialized Ministries, faith-based organizations, and NGOs (as appropriate) - with the hope that many of these programmes can be implemented in collaborative ways of working;

• encouraging capacity-building of member churches and ecumenical partners;

• accompanying churches and peoples in critical situations and enabling and facilitating their action.

Resolution:

13. The Ninth Assembly endorses these guiding principles and methodological elements as the basis for establishing the Council's future programme priorities.

V. Major Areas of Engagement

14. In light of the changing context, the vision and purpose of the WCC, and the guiding principles and methodological elements, the PGC offers four major interactive "areas of engagement" for shaping the future life and work of the Council. Each of these emphases is already reflected in the current programmes of the WCC. What is being proposed here is that there be greater integration among the programmes and standing Commissions (Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, International Affairs), while exploring greater collaboration with current ecumenical partners and specialized ministries in development of these emphases in the future.

15. Three additional words of introduction to these areas of engagement:

• The PGC strongly endorses promoting ecumenical leadership development of youth in the life of the WCC, including the full participation of youth in all programmes of the WCC. Their voices, concerns and presence must be brought more directly into the decision-making and leadership of the work and governance of the Council.

• The PGC continues to affirm and celebrate the role and contributions of women in all areas and arenas in the life of the WCC, and endorses the continued participation of women in the whole of the WCC.

• The PGC urges that the WCC seek the full inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Dalits, people of African descent, persons with disabilities and marginalized people all over the world in its life, work and decision-making.

Unity, Spirituality and Mission

16. Seeking unity and engaging in common mission and evangelism have been foundational elements in the ecumenical movement. New understandings of both unity and mission have continued to develop in the life of the WCC as member churches have engaged each other in responding to their growing relationships and expanding encounter with the diversity of theologies, ecclesiologies, and traditions. Future work in the area of mission and evangelism should engage the churches in their commitment to explore new forms of church ways of ecclesial life, fresh ways of experiencing the Christian faith, and the discovery of new contextual ways of proclaiming the gospel, including a critique of competitive missional activities.

17. Here at in Porto Alegre, the need of the WCC and its member churches to focus upon the nature of Christian spirituality and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and the world has become ever more urgent and obvious, both for the integrity of our work for visible unity and in our mission to the world. Unity, spirituality and mission are interrelated, and their mutuality is dependent upon each receiving distinct and dedicated attention by the WCC and its member churches.

Ecumenical Formation

18. One of the issues that challenges the whole of the ecumenical movement today is that of ecumenical formation. As reported by the General Secretary in his report to this Assembly, "If contemporary Christians, including the church leadership, are to participate creatively and responsibly in the search for unity, and grow together, appropriate means of ecumenical formation must be offered to enable better, richer contributions to our common life." This is especially true for the students, young adults, laity and women in our churches as they increasingly take on leadership roles in the ecumenical movement for the 21st century.

19. The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the WCC was highlighted as a model for ecumenical formation, especially in its efforts in recent years in expanding its programme to include evangelicals and Pentecostals in its courses and seminars, as well as reaching out to provide greater inter-religious encounter. Providing a platform for churches and ecumenical partners working on challenges of science and technology to faith in cooperation with other parts of the WCC could be another opportunity. These trends are suggestive of the way forward, and a cause of hope.

20. Ecumenical formation also includes the role of the WCC in creating "safe spaces" for cross-cultural and cross-theological encounter as to engage in honest encounter around issues that divide our churches and our communities, in particular, to continue the dialogue on issues issues such as family life and human sexuality. related to human sexuality.

Global Justice

21. Throughout this Assembly there has been the urgent call to work together in the ecumenical movement for a dynamic, global understanding of justice. Justice requires transformation of relationships at all levels of life in society and in nature towards life in dignity in just and sustainable communities ([transformative justice):]

• responding to those who suffer the consequences of injustice, racism and casteism,

• denouncing the scandal of a world divided along lines of wealth and poverty and contributing to the transformation of unjust economic and social structures,

• integrating the care of creation and, faith perspectives and the use and mis-use of science and new technologies such as bio-technologies, information technologies, surveillance and security technologies, energy technologies, etc.,

• challenging and facilitating the church's response to HIV/AIDS,

• including a clear voice in prophetic diakonia as an inseparable part of Christian identity and witness to societies, starting from life in family and community,

• engaging in efforts and processes aiming at conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Such work will require the WCC and its member churches "to re-direct our programmes toward more intentionally building truly inclusive and just communities which safeguard diversity, where different identities and unity interact, and where the rights and obligations of all are fully respected in love and fellowship" (Report of General Secretary, p. 14).

Public Voice and Prophetic Witness to the World

22. In fulfilling its historic responsibility on behalf of its member churches, the WCC is challenged to be a strong, credible ethical voice as it offers a prophetic witness to the world. This voice and witness must be spiritually and theologically grounded if the churches are to be heard among competing voices in the world. Churches have a contribution to make to strengthen cooperative multilateral icooperation and the international rule of law in dealing with human rights, militarism and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

23. At this Assembly the urgent need for churches and the WCC to engage in inter-religious cooperation and dialogue was strongly affirmed. In its future engagement with other religions, it is important for the WCC to continue its work in the context of religious plurality and to further develop , and not simply a dialogue and common action related to political social, theological or ethical issues.

24. This Assembly marked the mid-term of the initiative launched at the Harare Assembly on the Decade to Overcome Violence. For the second half of the decade, the PGC affirmed that the style of networking local and regional initiatives in peace-making should increasingly shape the WCC's programmatic life and work. In addition to the regional foci, the DOV should be attentive to situations of deep crisis, such as Northern Uganda and Haiti.

Resolution:

25. The Ninth Assembly affirms these four areas of engagement in shaping the WCC's future life and work.

Resolution:

26. In particular, in regard to specific programme areas that have been identified in pursuing these four "areas of engagement", the Ninth Assembly:

• affirms that comprehensive attention be given to unity, spirituality, and mission, both theologically and practically. The WCC and its member churches are encouraged to address the sharp ecclesiological questions set out in the report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, and to give priority to the questions of unity, catholicity, baptism and prayer.

• encourages churches on local, national, regional and global levels to commit themselves to the task of continuing ecumenical formation for all. In this role, the WCC should facilitate and initiate dialogue and possible cooperation between religious and political actors on the role of the church in civil society and between religions in areas of mutual understanding 2.

• affirms that a follow-up of the AGAPE process be undertaken and expanded, in collaboration with other ecumenical partners and organizations, to engage in (1) the work of theological reflection on these issues that arise out of the center of our faith; (2) solid political , economic and social analysis; (3) on-going dialogue between religious, and economic and political actors; and (4) sharing practical, positive approaches from the churches 3.

• in looking to the second second half of the DOV, endorses that the regional foci be continued; that more sharing of successful examples be developed to encourage churches and local congregations to respond to overcoming violence in their own contexts supported by international mutual visits; that a process of wide consultation be undertaken towards developing an ecumenical declaration on "just peace"; and finally, that the conclusion of the DOV be marked by an international Ecumenical Peace Convocation.

VI. Post-Assembly Planning

27. The period between the Assembly and the 2006 Central Committee meeting will be a time of intensive reflection led by the WCC leadership in consultation with churches and key ecumenical partners to receive the policy guidance from the Assembly and shape its programmatic work.

Resolutions:

28. In looking to its task of shaping future programmes for the WCC, the Ninth Assembly approves the following process:

• a working group made up of the leadership of the Assembly's Programme Guidelines Committee, Policy Reference Committee, Public Issues Committee and Finance Committee be asked to accompany the WCC leadership in developing future programme recommendations;

• clear, well-functioning planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms be established for each programme;

• a clear distinction be made between issues that are either of long-term nature, time-bound, or specific urgent;

• a two-way communication strategy be developed for each programme and carried out with the various constituencies;

• clear exit strategies be established in phasing out, reconfiguring, or reshaping programmes taking into account both the limited human and financial resources of the WCC and also the possibilities to cooperate and share responsibility with other ecumenical partners;

• sustained dialogue with member churches and specialized ministries regarding ways of generating additional financial support to programmatic work of the WCC.

29. The Ninth Assembly affirms that WCC should claim a clearer and stronger public profile in its witness to the world. To that effect it is hoped that the WCC will focus its energy and attention on a limited number of issues that cry out for response by the churches together. HIV/AIDS (including the ecclesiological implications of this pandemic in most parts of our world) should be one of these issues.

________________

Notes:

1 Dissent was registered from Bishop Barbel Wartenberg-Potter, delegate from the Evangelical Church in Germany, who feels that the Central Committee's decision on "common prayer" hinders God's Spirit from speaking in diverse and inclusive images and symbols.

2 Dissent was registered from:

Hulda Gudmundsdottir, delegate from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, who wished to insert the words "focusing also on dividing issues such as human sexuality" at the end of the first sentence.

Four delegates who wished to insert the words "focusing especially on youth, women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples, Dalits, and people of African descent" at the end of the first sentence. The four delegates were: Carmen Landsdowne, delegate from the United Church of Canada; Rev. Robina Winbush, Presbyterian Church (USA); Rev. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.; and Mr. David Palopaa, Church of Sweden.

3 Dissent was registered from Herr Klaus Heidel, delegate from the Evangelical Church in Germany, who wished to put the main emphasis of the recommendation on concrete activities and action.

***

Report of the Programme Guidelines Committee (first draft)
14 February 2006

Introduction

1. One of the primary tasks of each Assembly of the World Council of Churches is to review the work and activities of the Council since its last Assembly and to set directions and priorities for the Council's programme in the future.

2. The Programme Guidelines Committee (PGC) of this Assembly has taken its tasks seriously, using as a starting point the report From Harare to Porto Alegre, the Pre-Assembly Programme Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee, and a background paper, entitled "A Changing World," prepared by WCC staff. Each of the PGC members also attended an Ecumenical Conversation to listen to Assembly delegates about future WCC priorities. Finally, the PGC shared in dialogue and reflection on the reports of the Moderator, the General Secretary, the thematic plenaries, hearing sessions, and many suggestions and ideas coming from Mutirao participants and constituency groups seeking to discern the mind of the Assembly and the call of God related to the unique role of the WCC within the ecumenical movement.

3. In presenting this Report, the PGC has been aware that the work of the Policy Reference Committee has reviewed, and will address, several important programme initiatives since the Harare Assembly related to strengthening and deepening relationships among the member churches (e.g., the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC), with ecumenical partners, and with other Christian churches (e.g., the Joint Working Group with the Roman Catholic Church, the Joint Consultative Group with Pentecostals, etc.).

4. While the wealth of the input gathered by the PGC cannot be included in our Report to the Assembly, substantive documentation - including the reports from the 22 Ecumenical Conversations; the statements coming from constituency groups (youth, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, and women); the various proposals on specific issues from Mutirao workshops - will be referred to future governing bodies of the WCC in the important work of developing specific future programmes for the WCC. That documentation will inform them in their task of translating the broad policy directions included in this Report into programme.

5. The PGC recommends that the report From Harare to Porto Alegre and the "Pre-Assembly Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee" be received with appreciation by the 9th Assembly of the WCC.

The Context of Our Work

6. The Porto Alegre Assembly has taken place against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. It is upon this stage, even as the drama of changing contexts unfolds, that the churches are called to fulfill their mission and calling. Changes are taking place on every front, and all are related: the changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts (including church geography, statistics, and secularisation), as well as the changing political, economic and social contexts (including growing inequalities, environmental destruction, violence and terror). These changes present immense challenges to the churches and to the WCC that call for courageous visions of hope and greater commitment to make visible God's gift of unity and reconciliation in Christ before our divided churches, societies, and world. We were greatly encouraged how our Latin American hosts presented their history of struggle and hope in responding to the challenges their continent is facing.

7. We have been reminded that, "A divided church cannot have a credible witness in a broken world; it cannot stand against the disintegrating and disorienting forces of globalization and enter into meaningful dialogue with the world." (Moderator's Report, Para 17). We turn to God and pray, "God, in your grace, transform our lives, our churches, our nations and world." All programmes and activities of the WCC are thus to be responsive to this changing context in seeking to be a faithful expression of God's justice, peace, care for creation, healing, reconciliation and salvation: the "fullness" of life for all.

Our Vision and Our Goals

8. In its discussion and work at this first WCC Assembly in the 21st century, the PGC reaffirmed the stated purpose and functions of the WCC (as expressed in the Constitution, para. III.) as the basis for its work: "The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe." In addition, that paragraph affirms as goals of the Council that it will:

• promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue and the sharing of human, spiritual and material resources with one another;

• facilitate common witness; express their commitment to diakonia in serving human need;

• nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness; assist each other in relationships to and with people of other faiths; and,

• foster renewal and growth through unity, worship, mission and service.

9. These purposes and functions demonstrate the breadth of the vision of the WCC, and provide a foundation for the programmatic work of the Council.

10. The PGC recommends that the 9th Assembly re-affirm the document "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC" (referred to in From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp. 175-181) as an expression of the vision of the WCC as a fellowship of churches and as a servant of the one ecumenical movement. However, the PGC believes ways need to be found to make the content of the CUV document more accessible and understandable in order to facilitate greater ownership by the churches and by the ecumenical movement at large.

Guiding Principles and Methodological Recommendations

11. Building upon the very helpful material and recommendations in the "Programme Evaluation Report from the 2005 Central Committee" (referred to in From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp.203-216), and receiving a strong and sobering recommendation from the Finance Committee of this Assembly related to the anticipated financial situation of the WCC in the coming years, the PGC identified seven basic principles to guide the WCC in setting its programme priorities in the future:

• to keep its focus upon what the WCC uniquely might do as a global fellowship of churches in providing leadership to the whole of the ecumenical movement;

• to do less, to do it well, in an integrated, collaborative and interactive approach;

• to lift up its central task of the churches calling one another to visible unity;

• to keep in tension the work of dialogue and advocacy, of building relationships and promoting social witness among churches and with different sectors in society;

• to foster greater ownership and participation by the churches;

• to bring a prophetic voice and witness to the world in addressing the urgent and turbulent issues of our times in a focused way;

• to communicate WCC activities to the churches and the world in a timely and imaginative way.

12. The PGC also identified several methodological elements in defining how future WCC life and work would be carried out, including:

• articulating a clear theological basis for all of its work;

• developing a comprehensive planning, monitoring and evaluation process that will include a clear time-line and goals;

• designing a strategy for communication, engagement and ownership by the churches;

• facilitating the co-ordinating role of the WCC in seeking partnerships and networking with other ecumenical organizations, including Christian World Communions, REOs, NCCs, Specialised Ministries, faith-based organizations, and NGOs (as appropriate) - with the hope that many of these programmes can be implemented in collaborative ways of working;

• encouraging capacity building of member churches and ecumenical partners.

13. The PGC recommends that the 9th WCC Assembly endorse these guiding principles and methodological elements as the basis for establishing its future programme priorities.

Major Areas of Engagement

14. In light of the changing context, the vision and purpose of the WCC, and the guiding principles and methodological elements, the PGC offers four major interactive "areas of engagement" for shaping the future life and work of the Council. Each of these emphases is already reflected in the current programmes of the WCC. What is being proposed here is that there be greater integration among the current programmes and standing Commissions (Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, International Affairs), while exploring greater collaboration with current ecumenical partners and specialized ministries in development of these emphases in the future.

15. Three additional words of introduction to these areas of engagement:

• The PGC strongly endorses promoting leadership development of youth in the life of the WCC, including the full participation of youth in all future programmes of the WCC. Their voices, concerns and presence must be brought more directly into the decision-making and leadership of the future work and governance of the Council.

• The PGC continues to affirm and celebrate the role and contributions of women in all areas and arenas in the life of the WCC, and endorses the continued participation of women in the whole of the WCC.

• The PGC urges that the WCC seek the full inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Dalits, marginalised people, people of African descent, and persons with disabilities.

Unity, Spirituality and Mission

16. Seeking unity and engaging in common mission and evangelism have been foundational elements in the ecumenical movement. New understandings of both unity and mission have continued to develop in the life of the WCC as member churches have engaged each other in responding to their growing relationships and expanding encounter with the diversity of theologies, ecclesiologies, and traditions.

17. The Harare Assembly spoke of strengthening "an ecumenism of the heart." Here at Porto Alegre, the need of the WCC and its member churches to focus upon the nature of Christian spirituality and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and the world has become ever more urgent and obvious, both for the integrity of our work for visible unity and in our mission to the world. In the coming period, it is proposed that comprehensive attention be given to unity, spirituality, and mission, both theologically and practically. Such focus will deepen the fellowship of the WCC churches and broaden that fellowship to the vast and growing numbers of churches and movements that presently have no relationship with ecumenical bodies.

Ecumenical Formation

18. One of the issues that challenge the whole of the ecumenical movement today is that of ecumenical formation. As said by the General Secretary in his report to this Assembly, "If contemporary Christians, including the church leadership, are to participate creatively and responsibly in the search for unity, and grow together, appropriate means of ecumenical formation must be offered to enable better, richer contributions to our common life." This is especially true for the students, young adults, and women in our churches as they increasingly take on leadership of the ecumenical movement for the 21st century.

19. The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the WCC was highlighted as a model for ecumenical formation, especially in its efforts in recent years expanding its programme to include evangelicals and Pentecostals in its courses and seminars, as well as reaching out to provide greater inter-religious encounter. Providing a platform for churches and ecumenical partners working on challenges of science and technology to faith in cooperation with other parts of the WCC could be another opportunity. These trends are suggestive of the way forward, and a cause of hope.

20. Ecumenical formation also includes the role of the WCC in creating "safe spaces" for cross-cultural and cross-theological encounter for people to engage in honest encounter around issues that divide our churches and our communities, in particular, to continue the dialogue on issues related to human sexuality. In this role, the WCC should facilitate and initiate dialogue and "diapraxis" between religion and politics on the role of the church in civil society and between religions in areas of mutual understanding.

Global Justice

21. Throughout this Assembly there has been the urgent call to work together in the ecumenical movement for a dynamic, global understanding of justice that responds to those who suffer the consequences of injustice and racism that split the world along lines of wealth and poverty, and that integrates the care of creation, the challenges of science and technology to faith, the transformation of unjust economic and social structures, the church's response to the deadly threat of HIV AIDS, and includes a clear voice in advocacy and prophetic diakonia. (The PGC notes that diakonia is understood not only to include service to the poor and marginalised, but also as an inseparable part of Christian identity.) Such work will require the WCC and its member churches "to re-direct its programmes toward more intentionally building truly inclusive and just communities which safeguard diversity, where different identities and unity interact, and where the rights and obligations of all are fully respected in love and fellowship" (Report of General Secretary, p. 14).

22. In the coming years the PGC recommends that a follow-up of the AGAPE process be undertaken and expanded to engage a wider on-going dialogue between religion and politics, the work of theological reflection and solid political, economic and social analysis, and sharing practical, positive approaches from the churches.

Ethical Voice and Prophetic Witness to the World

23. In fulfilling its historic responsibility on behalf of its member churches, the WCC is challenged to be a strong, credible, ethical voice as it offers a prophetic witness to the world. This voice and witness must be spirituality and theologically grounded if the churches are to be distinguished and distinguishable from the many competing voices in the world. Churches have a contribution to make to strengthen co-operative internationalism and the international rule of law in dealing with human rights, militarism and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. At this Assembly the urgent need for churches to engage in inter-religious cooperation and dialogue was strongly affirmed.

24. This Assembly marked the mid-term of the initiative launched at the Harare Assembly on the Decade to Overcome Violence. For the second half of the decade, the PGC affirmed that the style of networking local and regional initiatives in peace-making should increasingly shape the WCC's programmatic life and work.

25. The PGC recommends that the regional foci be continued; that more sharing of successful examples be developed to encourage churches and local congregations to respond to overcoming violence in their own contexts; that a process of wide consultation be undertaken towards developing an ecumenical declaration on "just peace"; and finally, that the conclusion of the DOV in 2010 be marked by major and significant initiatives.

26. The PGC recommends that the 9th Assembly affirm these four areas of engagement in shaping the WCC's future life and work.

Post-Assembly Planning

27. The period between the Assembly and the 2006 Central Committee meeting will be a time of intensive reflection led by the WCC leadership in consultation with churches and key ecumenical partners to receive the policy guidance from the Assembly and shape its programmatic work.

28. In looking to its task of shaping future programmes for the WCC, the PGC recommends the following process to be approved by the 9th Assembly:

• a small working group made up of the leadership of the Assembly's Programme Guidelines Committee, Policy Reference Committee, and Finance Committee be asked to accompany the WCC leadership in developing future programme recommendations;

• clear, well-functioning planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms be established for each programme;

• a clear distinction be made between issues that are of long-term nature, time-bound, or specifically urgent;

• a two-way communication strategy be developed for each programme and carried out with the various constituencies;

• clear exit strategies be established in phasing out, reconfiguring, or reshaping programmes taking into account both the limited human and financial resources of the WCC and also the possibilities to co-operate and share responsibility with other ecumenical partners.

29. The PGC recommends that the WCC claim a clearer and stronger public profile in its witness to the world. To that effect, it is hoped that the WCC will focus its energy and attention on a limited number of issues that cry out for response by the churches together. HIVAIDS (including the ecclesiological implications of this pandemic in most parts of our world).

***

Report of the Programme Guidelines Committee (second draft)
22 February 2006

Introduction

1. One of the primary tasks of each Assembly of the World Council of Churches is to review the work and activities of the Council since its last Assembly and to set directions and priorities for the Council's programme in the future.

2. The Programme Guidelines Committee (PGC) of this Assembly has taken its tasks seriously, using as a starting point the report From Harare to Porto Alegre, the Pre-Assembly Programme Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee, and a background paper, entitled "A Changing World," prepared by WCC staff. Each of the PGC members also attended an Ecumenical Conversation to listen to Assembly delegates about future WCC priorities. Finally, the PGC shared in dialogue and reflection on the reports of the Moderator, the General Secretary, the thematic plenaries, hearing sessions, and many suggestions and ideas coming from Mutirao participants and constituency groups seeking to discern the mind of the Assembly and the call of God related to the unique role of the WCC within the ecumenical movement.

3. In presenting this Report, the PGC has been aware that the work of the Policy Reference Committee has reviewed, and will address, several important programme initiatives since the Harare Assembly related to strengthening and deepening relationships among the member churches (e.g., the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC), with ecumenical partners, and with other Christian churches (e.g., the Joint Working Group with the Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostals, etc.).

4. While the wealth of the input gathered by the PGC cannot be included in our Report to the Assembly, substantive documentation -- including the reports from the 22 Ecumenical Conversations; the statements coming from constituency groups (youth, Indigenous Peoples, and persons with disabilities); the various proposals on specific issues from Mutirao workshops -- will be referred to future governing bodies of the WCC in the important work of developing specific future programmes for the WCC. That documentation will inform them in their task of translating the broad policy directions included in this Report into programme.

5. The PGC recommends that the report From Harare to Porto Alegre and the "Pre-Assembly Evaluation and Recommendations from the 2005 Central Committee" be received with appreciation by the 9th Assembly of the WCC.

1. The Context of Our Work

6. The Porto Alegre Assembly has taken place against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world. It is on this stage, even as the drama of changing contexts unfolds, that the churches are called to fulfill their mission and calling. Changes are taking place everywhere, and all are related: the changing ecclesial and ecumenical contexts (including church geography, statistics, and secularization), as well as the changing political, economic and social contexts (including growing inequalities, environmental destruction, migration, violence and terror). These changes present immense challenges to the churches and to the WCC that call for courageous visions of hope and greater commitment to make visible God's gift of unity and reconciliation in Christ before our divided churches, societies, and world. We were greatly encouraged how our Latin American hosts presented their history of struggle and hope in responding to the challenges their continent is facing. However, concerns were expressed about the margenalization of Indigenous Peoples and Afrodescendants in the life of the church and in society at large.

7. We have been reminded that, "A divided church cannot have a credible witness in a broken world; it cannot stand against the disintegrating and disorienting forces of globalization and enter into meaningful dialogue with the world." (Moderator's Report, Para 17). We turn to God and pray, "God, in your grace, transform our lives, our churches, our nations and world." All programmes and activities of the WCC are thus to be responsive to this changing context in seeking to be a faithful expression of God's justice, peace, care for creation, healing, reconciliation and salvation: the "fullness" of life for all.

2. Our Vision and Our Goals

8. In its swork at this first WCC Assembly in the 21st century, the PGC reaffirmed the stated purpose and functions of the WCC (as expressed in the Constitution, para. III.) as the basis for its work: "The primary purpose of the fellowship of churches in the World Council of Churches is to call one another to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and common life in Christ, through witness and service to the world, and to advance towards that unity in order that the world may believe." In addition, that paragraph affirms as goals of the Council that it will:

• promote the prayerful search for forgiveness and reconciliation in a spirit of mutual accountability, the development of deeper relationships through theological dialogue and the sharing of human, spiritual and material resources with one another;

• facilitate common witness; express their commitment to diakonia in serving human need;

• nurture the growth of an ecumenical consciousness; assist each other in relationships to and with people of other faiths; and,

• foster renewal and growth through unity, worship, mission and service.

9. These purposes and functions demonstrate the breadth of the vision of the WCC, and provide a foundation for the programmatic work of the Council.

10. The PGC recommends that the 9th Assembly re-affirm the document "Towards a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC" (refer to From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp. 175-181) as an expression of the vision of the WCC as a fellowship of churches and as a servant of the one ecumenical movement. However, the PGC believes ways need to be found to make the content of the CUV document more accessible and understandable in order to facilitate greater ownership by the churches and by the ecumenical movement at large.

3. Guiding Principles and Methodological Recommendations

11. Building upon the very helpful material and recommendations in the "Programme Evaluation Report from the 2005 Central Committee" (refer to From Harare to Porto Alegre, pp.203-216), and receiving a strong and sobering recommendation from the Finance Committee of this Assembly related to the anticipated financial situation of the WCC in the coming years, the PGC identified seven basic principles to guide the WCC in setting its programme priorities in the future:

• to keep its focus upon what the WCC uniquely might do as a global fellowship of churches in providing leadership to the whole of the ecumenical movement

• to do less, to do it well, in an integrated, collaborative and interactive approach

• to lift up its central task of the churches calling one another to visible unity

• to keep in tension the work of dialogue and advocacy, of building relationships and promoting social witness among churches and with different sectors in society

• to foster greater ownership and participation by the churches in building as much as possible on initiatives of the churches and partner organizations

• to bring a prophetic voice and witness to the world in addressing the urgent and turbulent issues of our times in a focused way

• to communicate WCC activities to the churches and the world in a timely and imaginative way.

12. The PGC also identified several methodological elements in defining how future WCC life and work would be carried out, including:

• articulating a clear theological basis for all of its work

• developing a comprehensive planning, monitoring and evaluation process that will include a clear time-line and goals

• designing a strategy for communication, engagement and ownership by the churches

• facilitating the coordinating role of the WCC in seeking partnerships in networking and advocacy with other ecumenical organizations, including Christian World Communions, REOs, NCCs, Specialized Ministries, faith-based organizations, and NGOs (as appropriate) - with the hope that many of these programmes can be implemented in collaborative ways of working

• encouraging capacity building of member churches and ecumenical partners

• accompanying churches and peoples in critical situations and enabling and facilitating their action.

13. The PGC recommends that the 9th WCC Assembly endorse these guiding principles and methodological elements as the basis for establishing its future programme priorities.

4. Major Areas of Engagement

14. In light of the changing context, the vision and purpose of the WCC, and the guiding principles and methodological elements, the PGC offers four major interactive "areas of engagement" for shaping the future life and work of the Council. Each of these emphases is already reflected in the current programmes of the WCC. What is being proposed here is that there be greater integration among the programmes and standing Commissions (Faith and Order, Mission and Evangelism, International Affairs), while exploring greater collaboration with current ecumenical partners and specialized ministries in development of these emphases in the future.

15. Three additional words of introduction to these areas of engagement:

• The PGC strongly endorses promoting ecumenical leadership development of youth in the life of the WCC, including the full participation of youth in all programmes of the WCC. Youth voices, concerns and presence must be brought more directly into the decision-making and leadership of the work and governance of the Council.

• The PGC continues to affirm and celebrate the role and contributions of women in all areas and arenas in the life of the WCC, and endorses the continued participation of women in the whole of the WCC.

• The PGC urges that the WCC seek the full inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Dalits, people of African descent, persons with disabilities and marginalized people all over the world in its life, work and decision-making.

A. Unity, Spirituality and Mission

16. Seeking unity and engaging in common mission and evangelism have been foundational elements in the ecumenical movement. New understandings of both unity and mission have continued to develop in the life of the WCC as member churches have engaged each other in responding to their growing relationships and expanding encounter with the diversity of theologies, ecclesiologies, and traditions. Future work in the area of mission and evangelism should engage the churches in their commitment to explore new ways of ecclesial life, fresh ways of experiencing the Christian faith, and the discovery of new contextual ways of proclaiming the gospel, including a critique of competitive missional activities.

17. Here in Porto Alegre, the need of the WCC and its member churches to focus upon the nature of Christian spirituality and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and the world has become ever more urgent and obvious, both for the integrity of our work for visible unity and in our mission to the world. Unity, spirituality and mission areinterrelated, and their mutuality is dependent upon each receiving distinct and dedicated attention by the WCC and its member churches.
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B. Ecumenical Formation

18. One of the issues that challenges the whole of the ecumenical movement today is that of ecumenical formation. As reported by the General Secretary in his report to this Assembly, "If contemporary Christians, including the church leadership, are to participate creatively and responsibly in the search for unity, and grow together, appropriate means of ecumenical formation must be offered to enable better, richer contributions to our common life." This is especially true for the students, young adults, laity and women in our churches as they increasingly take on leadership roles in the ecumenical movement for the 21st century.

19. The Ecumenical Institute at Bossey of the WCC was highlighted as a model for ecumenical formation, especially in its efforts in recent years expanding its programme to include evangelicals and Pentecostals in its courses and seminars, as well as reaching out to provide greater inter-religious encounter. Providing a platform for churches and ecumenical partners working on challenges of science and technology to faith in cooperation with other parts of the WCC could be another opportunity. These trends are suggestive of the way forward, and a cause of hope.

20. Ecumenical formation also includes the role of the WCC in creating "safe spaces" for cross-cultural and cross-theological encounter as people to engage in honest encounter around issues that divide our churches and our communities, in particular, to continue the dialogue on issues such as family life and human sexuality.

C. Global Justice

21. Throughout this Assembly there has been the urgent call to work together in the ecumenical movement for a dynamic, global understanding of justice (transformative justice):

• that responds to those who suffer the consequences of injustice, racism and casteism,

• that denounces the scandal of a world divided along lines of wealth and poverty and contributes to the transformation of unjust economic and social structures,

• that integrates the care of creation and faith perspectives on the use and mis-use of science and new technologies such as bio-techologies, information technologies, energy technologies, etc.

• that challenges and facilitates the church's response to HIV/AIDS,

• that includes a clear voice in prophetic diakonia as an inseparable part of Christian identity and witness to societies, starting from life in family and community.

Such work will require the WCC and its member churches "to re-direct our programmes toward more intentionally building truly inclusive and just communities which safeguard diversity, where different identities and unity interact, and where the rights and obligations of all are fully respected in love and fellowship." (Report of General Secretary, p. 14)

D. Public Voice and Prophetic Witness to the World

22. In fulfilling its historic responsibility on behalf of its member churches, the WCC is challenged to be a strong, credible ethical voice as it offers a prophetic witness to the world. This voice and witness must be spirituality and theologically grounded if the churches are to be heard among competing voices in the world. Churches have a contribution to make to strengthen multilateral international cooperation and the international rule of law in dealing with human rights, militarism and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

23. At this Assembly the urgent need for churches and the WCC to engage in inter-religious cooperation and dialogue was strongly affirmed. In its future engagement with other religions, it is important for the WCC to continue its work in the context ofreligious plurality and to further develop dialogue and common action related to political or ethical issues.

2. This Assembly marked the mid-term of the initiative launched at the Harare Assembly on the Decade to Overcome Violence. For the second half of the decade, the PGC affirmed that the style of networking local and regional initiatives in peace-making should increasingly shape the WCC's programmatic life and work. In addition to the regional foci, the DOV should be attentive to situations of deep crisis , such as Northern Uganda and Haiti.

25. The PGC recommends that the 9th Assembly affirm these four areas of engagement in shaping the WCC's future life and work.

26. In particular, the PGC recommends the following actions in regard to specific program areas that have been identified in pursuing these four "areas of engagement":

• The PGC recommends that the 9th WCC Assembly affirms that comprehensive attention be given to unity, spirituality, and mission, both theologically and practically. The WCC and its member churches are encouraged to address the sharp ecclesiological questions set out in the report of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, and to give priority to the questions of unity, catholicity,baptism and prayer.

• The PGC recommends that the 9th WCC Assembly encourages churches on local, national, regional and global levels to commit themselves to the task of ecumenical formation, focusing on youth and women, and including persons with disabilities. In this role, the WCC should facilitate and initiate dialogue and possible cooperation between religious and political actors on the role of the church in civil society and between religions in areas of mutual understanding.

• The PGC recommends that the 9th WCC affirms a follow-up of the AGAPE process be undertaken and expanded, in collaboration with other ecumenical partners and organizations, to engage (1) in the work of theological reflection on these issues that arise out of the center of our faith; (2) solid political , economic and social analysis; (3) on-going dialogue between religious, economic and political actors; and, (4) sharing practical, positive approaches from the churches.

• The PGC recommends that, in looking to the second half of the DOV, the 9th WCC Assembly endorses that the regional foci be continued; that more sharing of successful examples be developed to encourage churches and local congregations to respond to overcoming violence in their own contexts; that a process of wide consultation be undertaken towards developing an ecumenical declaration on "just peace"; and finally, that the conclusion of the DOV in 2010 be marked by an international Ecumenical Peace Convocation.

5. Post-Assembly Planning

27. The period between the Assembly and the 2006 Central Committee meeting will be a time of intensive reflection lead by the WCC leadership in consultation with churches and key ecumenical partners to receive the policy guidance from the Assembly and shape its programmatic work.

28. In looking to its task of shaping future programme for the WCC, the PGC recommends the following process to be approved by the 9th Assembly:

• a working group made up of the leadership of the Assembly's Programme Guidelines Committee, Policy Reference Committee, Public Issues Committee and Finance Committee be asked to accompany the WCC leadership in developing future programme recommendations

• clear, well-functioning planning, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms be established for each programme

• a clear distinction be made between issues that are either long-term, time-bound, or specific urgent

• a two-way communication strategy be developed for each programme and carried out with the various constituencies

• clear exit strategies be established in phasing out, reconfiguring, or reshaping programmes taking into account both the limited human and financial resources of the WCC and also the possibilities to cooperate and share responsibility with other ecumenical partners

• sustained dialogue with member churches and specialized agencies regarding ways of generating additional financial support to programmatic work of the WCC.

29. The PGC recommends that the WCC claim a clearer and stronger public profile in its witness to the world. To that effect it is hoped that the WCC will focus its energy and attention on a limited number if issues that cry out for response by the churches together. HIVAIDS (including the ecclesiological implications of this pandemic in most parts of our world) should be one of these issues.

***

Report on pre-Assembly programme evaluation
14 February 2006

WCC Central Committee 2005 document GEN 8

An assessment of the WCC programmatic work in terms of its relevance, impact and church ownership.

[MISSING]

***

International affairs

First report (draft - for action)
14 February 2006

The Public Issues Committee (PIC) was asked to work on draft proposals for five statements and one minute prepared in advance through a series of consultations and reflections and endorsed by the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches in its meeting on February 13th, 2006. These were

1. Statement on Latin America
2. Statement on the Responsibility to Protect
3. Statement on Terrorism, Human Rights and Counter-terrorism
4. Statement on Reforming the United Nations
5. Statement on Water for Life
6. Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms

In this first report the PIC presents to the Assembly the draft statements on Latin America, Reforming the United Nations and Water for Life and a draft Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms. The draft statements on the responsibility to Protect and Terrorism, Human Rights and Counter-terrorism will be presented in the second report of the PIC.

In addition, the Public Issues Committee received from the Assembly participants within the stipulated 24 hours after the announcement of the proposal of the Executive Committee, seven proposals for statements endorsed by at least ten member churches. After careful examination of the proposals in the framework of the existing policy and criteria for Public Issues actions by the general Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the Public Issues Committee proposes:

• A Minute on Mutual Respect, Responsibility and Dialogue with People of Other Faiths which will be presented in the second report of the PIC.

In response to the six other proposals and issues raised, the Public Issues Committee proposes the following actions would be more appropriate:

1. Trafficking of women

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal about the issue of trafficking of women and a request to pay special attention to the upcoming World Cup in Football taking place in June 2006 in Germany which will potentially bring tens of thousands of prostitutes mainly from Central and Eastern European countries to Germany.

The Public Issues Committee noted that in its meeting February 15 - 22, 2005 the WCC Central Committee issued a statement on uprooted people "Practising hospitality in an era of new forms of migration". The statement underlines human trafficking as one new trend in migration that "involves recruiting and/or transporting people using violence, other forms of coercion, or providing misleading information in order to exploit them economically or sexually (through for example, forced prostitution and bonded labour). Trafficked persons are often in conditions of slavery and are no longer free to move or to decide on their destinies. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking". The statement further recommeds that churches should "combat the trafficking of human beings, particularly women and children for sexual exploitation; to work with governments, churches and concerned non-governmental organizations to ensure that the victims of traffickers receive the necessary treatment and respect; and to oppose efforts by governments to use the existence of trafficking as an excuse to restrict further immigration."

Follow-up actions on human trafficking have been initiated in the regions and taken up by some member churches. The Public Issues committee recommends that the WCC General Secretary and staff work in collaboration with their regional and international contacts to continue to closely monitor the situation, give further support to member churches and take appropriate actions.

2. Poverty

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a statement on Poverty. Poverty is indeed a major issue in our world and fighting poverty a priority for the World Council of Churches. The WCC gathered at its Eight Assembly in Harare strongly stated that the "reality of unequal distribution of power and wealth, of poverty and exclusion challenges the cheap language of our global shared community". The lack of a strong ethical and moral approach in responding to poverty is sinful in the eyes of God. The Public Issues Committee agrees that the issue of poverty in our world is a challenge that the churches and the wider ecumenical family are called to address in the 21st century. This, however, must be an intentional on-going process.

Considering seriously the implications of poverty on the lives of God`s people, the Public Issues Committee is presenting to the Assembly three statements where the issue of poverty is addressed. These statements, carefully written after much consultations and reflections, call upon churches and governments to address the various causes of poverty in our world. The statements on Water for life, Latin America and on Reforming the United Nations speak firmly and specifically on issues of poverty and how to fight poverty in different contexts.

3. Incarceration of the Orthodox Archbishop in Skopje, FYROM

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal to condemn the incarceration of Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skopje (FYROM). The World Council of Churches has addressed the situation of Archbishop Jovan by sending, on 31 August 2005, a letter to H.E. Branko Crvenkovski, the President of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, expressing deep concern for the imprisonment and reiterating that WCC considered that inter-church disagreements and disputes should be resolved through discussion and dialogue and judicial approach used only as a last resort.

The Public Issues Committee recommends the General Secretary and the staff to closely continue monitoring the situation and take appropriate measures as needed.

4. Protection of Discriminated WCC member churches

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal on Protection of Discriminated WCC member churches making special reference to the Hungarian speaking minority churches East-Central Europe (Serbia-Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine).

On the particular situation of these minorities, the Public Issues Committee noted the report of the Central Committee in February 2005 where the situation of Vojvodina in Serbia-Montenegro was taken up as an area of great concern. Several church and government delegations have recently visited the region. WCC Programme Executive for Europe visited Serbia-Montenegro in April 2005 meeting the leadership of the minority churches. In additon the regional secretary and the WCC Commission of Churches on International Affairs monitor and follow-up the general situation in the region with special attention to minority situations in light of the WCC policy to give priority to the respect for Human Rights for all people and the unity between the different member churches in the region. Actions are being taken when appropriate with government institutions. The Public Issues Committee recommends that the CCIA and the Programme Executive for Europe, in consultation with the Conference of European Churches, follow the development and consider further actions as appropriate.

The proposal highlights the issues of persecution, discrimination and oppression of member churches of the WCC also in general terms. The Public Issues Committee affirms that supporting member churches in these situations, acting on behalf of the whole WCC fellowship, is in the core of the mandate of the Commission of Churches on International Affairs, and whenever such situations arise the WCC will act to protect members of the body, take up the issues in government relations and inter-governmental meetings.

5. Indigenous Peoples and language loss

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a minute on Indigenous Peoples and language loss. The WCC Central Committee, meeting in Geneva in February, 2005, issued a statement on Human Rights and Languages of Indigenous Peoples. In that document, the Central Committee called on member churches to urge the establishment of a UN International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2006 or a subsequent year and to appeal to their governments to remove discriminatory laws against Indigenous Languages, to work towards removing the layers of educational and social pressures arrayed against Indigenous Languages, and to actively pursue compliance with international conventions and treaties that regard the use of the language of heritage as a basic human right. The Public Issues Committee regards the Central Committee statement of February, 2005 mentioned herein as important and relevant and request churches to consider practical ways in which they can respond to this world-wide crisis, calling attention to the critical issue of language loss and working towards remedies both in their local areas and at international level. The Central Committee remind churches and the Christian community of the diversity of spoken languages as a sign of the presence of the fullness of the Spirit of God in Acts 2 and the full diversity of languages as an integral part of the vision of worship in the presence of God in Revelation 7:9. These concerns have also been shared with the Programme Guidelines Committee of the Assembly.

6. Peaceful reunification of the Korean Pennisula

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a statement on Reunification of the Korean Peninsula. During the Korean War when the pennisula was divided WCC adopted the UN position which laid the entire blame on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and resulting in enormous suffering of the Korean people.

The World Council of Churches continued to monitor the developments in the Korean pensinsula. In 1984, October, the WCC at the request of the Korean churches organised a consultation on Peace in North East Asia. Amongst others the consultation spoke of the peace and reunification of the Korean Penninsula and its people. This even took place in Tozanso, Japan.

Subsequent to the Tozanso meeting there were series of visits by Korean Christian Federation (KCF) and National Council of Churches- Korea (NCC-K) leaders at Glion, Switzerland. These meetings continued in Kyoto and Macau. The WCC in cooperation with the Churches in Korea prepared a framework for unification. Through the 1980´s and 1990´s there were visits and exchanges between member churches in Canada, USA and Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea including meetings with seperated families.

WCC continues to monitor developments in Korean peninsula including the 6 party talks. Last year the Korean working group comprising of NCC-K, KCF, National Council of Churches in Japan and Christian Conference of Asia and WCC reiterated support for 6 party talks and agreed to continue to monitor bilateral relations between North and South and the proposals made under the sunshine policy.

September 2004 the WCC Executive Committee meeting in Seoul made a statement on the unification issue but also on human rights and the nuclear concerns. WCC will continue to monitor the developments and take necessary action in cooperation with the member churches in Korea.

Statement on Latin America

1. The WCC Assembly meets for the first time in Latin America and would first like to express its deep thanks to the Latin American Churches for having hosted the Assembly, to the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) for its work in the construction of unity among the Christian Churches and to the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil (CONIC) who generously invited the WCC to hold the Assembly in this country. The present statement reflects issues and concerns received from Latin American Churches.

2. The Assembly theme "God in your grace transform the world" recalls the different transformations the region has experienced throughout its history; a history where hope, life and joy prevail through the centuries as characteristics of the region and signs of God's grace; a history of transformations which continue to take place even now. Recent elections in Latin American Countries have resulted in the first Indigenous person to be elected as President of Bolivia and the first woman to be elected as President of Chile. These new political signs in the region follow other changes which need to be interpreted in the context of Latin American history if the presence of God who renews the whole creation (Rev 21: 5) is to be discerned.

Recalling Latin America's history

3. After millennia of different indigenous cultures, with outstanding developments by, for instance, the Mayan and Inca civilizations, the "conquista" by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns in the XVI century gave a common recent history to this continent. This history, with a special recognition of the massacres of various indigenous populations and the introduction of slavery by the colonizers, was especially recalled in 1992, during the commemoration of the five hundred years of the colonization by the Europeans. In the XVIII century, wars against the Spanish and Portuguese paved the way to freedom for most Latin American states. Hence, during the first half of the XIX century, most of the countries achieved independence. However this political independence left different nations still economically dependent.

4. Since the wars of independence, many political leaders have called for the unity of the different Latin American states and in the last two hundred years many attempts to develop a Latin American unity have been made. Today, in the framework of the global political trends which support regional integration such unity is vital. Churches in the region, have clearly stated that current efforts to build bridges between states should be based not only on economic trade agreements but should also respond to the needs and rights of the people, especially the weak and vulnerable. In this way, the path towards unity may be a sign of the brotherhood and sisterhood to which God calls all human beings.

5. Several voices in the Assembly pointed to the struggle for life and dignity which has been a constant experience of Latin American people. Throughout history they have faced wars within and between states, confrontations, authoritative regimes and dictatorships, as well as irresponsible policies by governments and multinational corporations which have irreparably damaged their environment. Tribute should be paid to the testimony of thousands of Christians and other people of good will who gave their lives for human rights, dignity and care for the creation. Monsignor Romero from El Salvador, Mauricio López from Argentina, Chico Mendes from Brazil and Yolanda Céron from Colombia, are a few names among thousands, most of them unknown. The blood of these martyrs has helped to fertilize the seeds of God's kingdom which have borne the fruits of solidarity, life and democracy.

Overcoming poverty and injustice

6. Poverty affects dramatically the region. According to UN statistics, now as for decades, more than 40% of the population still live under poverty, while 20% live in extreme poverty. This cannot be considered separately from the implementation of structural adjustment programmes developed by the governments as a requisite from the International Financial Institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The privatization of state companies brought in short term relief and economic welfare in a few cases, but in the medium and long term perspective, many judge that the implementation of these kind of policies have worsened the situation of the region, with huge economic crises in the late 90s and early 2000s occurring in several countries. Though in the last years, at the macroeconomic level the region seems to have recovered from these crises, poverty continues to be a challenge for governments and societies and a scandal for the churches. Even in those countries where poverty is relatively less, the gap between the rich and the poor is enormous and the distribution of wealth continues to be unjust.

7. The external debt has been a heavy burden for decades. Churches in the region have clearly stated the debt is illegitimate and immoral because it had been contracted during dictatorships with the complicity of International Financial Institutions and has already been paid. However, the need to continue to pay the service of the debt has prevented the implementation of effective social policies in most of the countries, seriously affecting education, health and work conditions. Furthermore, as a consequence of the economic crises, migration has increased and millions of Latin Americans are now living in the United States or in Europe, their remittances to family members back home becoming one of the most important incomes in some Latin American countries.

8. This economic situation further increases the exclusion of vulnerable groups such as Indigenous Peoples, African descendants and rural populations. Indigenous Peoples continue to struggle for the recognition of indigenous rights. African descendants still carry the consequences of slavery which has prevented them fully exercising their rights in countries which continue to suffer racism. In a region where poverty has often been related to issues of land ownership, landless movements in different countries, particularly in Brazil, have been claiming access to land. Churches and the ecumenical movement cannot be deaf to the cries of the poor and excluded in the region. Poverty is unacceptable in a region which is extremely rich in natural resources. The tragedy is that these have often been exploited in a way that has destroyed the environment through, for example, the contamination of rivers in large areas. Indeed the whole planet is threatened through the deforestation of the Amazonian region.

Healing the wounds of violence

9. Violence continues to be a major problem of the region. Some countries continue to face the consequences of political violence. In Colombia, for example, the armed conflict between political actors has largely affected the civil society. Because of this confrontation, thousands, mostly innocent people, have died and more than three million people have been internally displaced. The conflict has gone beyond national borders, having a serious impact on neighbouring countries. Colombian churches have strengthened their work with victims and have clearly asked the government of Colombia and armed groups to look for a negotiated solution of the conflict which could bring peace with justice.

10. Close to the region and to the Latin American Churches concern, Haiti is another country which has experienced extreme violence during the last years and experienced a political crisis, because of internal and external factors. Despite of the presence of a UN stabilization force, violence continues, especially in Port-au-Prince. The recently held elections, after many postponements, although important in the need to re-establish democracy in the country, have not brought peace. There is still an urgent need for a broad national dialogue and a process of reconciliation to heal the wounds of the country.

11. The dramatic situations in which these countries live cannot be considered in an isolated way. They reflect a larger phenomenon which affects the whole region. The new dynamics of militarism that have developed in the last years in the region threaten to become even more apparent with the establishment of new US military bases in different countries. However, the influence of the United States in the region is not new. For decades the US has influenced politics, economics and culture and under the concern for hemispheric security the Latin American military have been trained by the US.

12. A particular focus of the US agenda towards the region has been Cuba. A blockade imposed in the sixties by the US government has continued to seriously affect the Cuban population. This blockade has been hardened during the current US administration. Nevertheless, Cuba has managed to develop effective policies regarding health, education and culture. Civil and political rights still need to be improved if the country is to respond to the process of economic transformation which is occurring. Spaces for dialogue between the different sectors of the society and the government are urgently necessary.

13. Urban, domestic, ethnic, gender or youth violence is also experienced in Latin America on a daily basis. Youth gangs ("maras") spread in most Central American countries. The churches have especially addressed the major problem of the proliferation of small arms. The Decade to Overcome Violence during 2006 will be the opportunity in the region to tackle some of the faces of violence and bring the efforts of the churches together to build a culture of peace.

Struggling for life and dignity

14. The peoples of Latin America have struggled hard to build peace with justice and achieve democratic regimes. Victims and Human Rights organizations, together with churches in many countries, have been at the forefront of this struggle. The Inter-American System has contributed to strengthening the rule of law and has dealt effectively with Human Rights violations and impunity in several countries.

15. Moreover, in recent years many countries have made significant changes through presidential elections, as an expression of participatory democracy of the peoples. Candidates and parties who have shown more sensitivity to the needs and rights of the peoples have often been elected. New governments have stood up in a stronger way in confronting International Financial Institutions, Trade Agreements and subsidized agriculture in Northern countries. Internal policies, more respectful of Human Rights and addressing poverty, hunger and other social needs have been developed. These governments have raised hope in the region and beyond, though the strong limitations they are facing, and the contradictions and corruption which threaten some of them, should not be overlooked.

Churches accompanying the peoples of Latin America

16. Christianity was brought to the region with the colonizers during the XVI and following centuries and has not been without controversies. Many times the persecution of those who didn't accept the Christian faith caused thousands of casualties. But through their history, the faith experience of the indigenous, African, mestizo and European descendants, have developed a Latin American face of Christianity.

17. For a long time, Latin America has been known as the Roman Catholic continent. But the composition of Christianity has changed over the centuries. In the 19th Century, for instance, missionaries from Protestant and Anglican Churches came to serve in the continent and the Orthodox Church was established and has contributed to build the social fabric of different communities. In the last decades, Evangelical churches, mainly Pentecostal ones, have been growing systematically and in some countries have become important percentages of the population. Responding to the need to grant equal treatment to all religions, raised by many WCC member churches, improvements have been made in some national legislations to recognize their rights.

18. Ecumenism has made important contributions to the history of Latin America, particularly in recent times. Churches and ecumenical organizations in the region have played a key role in struggling against dictatorial and authoritarian regimes and defending Human Rights all over the region. The WCC, through different programmes, and particularly through its Human Rights Office in Latin America, has been closely accompanying and supporting the churches and ecumenical, human rights and victims' organizations in their work to combat impunity, achieve peace agreements after civil wars, strengthen democracy and build up reconciliation.

19. The struggle for human dignity by the churches can be traced since the fervent defence of the Indigenous Peoples by Christians like Fray Bartolomé de las Casas in the XVI century. The struggle for human dignity has been a pillar of Latin American theology ever since. This particular consideration for the poor, the marginalized and the excluded in different societies throughout history has been at the origins of the particular theological approach known as Liberation Theology. Strongly incarnated in the social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s more recently it has expanded its foci towards the economic, ecological, gender and inter-religious dimensions. Therefore, nurtured in this theological methodology rooted in a deep spiritual experience, Latin American Christianity has become deeply involved in defending, caring and celebrating life in its multiple manifestations, recognizing God's presence in every life expression and especially in human life. This experience has been a gift of God to the whole Church.

Proposals

That the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the statement on Latin America.

b) Commends the Latin American churches in their work to overcome poverty and injustice, heal the wounds of violence, struggle for life and dignity, grant equal treatment to all religions in national legislations and asks them to further develop their work and reflection on issues such as grace, economy, gender, youth, disability, ethnicity, ecology and violence as part of their contribution to the ecumenical movement and in preparation for CLAI's Assembly in 2007.

c) Invites churches, ecumenical organizations and other civil society groups to have an active participation in the "Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace" which focuses this year on Latin America.

d) Appeals to WCC member churches and staff to emphasize the exchange with Latin American churches and ecumenical organizations and look for new ways of interacting with the churches and peoples of the region.

e) Encourages Latin American peoples to continue in their struggle to build new societies which respect the dignity of the whole creation and pay special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded and to share their visions, concerns and lessons learned with peoples of other regions.

f) Calls on Latin American governments to strengthen their work towards a more effective integration of the region to face the challenges of the present world; to look for effective policies to overcome poverty, injustice and the degradation of the environment; to strengthen the rule of law and the respect and promotion of Human Rights and dignity and to continue to look for ways of enhancing democracy in their countries.

g) Urges the international community, the states and International Financial Institutions to revise the legacy of the external debt that burdens the region as well as the rationale of free trade agreements in order to effectively respond to the needs of the population and to the concerns expressed recently by the churches in the region regarding the consequences for peasants, workers and communities' rights, the environment and citizen's participation.

Statement on UN Reform

1. On many previous occasions the governing bodies of the World Council of Churches have affirmed the unique role of the United Nations and the noble ideals embodied in its Charter. The sixtieth anniversary of the UN and the process of reform initiated before the recent summit meeting offer an occasion for this assembly of the World Council to consider the present state of the international order and to call on member churches to renew and strengthen their active support for and engagement with the UN at a critical moment in its history. The churches, together with the wider civil society, carry a responsibility to shape the public opinion and to generate the political will for multilateral cooperative action that is needed for the UN to succeed in its mission.

2. Many of the "peoples of the United Nations" continue to cry for justice and peace. We hear this cry especially from peoples living under occupation and oppressive regimes, from victims of war and civil conflict, from the millions of uprooted people, from Indigenous Peoples displaced from ancestral land and from those suffering from the HIV/Aids and other pandemics, hunger, the lack of work, clean water and access to land for cultivation. Many have become disappointed in view of the limitations of the capacity of the UN to address their cries. Through droughts, floods, hurricanes and severe climate changes we also hear the cry of the earth that is groaning under the impact of human greed and brutal exploitation of the resources of nature.

3. As Christians we live by the promise and the hope that God hears the cries of the people and will deliver them from their sufferings. When we pray: "God, in your grace, transform the world" we trust that God, through God's life giving Spirit, continues to offer life in its fullness. As we pray, we must be prepared to act in order to become co-workers with God in transforming ourselves, our communities and the international order and build a culture of life in dignity in just and sustainable communities.

4. When the UN was founded in 1945 it was guided by the vision to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to affirm faith in fundamental human rights, to establish the basic conditions for justice and the rule of law, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. People of faith inspired this vision and it has been the basis for the strong support that the WCC has rendered to the work and the aspirations of the UN and to the principle of multilateralism throughout its 60 years history.

5. After the end of the Cold War and the rapid spread of globalization the UN finds itself at a critical juncture. On the one hand, complex global problems require a cooperative and multilateral response. Never before has it been so clear that the challenges of communicable diseases and environmental degradation, of corruption and organized crime, of proliferation of armsand the threat of terrorism cannot be resolved by individual states alone. On the other hand, this very situation has given rise to new fears, to mutual suspicion, and even to acts of indiscriminate violence leading some to withdraw behind barriers of exclusion or to rush to unilateral action believing that it is more effective.

6. The UN is based on the commitment of governments to act together and in solidarity with one another. In spite of weaknesses of the UN and failures of governments to cooperate through its forum it is still the best instrument that we have to respond to the contemporary challenges. In its 60 years history the UN and its specialized agencies have been able to strengthen the international rule of law, resolve many conflicts (e.g. in Kampuchea, East Timor, Namibia, and Liberia), resettle millions of refugees, raise the level of literacy, support education for all, introduce basic health care, fight poverty and respond to countless emergencies as well as natural and man-made disasters. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the commitments for financing development and the recent agreements regarding the cancellation of unpayable and illegitimate debt are indications that this commitment for multilateral action is still alive.

7. The changed global situation however, obliges the UN and member states to engage in a serious process of reform in order to retain the capacity to respond to the basic mandate of the UN and to the aspirations of the people of the world. The reform process must continue to go beyond the framework of the UN organization and aim at improving global governance based on the principle of multilateralism.

8. One significant achievement of the summit was the acknowledgment that the realization of peace/security, development/social and economic justice and the implementation of human rights are inseparably linked. This should serve as the fundamental framework and policy orientation for the continuing process of reform. In fact, for people on the ground it has always been obvious that there can be no security in a situation of utter deprivation; that economic development at the expense of the recognition of human rights, in particular the rights of the marginalized, women, children, indigenous and differently abled people, does not serve the cause of social justice; and that without basic human security and the satisfaction of human needs the affirmation of human rights loses its meaning.

9. This acknowledgement of the linkage of the three pillars has implications for the ways we conceive of and approach action in the fields of security, development and human rights. We reaffirm the statement by the WCC assembly at Vancouver (1983): "No nation can pretend to be secure so long as others' legitimate rights to sovereignty and security are neglected or denied. Security can therefore be achieved only as a common enterprise of nations but security is also inseparable from justice. A concept of ‘common security' of nations must be reinforced by a concept of ‘people's security'. True security for the people demands respect for human rights, including the right to self-determination, as well as social and economic justice for all within every nation, and a political framework that would ensure it" (Gathered for Life, 134). This position was also emphasized again with the previous assembly at Harare (1998) in the statements on human rights and globalization. "Human rights are the essential basis for a just and durable peace. Failure to respect them often leads to conflict and warfare…There is an urgent need to learn the lessons from the past, and to set up mechanisms of early intervention when danger signals appear" (Together on the Way, 200ff).

10. The fact that the outcome document of the 2005 UN World Summit recognizes the inseparable linkage of the three pillars of security, development and human rights speaks for determined efforts to strengthen organizational and policy coherence in the UN system across borders and between specialized institutions, interests and constituencies.

11. Compared to expectations raised and perceived needs, the outcome of the UN World Summit in September 2005 was disappointing. Although, in the field of security, important achievements were made with the endorsement of the principle "The Responsibility to Protect" as a normative obligation and the commitment to a more coherent approach to conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding through the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, there was no agreement on disarmament and non-proliferation. On terrorism, the summit was not able to agree on a clear international definition making attacks against civilians for political purposes once and for all indefensible, nor to go beyond intelligence, policing and military cooperation to embrace a cooperation to addressing root causes. The highly politicized proposal for reform and reconstruction of the Security Council also ended in a deadlock.

12. Although, on development, the outcome document of the summit reinforced commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals and goals of full employment and decent work, no new commitments in aid, debt relief or trade were made. In failing to do so the world leaders failed to acknowledge the urgency of action on this area. The WCC was the first organization to propose a target for official development assistance, of two per cent of national income. It is vital that member churches in donor countries continue to be strong advocates to their governments and the public of sustaining or increasing aid to the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GDP without harmful economic conditions. Combined with more just trade policies and faster and deeper reduction of official debt it is possible to sustain development and poverty reduction to fulfil the MDGs, and even move beyond these important limited goals.

13. The agreement to double the resources and approve a new action plan for the High Commissioner on Human Rights is an important step. The new Human Rights Council, if given a prominent role in the UN structure and with appropriate tools, offers a potential to improve the Human Rights Mechanisms. While the Commission on Human Rights played an outstanding role in generating core standards on human rights, it has largely failed in achieving implementation, a failure compounded by the current context of the "War on terror", which has seriously undermined the rule of law internationally and in particular the respect for human rights law. The reluctance by some countries to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is another example of undermining progress of the international rule of law.

14. Non-governmental organizations play an important role at the UN providing crucial information, monitoring decision-making processes, creating opportunities for the voices from the grassroots, often the victims of international policies, to be heard and to overcome attitudes of narrow self-interest and promote the spirit of multilateralism. Churches continue to play a part in this vital role of engaging with the UN and holding it and member states to account for their decisions and policies. The unique role that religions or religious organizations could play in addressing conflict, and working for peace, human rights and ending poverty is not yet fully realized. There is an urgent need for the UN and member states to strengthen the capacity to deal with the growing interaction between religion and politics.

15. The real test for any steps in this reform process will be whether it increases the chances for life in dignity and sustainable communities for the people on the ground. This is the privileged context for the work and witness of the churches. They are entrusted with a message of life and hope that can dispel suspicion and paralyzing fears and set people free to gain courage and confidence in their capacity to transform their lives in community.

Proposals

That the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the statement on UN Reform, to advance the objective of a more effective United Nations dedicated to the pursuit of global peace with justice.

b) Reaffirms the dedication of the World Council of Churches and member churches to the principles and purposes of the UN, its charter, and its role in advancing the rule of law and in elaborating norms and standards of state behaviour that serve the safety and wellbeing of all people. The effectiveness of the UN depends on accountable and inclusive democratic decision-making that does not sideline small, less powerful, and economically deprived members and the success of UN reform is judged in terms of the capacity of the UN to change the situation of the people on the ground and make a practical positive difference and an improvement to their comprehensive wellbeing.

c) Encourages the churches to urge member states to cooperate actively with the United Nations and to keep faith with their commitments to financing the Organization and ensuring that the organisation and its agencies are adequately staffed and funded to achieve their mandate.

On Security

d) Supports changes to the membership of the UN Security Council that would make it more geographically, politically and culturally representative of today's world, and that would encourage working methods and decision-making processes that enable fair, effective, and timely responses to the needs of vulnerable people and to prevent the outbreak of violent conflict. All current and aspiring members of the UN Security Council should fully comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

e) Welcomes the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission as a means of developing new and appropriate ways of responding to civil conflict. The Peacebuilding Commission should adopt and endorse peacebuilding principles and practices which emphasize local ownership in peacebuilding and peacekeeping processes. These should also promote the full participation of women (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325), the marginalised groups, Indigenous Peoples, differently abled people and youth. At the same time current disarmament forums and mechanisms must be strengthened and made more effective in advancing the already agreed global objectives of the elimination of nuclear weapons and of controlling conventional arms and arms transfers.

On Development

f) Underlines the importance of democratically selected, open and accountable forums for discussion of global economic, social and environmental issues and calls for increasing their significance in comparison with exclusive, unbalanced and secretive forums. The UN Economic and Social Council should be enabled to hold finance ministers meetings on global macro-economic management, to more actively address environmental issues integrated with social and economic issues and to hold the International Financial Institutions to account. Commitments made by governments in financing for development, towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, debt cancellation and for sustainable development should be seen as binding and the UN has to be given instruments to ensure their implementation.

g) Encourages churches to work with member states to make the UN an initiator and a global monitor for management of natural resources and public goods and for strengthening the mechanisms to ensure that transnational corporations are held accountable to global standards.

On Human Rights

h) Stresses that reform of the UN human rights architecture must result in an improvement of the capacity of the UN to engage with and make practical positive difference in the lives of victims of injustice, discrimination and oppression around the world. The system of Special Procedures developed by the Commission on Human Rights, of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies as well as of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office should be actively supported, and their independence respected and their capacity substantially enhanced.

i) Urges member states to give the Human Rights Council a status within the UN architecture that reflects the central importance of human rights as one of the three pillars of the UN system. Members of the UN Human Rights Council must demonstrate through their policies, actions and domestic and international human rights record a genuine commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the economic, social and cultural rights. Being a UN member state or even a permanent member of the UN Security Council does not by itself meet this criterion.

On Civil Society Participation

j) Asks all states to ensure the ongoing participation of civil society organizations and faith communities in the work of the UN, at local and international levels, as a means of encouraging transparency and accountability as well as a means of availing itself of essential expertise and information. This should be particularly emphasized with respect to the role of religions and religious organizations in addressing issues of security, human rights, development and the growing interplay between religion and politics.

Statement on Water for Life

1. For Christians, water is a symbol of life. The Bible affirms water as the cradle of life, an expression of God's grace in perpetuity for the whole of creation (Gen 2:5ff). It is a basic condition for all life on Earth (Gen 1:2ff.) and is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all creatures and the wider creation. Water is the source of health and well-being and requires responsible action from us human beings, as partners and priests of Creation (Rom 8:19 ff., Rev 22). As churches, we are called to participate in the mission of God to bring about a new creation where life in abundance is assured to all (John 10:10; Amos 5:24). It is therefore right to speak out and to act when the life-giving water is pervasively and systematically under threat.

2. Access to freshwater supplies is becoming an urgent matter across the planet. The survival of 1.2 billion people is currently in jeopardy due to lack of adequate water and sanitation. Unequal access to water causes conflicts between and among people, communities, regions and nations. Biodiversity is also threatened by the depletion and pollution of fresh water resources or through impacts of large dams, large scale mining and hot cultures (irrigation) whose construction often involves the forced displacement of people and disruption of the ecosystem. The integrity and balance of the ecosystem is crucial for the access to water. Forests build an indispensable part in the ecosystem of water and must be protected. The crisis is aggravated by climate change and further deepened by strong economic interests. Water is increasingly treated as a commercial good, subject to market conditions.

3. Scarcity of water is also a growing source of conflict. Agreements concerning international watercourses and river basins need to be more concrete, setting out measures to enforce treaties made and incorporating detailed conflict resolution mechanisms in case disputes erupt.

4. Both locally and internationally there are positive and creative responses to raise the profile of Christian witness to water issues.

5. Churches in Brazil and in Switzerland, for instance, have made a Joint Ecumenical Declaration on Water as a Human Right and a Common Public Good - by itself an excellent example for ecumenical co-operation. The Ecumenical Patriarch states that water can never be regarded or treated as private property or become the means and end of individual interest. He underlines that indifference towards the vitality of water constitutes both a blasphemy to God the Creator and a crime against humanity. Churches in various countries and their specialised ministries have joined together in the Ecumenical Water Network in working for the provision of freshwater and adequate sanitation and advocating for the right to water. Access to water is indeed a basic human right. The United Nations has called for an International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005 to 2015.

6. It is essential for churches and Christian agencies to work together and to seek co-operation with other partners, including other faith traditions and NGOs, and particularly those organizations that work with vulnerable and marginalized populations who hold similar ethical convictions. It is necessary to engage in debate and action on water policies, including dialogue with governments and multilateral or corporate institutions. This is essential to promote the significance of the right to water and to point to alternative ways of living, which are more respectful of ecological processes and more sustainable in the longer term.

Proposals

That the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil 14-23 February 2006:

1. adopts the statement on Water for Life and calls on the churches and ecumenical partners to work together with the aim to:
2. promote awareness of and take all necessary measures for preservation and protection of water resources against over-consumption and pollution as an integral part of the right to life;
3. undertake advocacy efforts for development of legal instruments and mechanisms that guarantee the implementation of the right to water as a fundamental human right at the local, national, regional and international levels;
4. foster co-operation of churches and ecumenical partners on water concerns through participation in the Ecumenical Water Network;
5. support community based initiatives whose objectives are to enable local people to exercise control, manage and regulate water resources and prevent the exploitation for commercial purposes;
6. urge governments and international aid agencies to give priority to and allocate adequate funds and other resources for programmes designed to provide access to and make water available to local communities and also promote development of proper sanitation systems and projects, taking into account the needs of people with disabilities to have access to this clean water and sanitation service;
7. monitor disputes and agreements related to water resources and river basins to ensure that such agreements contain detailed, concrete and unambiguous provisions for conflict resolution;
8. contribute to the International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005 - 2015, by exploring and highlighting the ethical and spiritual dimension of water crisis.
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Re: A Friend of the Devil: Inside a famous Cold War deceptio

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Part 10 of __

Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms

1. Speaking out of love for the world and in obedience to the God of all life, we raise our voice again with convictions the church has held since nuclear weapons were used six decades ago.

2. In the nuclear age, God who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy has granted humanity many days of grace. Through the troubled years of the Cold War and into the present time, it has become clear that God has saved us from ourselves. Although many were and are deceived, God is not mocked. The vengeance of nuclear holocaust is not for human hands. Our place is to labour for life with God.

3. Churches are not alone in upholding the sanctity of life. One shared principle of world religions is greater than all weapons of mass destruction and stronger than any ‘balance of terror': we must do to others what we would have them do to us. Because we do not want nuclear weapons used against us, our nation cannot use nuclear weapons against others. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki there is uranium within the golden rule.

4. Indeed, governments in the year 2000 made an "unequivocal undertaking" to meet their obligations and eliminate all nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

5. Yet instead of progress there is crisis. The basic and compelling bargain at the heart of the treaty is being broken. The five recognised nuclear powers, who pledged "the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals" under the NPT, are now finding new military and political roles for nuclear arms instead. The other 184 states in the treaty pledged never to have nuclear weapons. If the bargain to eliminate nuclear weapons is being broken, they for their part may have an incentive to seek the weapons too. When states with the biggest conventional arsenals insist for their security on also having nuclear weapons, states with smaller arsenals will feel less secure and do the same. It must be recognized as well that external political and military pressure can provoke countries to pursue nuclear weapons. In short, there is nuclear proliferation now despite the NPT.

6. As more states acquire nuclear arms the risk of nuclear weapons falling into non-state hands increases—just when it is an international imperative to wisely overcome the violence of terrorism. Nuclear arms do not deter non-state agents and nuclear action against them would cause gross slaughter while shattering international law and morality. These are scenarios the parties to the NPT are obligated to prevent.

7. On the question of morality, all people of faith are needed in our day to expose the fallacies of nuclear doctrine. These hold, for example, that weapons of mass destruction are agents of stability; that governments have nuclear arms so they will never use them; and that there is a role in the human affairs of this small planet for a bomb more powerful than all the weapons ever used. With our aging sisters and brothers who survived atomic bombs in Japan and tests in the Pacific and former Soviet Union, and as people emerging from a century of genocides and global wars, we are bound to confront these follies before it is too late.

8. Churches must prevail upon governments until they recognize the incontrovertible immorality of nuclear weapons.

9. From its birth as a fellowship of Christian churches the WCC has condemned nuclear weapons for their "widespread and indiscriminate destruction" and as "sin against God" in modern war (First WCC Assembly, 1948), recognised early that the only sure defence against nuclear weapons is prohibition, elimination and verification (Second Assembly, 1954) and, inter alia, called citizens to "press their governments to ensure national security without resorting to the use of weapons of mass destruction" (Fifth Assembly, 1975).

10. Existing WCC policy urges all states to meet their treaty obligations to reduce and then destroy nuclear arsenals with adequate verification. Our position is that the five original nuclear weapons states (in alphabetical order: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) must pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons, never threaten any use, and remove their weapons from high alert status and from the territory of non-nuclear states. WCC policy calls the three states that have not signed the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan), the one that has withdrawn (North Korea) and the one threatening to withdraw (Iran) to join the treaty as non-nuclear states or make a fully verifiable return (WCC Executive Committee Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 19.02.04; WCC Central Committee Statement on Nuclear Disarmament, NATO Policy and the Churches, 05.02.01). These measures have broad support across the international community, yet they remain undone.

Proposals

That the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms;

b) Calls each member church to urge its own government to pursue the unequivocal elimination of nuclear weapons under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Governments that have decided to abstain from developing nuclear weapons should be affirmed; states that are not signatories of NPT must be pressed to sign the treaty.

c) Urges churches to work to overcome the ignorance and complacency in society concerning the nuclear threat, especially to raise awareness in generations with no memory of what these weapons do.

d) Strongly recommends that, until the goal of disarmament is achieved, member churches prevail upon their governments to take collective responsibility for making international disarmament machinery work including mechanisms to verify compliance, for securing nuclear weapons and weapons-useable material from non-state actors, and for supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its critical mission of monitoring fissile material and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

e) Calls on member churches and parishes to mobilise their membership to support and strengthen Nuclear Weapons Free Zones, which are established in Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa and are proposed for other inhabited regions of the earth; and especially commends churches to engage other religions and to advocate for these zones during the WCC ‘Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace - 2001-2010'.

***

Report from the Public Issues Committee

Introduction

Introduction
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

The Public Issues Committee (PIC) was asked to work on draft proposals for five statements and one minute prepared in advance through a series of consultations and reflections and endorsed by the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches in its meeting on February 13th, 2006. These were:

1. Statement on Latin America
2. Statement on the Responsibility to Protect
3. Statement on Terrorism, Human Rights and Counter-terrorism
4. Statement on Reforming the United Nations
5. Statement on Water for Life
6. Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms

In this first report the PIC presents to the Assembly the draft statements on Latin America, Reforming the United Nations and Water for Life and a draft Minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms. The draft statements on the responsibility to Protect and Terrorism, Human Rights and Counter-terrorism will be presented in the second report of the PIC.

In addition, the Public Issues Committee received from the Assembly participants within the stipulated 24 hours after the announcement of the proposal of the Executive Committee, seven proposals for statements endorsed by at least ten member churches. After careful examination of the proposals in the framework of the existing policy and criteria for Public Issues actions by the general Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the Public Issues Committee proposes:

• A Minute on Mutual Respect, Responsibility and Dialogue with People of Other Faiths which will be presented in the second report of the PIC.

In response to the six other proposals and issues raised, the Public Issues Committee proposes the following actions would be more appropriate:

1. Trafficking of women

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal about the issue of trafficking of women and a request to pay special attention to the upcoming World Cup in Football taking place in June 2006 in Germany which will potentially bring tens of thousands of prostitutes mainly from Central and Eastern European countries to Germany.

The Public Issues Committee noted that in its meeting February 15 - 22, 2005 the WCC Central Committee issued a statement on uprooted people "Practising hospitality in an era of new forms of migration". The statement underlines human trafficking as one new trend in migration that "involves recruiting and/or transporting people using violence, other forms of coercion, or providing misleading information in order to exploit them economically or sexually (through for example, forced prostitution and bonded labour). Trafficked persons are often in conditions of slavery and are no longer free to move or to decide on their destinies. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking". The statement further recommends that churches should "combat the trafficking of human beings, particularly women and children for sexual exploitation; to work with governments, churches and concerned non-governmental organisations to ensure that the victims of traffickers receive the necessary treatment and respect; and to oppose efforts by governments to use the existence of trafficking as an excuse to restrict further immigration."

Follow-up actions on human trafficking have been initiated in the regions and taken up by some member churches. The Public Issues committee recommends that the WCC General Secretary and staff work in collaboration with their regional and international contacts to continue to closely monitor the situation, give further support to member churches and take appropriate actions.

2. Poverty

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a statement on Poverty. Poverty is indeed a major issue in our world and fighting poverty a priority for the World Council of Churches. The WCC gathered at its Eight Assembly in Harare strongly stated that the "reality of unequal distribution of power and wealth, of poverty and exclusion challenges the cheap language of our global shared community". The lack of a strong ethical and moral approach in responding to poverty is sinful in the eyes of God. The Public Issues Committee agrees that the issue of poverty in our world is a challenge that the churches and the wider ecumenical family are called to address in the 21st century. This, however, must be an intentional on-going process.

Considering seriously the implications of poverty on the lives of God`s people, the Public Issues Committee is presenting to the Assembly three statements where the issue of poverty is addressed. These statements, carefully written after much consultations and reflections, call upon churches and governments to address the various causes of poverty in our world. The statements on Water for life, Latin America and on Reforming the United Nations speak firmly and specifically on issues of poverty and how to fight poverty in different contexts.

3. Incarceration of the Orthodox Archbishop in Skopje, FYROM

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal to condemn the incarceration of Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skopje (FYROM). The World Council of Churches has addressed the situation of Archbishop Jovan by sending, on 31 August 2005, a letter to H.E. Branko Crvenkovski, the President of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, expressing deep concern for the imprisonment and reiterating that WCC considered that inter-church disagreements and disputes should be resolved through discussion and dialogue and judicial approach used only as a last resort.

The Public Issues Committee recommends the General Secretary and the staff to closely continue monitoring the situation and take appropriate measures as needed.

4. Protection of Discriminated WCC Member Churches1

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal on Protection of Discriminated WCC member churches making special reference to the Hungarian speaking minority churches East-Central Europe (Serbia-Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine).

On the particular situation of these minorities, the Public Issues Committee noted the report of the Central Committee in February 2005 where the situation of Vojvodina in Serbia-Montenegro was taken up as an area of great concern. Several church and government delegations have recently visited the region. WCC Programme Executive for Europe visited Serbia-Montenegro in April 2005 meeting the leadership of the minority churches. In addition the regional secretary and the WCC Commission of Churches on International Affairs monitor and follow-up the general situation in the region with special attention to minority situations in light of the WCC policy to give priority to the respect for Human Rights for all people and the unity between the different member churches in the region. Actions are being taken when appropriate with government institutions. The Public Issues Committee recommends that the CCIA and the Programme Executive for Europe, in consultation with the Conference of European Churches, follow the development and consider further actions as appropriate.

The proposal highlights the issues of persecution, discrimination and oppression of member churches of the WCC also in general terms. The Public Issues Committee affirms that supporting member churches in these situations, acting on behalf of the whole WCC fellowship, is in the core of the mandate of the Commission of Churches on International Affairs, and whenever such situations arise the WCC will act to protect members of the body, take up the issues in government relations and inter-governmental meetings.

5. Indigenous Peoples and Language Loss

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a minute on Indigenous Peoples and language loss. The WCC Central Committee, meeting in Geneva in February, 2005, issued a statement on Human Rights and Languages of Indigenous Peoples. In that document, the Central Committee called on member churches to urge the establishment of a UN International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2006 or a subsequent year and to appeal to their governments to remove discriminatory laws against Indigenous Languages, to work towards removing the layers of educational and social pressures arrayed against Indigenous Languages, and to actively pursue compliance with international conventions and treaties that regard the use of the language of heritage as a basic human right. The Public Issues Committee regards the Central Committee statement of February, 2005 mentioned herein as important and relevant and request churches to consider practical ways in which they can respond to this world-wide crisis, calling attention to the critical issue of language loss and working towards remedies both in their local areas and at international level. The Central Committee remind churches and the Christian community of the diversity of spoken languages as a sign of the presence of the fullness of the Spirit of God in Acts 2 and the full diversity of languages as an integral part of the vision of worship in the presence of God in Revelation 7:9. These concerns have also been shared with the Programme Guidelines Committee of the Assembly.

6. Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula

The Public Issues Committee received a proposal for a statement on Reunification of the Korean Peninsula. During the Korean War when the peninsula was divided WCC adopted the UN position which laid the entire blame on the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and resulting in enormous suffering of the Korean people.

The World Council of Churches continued to monitor the developments in the Korean peninsula. In 1984, October, the WCC at the request of the Korean churches organised a consultation on Peace in North East Asia. Amongst others the consultation spoke of the peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and its people. This even took place in Tozanso, Japan.

Subsequent to the Tozanso meeting there were series of visits by Korean Christian Federation (KCF) and National Council of Churches- Korea (NCC-K) leaders at Glion, Switzerland. These meetings continued in Kyoto and Macau. The WCC in cooperation with the Churches in Korea prepared a framework for unification. Through the 1980´s and 1990´s there were visits and exchanges between member churches in Canada, USA and Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea including meetings with separated families.

WCC continues to monitor developments in Korean peninsula including the 6 party talks. Last year the Korean working group comprising of NCC-K, KCF, National Council of Churches in Japan and Christian Conference of Asia and WCC reiterated support for 6 party talks and agreed to continue to monitor bilateral relations between North and South and the proposals made under the sunshine policy.

September 2004 the WCC Executive Committee meeting in Seoul made a statement on the unification issue but also on human rights and the nuclear concerns. WCC will continue to monitor the developments and take necessary action in cooperation with the member churches in Korea.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly accepts the responses of the Public Issues Committee to the requests for additional statements.

_______________

Notes:

1 Dissent was registered from the delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, objecting to the wording of the paragraph.

2 Dissent was registered from John Alfred Steele, delegate from the Anglican Church of Canada, who believes that the strict application of international law should not prevent intervention in extreme situations such as genocide or ongoing widespread killing of civilian populations.

***

1. Statement on Latin America
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. The WCC Assembly meets for the first time in Latin America and would first like to express its deep thanks to the Latin American Churches for having hosted the Assembly, to the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI) for its work in the construction of unity among the Christian Churches and to the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil (CONIC) who generously invited the WCC to hold the Assembly in this country. The present statement reflects issues and concerns received from Latin American Churches.

2. The Assembly theme "God, in your grace, transform the world" recalls the different transformations the region has experienced throughout its history; a history where hope, life and joy prevail through the centuries as characteristics of the region and signs of God's grace; a history of transformations which continue to take place even now. Recent elections in Latin American countries have resulted in the first Indigenous person to be elected as President of Bolivia and the first woman to be elected as President of Chile. These new political signs in the region follow other changes, which need to be interpreted in the context of Latin American history if the presence of God who renews the whole creation (Rev 21: 5) is to be discerned.

Recalling Latin America's history

3. After millennia of different indigenous cultures, with outstanding developments by, for instance, the Inca, Mayan and Tiwanacota civilisations, the "conquista" by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns in the XVI century gave a common recent history to this continent. This history, with a special recognition of the massacres of various indigenous populations and the introduction of slavery by the colonisers, was especially recalled in 1992, during the commemoration of the five hundred years of the colonisation by the Europeans. In the XVIIIth century, wars against the Spanish and Portuguese paved the way to freedom for most Latin American states. Hence, during the first half of the XIXth century, most of the countries achieved independence. However this political independence left different nations still economically dependent.

4. Since the wars of independence, many political leaders have called for the unity of the different Latin American states and in the last two hundred years many attempts to develop a Latin American unity have been made. Today, in the framework of the global political trends, which support regional integration, such unity is vital. Churches in the region have clearly stated that current efforts to build bridges between states should be based not only on economic trade agreements but should also respond to the needs and rights of the people, especially the weak and vulnerable. In this way, the path towards unity may be a sign of the brotherhood and sisterhood to which God calls all human beings.

5. Several voices in the Assembly pointed to the struggle for life and dignity, which has been a constant experience of Latin American people. Throughout history they have faced wars within and between states, confrontations, authoritative regimes and dictatorships, as well as irresponsible policies by governments and multinational corporations which have irreparably damaged their environment. Tribute should be paid to the testimony of thousands of Christians and other people of good will who gave their lives for human rights, dignity and care for the creation. Monsignor Romero from El Salvador, Mauricio López from Argentina, Chico Mendes from Brazil and Yolanda Céron from Colombia, are a few names among thousands, most of them unknown. The blood of these martyrs has helped to fertilise the seeds of God's kingdom, which have borne the fruits of solidarity, life and democracy.

Overcoming poverty and injustice

6. Unjust distribution of wealth, natural resources and opportunities has generated poverty, which dramatically affects the region. According to UN statistics, now as for decades, more than 40% of the population still live in poverty, while 20% live in extreme poverty. This cannot be considered separately from the implementation of structural adjustment programmes developed by the governments as a requisite from the International Financial Institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The privatisation of state companies brought in short-term relief and economic welfare in a few cases, but in the medium and lon-term perspective, many judge that the implementation of these kinds of policies have worsened the situation of the region, with huge economic crises in the late 90s and early 2000s occurring in several countries. Though in the last years, at the macroeconomic level the region seems to have recovered from these crises, poverty continues to be a challenge for governments and societies and a scandal for the churches. Even in those countries where poverty is relatively less, the gap between the rich and the poor is enormous and the distribution of wealth continues to be unjust.

7. The external debt has been a heavy burden for decades. Churches in the region have clearly stated the debt is unjust, illegitimate and immoral because it had been contracted during dictatorships with the complicity of International Financial Institutions and has already been paid. However, the need to continue to pay the service of the debt has prevented the implementation of effective social policies in most of the countries, seriously affecting education, health and work conditions. Furthermore, as a consequence of the economic crises, migration has increased and millions of Latin Americans are now living in other countries in the region, the United States or in Europe, their remittances to family members back home becoming one of the most important incomes in some Latin American countries.

8. This economic situation further increases the exclusion of vulnerable groups such as Indigenous Peoples, African descendants and rural populations. Indigenous Peoples continue to struggle for the recognition of indigenous rights. African descendants in Brazil, as well as in other countries in the region, still carry the consequences of slavery, which has prevented them from fully exercising their rights as they continue to suffer racism, violence and discrimination. In a region where poverty has often been related to issues of land ownership, landless movements in different countries, particularly in Brazil, have been claiming access to land. Churches and the ecumenical movement cannot be deaf to the cries of the poor and excluded in the region. Poverty is unacceptable in a region which is extremely rich in natural resources. The tragedy is that these have often been exploited in a way that has destroyed the environment through, for example, the contamination of rivers in large areas. Indeed the whole planet is threatened through the deforestation of the Amazonian region.

Healing the wounds of violence

9. Violence continues to be a major problem of the region. Some countries continue to face the consequences of political violence. In Colombia, for example, the armed conflict between political actors has largely affected the civil society. Because of this confrontation, thousands, mostly innocent people, have died and more than three million people have been internally displaced. The conflict has gone beyond national borders, having a serious impact on neighbouring countries. Colombian churches have strengthened their work with victims and have clearly asked the government of Colombia and armed groups to look for a negotiated solution of the conflict which could bring peace with justice.

10. Close to the region and to the Latin American Churches concern, Haiti is another country which has experienced extreme violence during the last years and experienced a political crisis, because of internal and external factors. Despite of the presence of a UN stabilisation force, violence continues, especially in Port-au-Prince. The recently held elections, after many postponements, although important in the need to re-establish democracy in the country, have not brought peace. There is still an urgent need for a broad national dialogue and a process of reconciliation to heal the wounds of the country. The international community should strengthen its support to the Haitian people in their struggle against poverty, for the reconstruction of democratic institutions and care for the environment.

11. The dramatic situations in which these countries live cannot be considered in an isolated way. They reflect a larger phenomenon, which affects the whole region. The new dynamics of militarism that have developed in the last years in the region threaten to become even more apparent with the establishment of new US military bases in different countries, such as Ecuador and Paraguay. However, the influence of the United States in the region is not new. For decades the US has influenced decision-making processes in politics, economics and culture, has supported dictatorships and authoritative regimes, and under the concern for hemispheric security the US has trained the Latin American military.

12. A particular focus of the US agenda for the region has been Cuba. A blockade imposed in the sixties by the US government has continued to seriously affect the Cuban population. This blockade, condemned several times by the WCC, has been hardened during the current US administration. Nevertheless, Cuba has managed to develop effective policies regarding health, education and culture. Civil and political rights need to be further improved if the country is to respond to the process of economic transformation which is occurring. Spaces for dialogue between the different sectors of the society and the government are urgently necessary.

13. Urban, domestic, ethnic, gender or youth violence is also experienced in Latin America on a daily basis. Youth gangs ("maras") are spreading in most Central American countries. The churches have especially addressed the major problem of the proliferation of small arms. The Decade to Overcome Violence during 2006 will be the opportunity in the region to tackle some of the faces of violence and bring the efforts of the churches together to build a culture of peace.

Struggling for life and dignity

14. The peoples of Latin America have struggled hard to build peace with justice and achieve democratic regimes. Victims and Human Rights organisations, together with churches in many countries, have been at the forefront of this struggle. The Inter-American System should be strengthened to contribute to implement the rule of law and to deal more effectively with Human Rights violations and impunity in several countries.

15. Moreover, in recent years many countries have made significant changes through presidential elections, as an expression of participatory democracy of the peoples. Candidates and parties who have shown more sensitivity to the needs and rights of the peoples have often been elected. New governments have stood up in a stronger way in confronting International Financial Institutions, Trade Agreements and subsidised agriculture in northern countries. Internal policies, more respectful of Human Rights and addressing poverty, hunger and other social needs have been developed. These governments have raised hope in the region and beyond, though the strong limitations they are facing, and the contradictions and corruption which threaten some of them, should not be overlooked.

Churches accompanying the peoples of Latin America

16. Christianity was brought to the region with the colonisers during the XVIth and following centuries and has not been without controversies. Many times the persecution of those who didn't accept the Christian faith caused thousands of casualties. But through their history, the faith experience of the indigenous, African, mestizo and European descendants, has developed a Latin American face of Christianity.

17. For a long time, Latin America has been known as the Roman Catholic continent. But the composition of Christianity has changed over the centuries. In the 19th Century, for instance, the Protestant and Anglican Churches came to serve in the continent and the Orthodox Church was established and has contributed to build the social fabric of different communities. In the last decades, Evangelical churches, mainly Pentecostal ones, have been growing systematically and in some countries have become important percentages of the population. Responding to the need to grant equal treatment to all religions, raised by many WCC member churches, improvements have been made in some national legislations to recognise their rights.

18. Ecumenism has made important contributions to the history of Latin America, particularly in recent times. Churches and ecumenical organisations in the region have played a key role in struggling against dictatorial and authoritarian regimes and defending Human Rights all over the region. The WCC, through different programmes, and particularly through its Human Rights Resources Office for Latin America, and together with CLAI, has been closely accompanying and supporting the churches and ecumenical, human rights and victims' organisations in their work to combat impunity, achieve peace agreements after civil wars, strengthen democracy and build up reconciliation.

19. The struggle for human dignity by the churches can be traced back to the fervent defence of the Indigenous Peoples by Christians like Fray Bartolomé de las Casas in the XVIth century. The struggle for human dignity has been a pillar of Latin American theology ever since. This particular consideration for the poor, the marginalized and the excluded in different societies throughout history has been at the origins of the particular theological approach known as Liberation Theology. Strongly incarnated in the social struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, more recently it has expanded its foci towards the economic, ecological, gender and inter-religious dimensions. Therefore, nurtured in this theological methodology rooted in a deep spiritual experience, Latin American Christianity has become deeply involved in defending, caring and celebrating life in its multiple manifestations, recognising God's presence in every life expression and especially in human life. This experience has been a gift of God to the whole Church.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the statement on Latin America.

b) Commends the Latin American churches in their work to overcome poverty and injustice, heal the wounds of violence, struggle for life and dignity, grant equal treatment to all religions in national legislations and asks them to further develop their work and reflection on issues such as grace, economy, gender, youth, disability, ethnicity, ecology and violence as part of their contribution to the ecumenical movement and in preparation for CLAI's Assembly in 2007.

c) Invites churches, ecumenical organisations and other civil society groups to have an active participation in the "Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace" which focuses this year on Latin America.

d) Appeals to WCC member churches and staff to emphasise the exchange with Latin American churches and ecumenical organisations and look for new ways of interacting with the churches and peoples of the region.

e) Encourages Latin American peoples to continue in their struggle to build new societies which respect the dignity of the whole creation and pay special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded, including Indigenous Peoples and African descendants, and to share their visions, concerns and lessons learned with peoples of other regions.

f) Calls on Latin American governments to strengthen their work towards a more effective integration of the region to face the challenges of the present world; to look for effective policies to overcome poverty, injustice and the degradation of the environment; to strengthen the rule of law and the respect and promotion of Human Rights and dignity and to continue to look for ways of enhancing democracy in their countries.

g) Urges the international community, the states and International Financial Institutions to recognise the illegitimacy of the external debt that burdens the region as well as to revise the rationale of free trade agreements in order to effectively respond to the needs of the population and to the concerns expressed recently by the churches in the region regarding the consequences for peasants, workers and communities' rights, the environment and citizen's participation.

***

6. Minute on elimination of nuclear arms
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. Speaking out of love for the world and in obedience to the God of all life, we raise our voice again with convictions the church has held since nuclear weapons were used six decades ago.

2. In the nuclear age, God who is slow to anger and abounding in mercy has granted humanity many days of grace. Through the troubled years of the Cold War and into the present time, it has become clear that, in this as in other ways, God has saved us from ourselves. Although many were and are deceived, God is not mocked (Gal 6:7). If vengeance in daily life is for God (Rom 12:19), surely the vengeance of nuclear holocaust 4 is not for human hands.Our place is to labour for life with God.

3. Churches are not alone in upholding the sanctity of life. One shared principle of world religions is greater than all weapons of mass destruction and stronger than any ‘balance of terror': we must do to others what we would have them do to us. Because we do not want nuclear weapons used against us, our nation cannot use nuclear weapons against others. Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki there is uranium within the golden rule.

4. Indeed, governments in the year 2000 made an "unequivocal undertaking" to meet their obligations and eliminate all nuclear weapons under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

5. Yet instead of progress there is crisis. The basic and compelling bargain at the heart of the treaty is being broken. The five recognised nuclear powers, who pledged "the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals" under the NPT, are now finding new military and political roles for nuclear arms instead. The other 184 states in the treaty pledged never to have nuclear weapons. If the bargain to eliminate nuclear weapons is being broken, they for their part may have an incentive to seek the weapons too. When states with the biggest conventional arsenals insist for their security on also having nuclear weapons, states with smaller arsenals will feel less secure and do the same. It must be recognized as well that external political and military pressure can provoke countries to pursue nuclear weapons. In short, there is nuclear proliferation now despite the NPT.

6. As more states acquire nuclear arms the risk of nuclear weapons falling into non-state hands increases—just when it is an international imperative to wisely overcome the violence of terrorism. Nuclear arms do not deter non-state agents and nuclear action against them would cause gross slaughter while shattering international law and morality. These are scenarios the parties to the NPT are obligated to prevent.

7. On the question of morality, all people of faith are needed in our day to expose the fallacies of nuclear doctrine. These hold, for example, that weapons of mass destruction are agents of stability; that governments have nuclear arms so they will never use them; and that there is a role in the human affairs of this small planet for a bomb more powerful than all the weapons ever used. With our aging sisters and brothers who survived atomic bombs in Japan and tests in the Pacific and former Soviet Union, and as people emerging from a century of genocides and global wars, we are bound to confront these follies before it is too late.

8. Churches must prevail upon governments until they recognize the incontrovertible immorality of nuclear weapons.

9. From its birth as a fellowship of Christian churches the WCC has condemned nuclear weapons for their "widespread and indiscriminate destruction" and as "sin against God" in modern war (First WCC Assembly, 1948), recognised early that the only sure defence against nuclear weapons is prohibition, elimination and verification (Second Assembly, 1954) and, inter alia, called citizens to "press their governments to ensure national security without resorting to the use of weapons of mass destruction" (Fifth Assembly, 1975).

10. Existing WCC policy urges all states to meet their treaty obligations to reduce and then destroy nuclear arsenals with adequate verification. Our position is that the five original nuclear weapons states (in alphabetical order: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) must pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons, never threaten any use, and remove their weapons from high alert status and from the territory of non-nuclear states. WCC policy calls the three states that have not signed the NPT (India, Israel, Pakistan), the one that has withdrawn (North Korea) and the one threatening to withdraw (Iran), respectively, to join the treaty as non-nuclear states, to make a fully verifiable return and not to withdraw (WCC Executive Committee Statement on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 19.02.04; WCC Central Committee Statement on Nuclear Disarmament, NATO Policy and the Churches, 05.02.01). These measures have broad support across the international community, yet they remain undone.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the minute on the Elimination of Nuclear Arms;

b) Calls each member church to urge its own government to pursue the unequivocal elimination of nuclear weapons under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Governments that have decided to abstain from developing nuclear weapons should be affirmed; states that are not signatories of NPT must be pressed to sign the treaty as non-nuclear states.

c) Urges churches to work to overcome the ignorance and complacency in society concerning the nuclear threat, especially to raise awareness in generations with no memory of what these weapons do.

d) Strongly recommends that, until the goal of nuclear disarmament is achieved, member churches prevail upon their governments to take collective responsibility for making international nuclear disarmament machinery work including mechanisms to verify compliance, for securing nuclear weapons and weapons-useable material from non-state actors, and for supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency in its critical mission of monitoring fissile material and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

e) Calls on member churches and parishes to mobilise their membership to support and strengthen Nuclear Weapons Free Zones, which are established in Latin America and the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa and are proposed for other inhabited regions of the earth; and especially commends churches to engage other religions and to advocate for these zones during the WCC ‘Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace - 2001-2010'.

_______________

Notes:

4 Dissent was registered from Rev. Helga Rudolf, delegate of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Romania, concerning the theological implications of the expression "nuclear holocaust". She feels that the word "holocaust" is being used without awareness of its original Biblical meaning as a burnt offering to God. She would have preferred to say "nuclear disaster", thus avoiding this misunderstanding and taking responsibility for our use of language.

***

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly. Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus. Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

7. Minute on mutual respect, responsibility and dialogue with people of other faiths
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. The international community must work together to nurture global respect for diversity, culture and religion. Religious communities and leaders have a special responsibility to promote tolerance and address ignorance about others. Representatives of 348 Churches from 120 countries, gathered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at the 9th Assembly of the WCC, reaffirm their commitment to respectful dialogue and co-operation between people of different faiths and other convictions. Through dialogue we learn about the faith of the other and better understand their underlying pain and frustration. We see ourselves through the eyes of the other. We can also better perceive the role of religion in national and international politics5.

2. In a world where we recognise a growing interaction between religion and politics, many conflicts and tensions carry the imprint of religion. The WCC has always encouraged interfaith dialogue both on the global and the local level. We urge member churches and national councils of churches to create platforms for such dialogues. Dialogue should be accompanied by co-operation where faith communities together can address the rest of civil society and governments on issues of common concern, and particularly when religion, holy places, minority rights and human rights are threatened.

3. Faced with the publication of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed of Islam, starting in Denmark in September last year, we recognize it is crucial to strengthen dialogue and co-operation between Christians and Muslims. The publications have caused worldwide controversies. Further publication and the violent reactions to them increase the tension. As people of faith we understand the pain caused by the disregard of something considered precious to faith. We deplore the publications of the cartoons. We also join with the voices of many Muslim leaders in deploring the violent reactions to the publications.

4. Freedom of speech is indeed a fundamental human right, which needs to be guaranteed and protected. It is both a right and a responsibility. It works best when it holds structures of power accountable and confronts misuse of power. By the publication of the cartoons, freedom of speech has been used to cause pain by ridiculing peoples' religion, values and dignity. Doing so, the foundation of this right is being devalued. We remind ourselves of what St. Peter wrote: "As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil - honour everyone" (1.Pet.2; 16-17). Misuse of the right to freedom of speech should be met with non-violent means like critique and expressions of firm disagreement.

5. We recognise that there are more than just religious aspects to the present tensions. Failure to find a just and peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, reluctance to accept outcomes of free elections, together with the war on Iraq and the war in Afghanistan add frustration to historical experiences marked by crusades and colonialism. In many parts of the world people identify as being politically and economically excluded, and they often experience that dominant powers and cultures apply double standards in dealing with issues which are important to them. In many countries in the rich and dominant parts of the world, integration policies have failed to welcome new minorities. Instead, they meet racism, stereotyping, xenophobia, and a lack of respect for their religion.

6. The real tension in our world is not between religions and beliefs, but between aggressive, intolerant and manipulative secular and religious ideologies. Such ideologies are used to legitimise the use of violence, the exclusion of minorities and political domination. The main victims of these types of controversies are religious minorities, living in a context of a different majority culture. Nevertheless, we recognise a growing respect and tolerance in all cultures. Many are learning that it is possible to be different, even to disagree and yet remain in calm dialogue and work together for the common good.

7. The recent crisis points to the need for secular states and societies to better understand and respect the role and significance of religion in a multicultural and globalised world, in particular as an essential dimension in human identity. This can help religion and people of faith to be instruments for bridging divisions between cultures and nations and to contribute to solving underlying problems.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the minute on Mutual Respect, Responsibility and Dialogue with People of other Faiths.

b) Asks member churches and ecumenical partners all over the world to express and demonstrate solidarity to those who are experiencing attacks on their religion and join them in defending the integrity of their faith by non-violent means.

c) Recommends all member churches, National and Regional Councils of Churches to contribute to the creation of platforms for dialogue with people of other faiths or none, and to address immediate as well as underlying social, economic and political reasons for division, including interaction with governments and secular authorities.

d) Urges member churches and ecumenical partners in contexts where religion interacts with politics in a way which causes division to deepen dialogue with leaders of other faiths, seek common approaches and develop common codes of conduct.

e) Calls on member churches and ecumenical partners all over the world to continue to address racism, caste, stereotyping and xenophobia in their respective societies and together with people of other faiths nurture a culture of respect and tolerance.

f) Reaffirms our commitment to the right to freedom of speech, at the same time as member churches are called to contribute to a needed reflection on how to uphold the need for ethical behaviour and good judgement in using this right.

_______________

Notes:

5

• Dr Audeh Quawas, delegate of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, who objected to formulations in paragraphs 3 and 5. In paragraph 3, he wished for a statement opposing the assertion of "freedom of speech" as a justification for inflamatory acts by the media, and wished to replace the word "deplore" with "condemn". In paragraph 5, he wished for a stronger statement condemning "collective punishment" in response to the outcome of democratic elections.

• Dr Emmanuel Clapsis, delegate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who objected to the failure to include, in paragraph 3, a reference to the disrespect by the media of religious symbols of all living faiths; and

• The Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, delegate of the Church of Nigeria, who felt that the word "tolerance" in paragraph 1 needed to be qualified by the adjective "positive".
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2. Vulnerable populations at risk. Statement on the responsibility to protect
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

Introduction

1. In January 2001, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) received the document "The protection of endangered populations in situations of armed violence: toward an ecumenical ethical approach". The document, which requested the churches to further study the issue, was also the beginning of a study and consultation process within the WCC, carried out by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA). A deeper reflection on ethical and theological aspects of the Responsibility to Protect is not only of concern to the churches. In a meeting in New York City in 1999, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan asked the WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, to contribute to the international debate on "humanitarian intervention" by bringing a theological and ethical perspective on the issue of intervention for humanitarian purposes.

2. The use of force for humanitarian purposes is a controversial issue in most intellectual and political spheres. While some believe that the resort to force must not be avoided when it can alleviate or stop large-scale human rights violations, others can only support intervention by creative, non-violent means. Others again, give a very high priority to territorial integrity and sovereignty. Churches too have necessarily entered this debate and the current dilemma among the WCC's constituencies has prevailed since the very beginnings of the Ecumenical Movement. During the 1948 WCC first Assembly in Amsterdam, the Assembly restated the opposing positions:

"a) There are those who hold that, even though entering a war may be a Christian's duty in particular circumstances, modern warfare, with its mass destruction, can never be an act of justice.

In the absence of impartial supra-national institutions, there are those who hold that military action is the ultimate sanction of the rule of law, and that citizens must be distinctly taught that it is their duty to defend the law by force if necessary.

Others, again, refuse military service of all kinds, convinced that an absolute witness against war and for peace is for them the will of God, and they desire that the Church should speak to the same effect."

3. In history, some churches have been among those legitimising military interventions, leading to disastrous wars. In many cases, the churches have admitted their guilt later on. During the 20th century churches have become more aware of their calling to a ministry of healing and reconciliation, beyond national boundaries. The creation of the WCC can be interpreted as one result of this rediscovery. In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to go beyond loving the neighbour to loving the enemy as well. This is based on the loving character of God, revealed supremely in the death of Jesus Christ for all, absorbing their hostility, and exercising mercy rather than retribution (Rom 5:10; Luke 6:36). The prohibition against killing is at the heart of Christian ethics (Mt 5: 21-22). But the biblical witness also informs us about an anthropology that takes the human capacity to do evil in the light of the fallen nature of humankind (Gen. 4). The challenge for Christians is to pursue peace in the midst of violence.

4. The member churches of the World Council confess together the primacy of non-violence on the grounds of their belief that every human being is created in the image of God and shares the human nature assumed by Jesus Christ in his incarnation. This resonates with the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The WCC has therefore initiated an ecumenical "Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace" parallel to the United Nations "Decade for the Culture of Peace. 2001-2010". It is in those who are most vulnerable that Christ becomes visible for us (Mt 25: 40). The responsibility to protect the vulnerable reaches far beyond the boundaries of nations and faith-traditions. It is an ecumenical responsibility, conceiving the world as one household of God, who is the creator of all. The churches honour the strong witness of many individuals who have recognised the responsibility to protect those who are weak, poor and vulnerable, through non-violence, sometimes paying with their lives.

From "humanitarian intervention" to the "responsibility to protect"

5. The concept of Responsibility to Protect was developed by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in its December 2001 report. It shifted the debate from the viewpoint of the interveners to that of the people in need of assistance, thus redefining sovereignty as a duty-bearer status, rather than as an absolute power. This innovative concept focuses on the needs and rights of the civilian population and on the responsibilities of sovereignty, not only on the rights of sovereignty. Hence, the shift from intervention to protection places citizens at the centre of the debate. States can no longer hide behind the pretext of sovereignty to perpetrate human rights violations against their citizens and live in total impunity.

6. The churches are in support of the emerging international norm of the responsibility to protect. This norm holds that national governments clearly bear the primary and sovereign responsibility to provide for the safety of their people. Indeed, the responsibility to protect and serve the welfare of its people is central to a state's sovereignty. When there is failure to carry out that responsibility, whether by neglect, lack of capacity, or direct assaults on the population, the international community has the duty to assist peoples and states, and in extreme situations, to intervene in the internal affairs of the state in the interests and safety of the people.

Our primary concern: Prevention

7. To be faithful to that responsibility to protect people means above all prevention - prevention of the kinds of catastrophic assaults on individuals and communities that the world has witnessed in Burundi, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other instances and locations of human-made crises. WCC studies showed that although churches have different views on the use of force for human protection purposes, they agree on the essential role of preventive efforts to avoid and, if possible, tackle the crisis before it reaches serious stages. Protection becomes necessary when prevention has failed. Hence, churches emphasise the need to concentrate on prevention. While external intervention - by the use of force or non-violently - may seem unavoidable in some situations, churches should nevertheless be engaged in increasing the capacity of the local people to be able to intervene themselves by strengthening structures of the civil society and modern public-private partnerships, in terms of prevention as well as protection. Churches are called to offer their moral authority for mediation between differently powerful actors.

8. The prevention of catastrophic human insecurity requires attention to the root causes of insecurity as well as to more immediate or direct causes of insecurity. Broadly stated, the long-term agenda is to pursue human security and the transformation of life according to the vision of God's Kingdom. The key elements of human security are economic development (meeting basic needs), universal education, respect for human rights, good governance, political inclusion and power-sharing, fair trade, control over the instruments of violence (small arms in particular), the rule of law through law-biding and accountable security institutions, and promoting confidence in public institutions. On the other hand, the more immediate preventive attention to emerging security crises must include specific measures designed to mitigate immediate insecurities and to instil the reliable hope that national institutions and mechanisms, with the support of an attentive international community, will remain committed to averting a crisis of human insecurity.

9. At the national level, governments should undertake self-monitoring to become aware of emerging threats, establish mechanisms for alerting authorities and agencies to such emerging threats, engage civil society and churches in assessing conditions of human security and insecurity, initiate national dialogues, including dialogue with non-state actors, to acknowledge emerging problems and to engage the people in the search for solutions, and develop national action plans.

10. Prevention requires action to address conditions of insecurity as they emerge, before they precipitate crisis, which in turn requires specific prevention capacities such as early warning or identification of emerging threats or conditions of insecurity, and the political will to act before a crisis occurs. To act before a crisis is present requires a special sensitivity to and understanding of the conditions and needs of people, which in turn requires the active co-operation of civil society, and especially faith communities which are rooted in the daily spiritual and physical realities of people. Faith communities are playing a major role in trust-building and truth finding processes in many contexts of crisis, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, trauma-healing centres, providing safe meeting places for adversarial groups, etc.

Forming the ecumenical mind on the dilemmas of the use of force

11. It is necessary to distinguish prevention from intervention. From the church and ecumenical perspectives, if intervention occurs, it is because prevention has failed. The responsibility to protect is first and foremost about protecting civilians and preventing any harmful human rights crisis. The international community's responsibility is basically a non-military preventive action through such measures as the deployment of humanitarian relief personnel and special envoys, through capacity building and the enhancement of sustainable local infrastructure, and the imposition of economic sanctions and embargoes on arms, etc. The international community has a duty to join the pursuit of human security before situations in troubled states degenerate to catastrophic proportions. This is the duty of protection through prevention of assaults on the safety, rights, and wellbeing of people in their homes and communities and on the wellbeing of the environment in which they live.

12. In calling on the international community to come to the aid of vulnerable people in extraordinary suffering and peril, the fellowship of churches is not prepared to say that it is never appropriate or never necessary to resort to the use of force for the protection of the vulnerable. This refusal in principle to preclude the use of force is not based on a naïve belief that force can be relied on to solve intractable problems. Rather, it is based on the certain knowledge that the objective must be the welfare of people, especially those in situations of extreme vulnerability and who are utterly abandoned to the whims and prerogatives of their tormentors. It is a tragic reality that civilians, especially women and children, are the primary victims in situations of extreme insecurity and war.

13. The resort to force is first and foremost the result of the failure to prevent what could have been prevented with appropriate foresight and actions, but having failed, and having acknowledged such failure, the world needs to do what it can to limit the burden and peril that is experienced by people as a consequence. This force can be legitimised only to stop the use of armed force in order to reinstate civil means, strictly respecting the proportionality of means. It needs to be controlled by international law 2 in accordance to the UN Charter and can only be taken into consideration by those who themselves follow international law strictly. This is an imperative condition. The breach of law cannot be accepted even when this, at times, seems to lead - under military aspects - to a disadvantage or to hamper the efficiency of the intervention in the short term. Just as individuals and communities in stable and affluent societies are able in emergencies to call on armed police to come to their aid when they experience unusual or extraordinary threats of violence, churches recognise that people in much more perilous circumstances should have the right to call for and have access to protection.

14. Churches may acknowledge that the resort to force for protection purposes in some circumstances will be an option that cannot guarantee success but that must be tried because the world has failed to find, and continues to be at a loss to find, any other means of coming to the aid of those in desperate situations. It should be noted that some within the churches refuse the use of force in all circumstances. Their form of responsibility is to persist in preventative engagement and, whatever the cost - as a last resort - to risk non-violent intervention during the use of force. Either of these approaches may fail too, but they both need to be respected as expressions of Christian responsibility.

The limits of the use of force

15. The churches do not, however, believe in the exercise of lethal force to bring in a new order of peace and safety. By limiting the resort to force quite specifically to immediate protection objectives, the churches insist that the kinds of long-term solutions that are required - that is, the restoration of societies to conditions in which people are for the most part physically safe, in which basic economic, social, and health needs are met, where fundamental rights and freedoms are respected, where the instruments of violence are controlled, and in which the dignity and worth of all people are affirmed - cannot be delivered by force. Indeed, the limiting of legitimate force to protection operations is the recognition that the distresses of deeply troubled societies cannot be quickly alleviated by either military means or diplomacy; and that in the long and painstakingly slow process of rebuilding the conditions for sustainable peace, those that are most vulnerable are entitled to protection from at least the most egregious of threats.

16. The use of force for humanitarian purposes can never be an attempt to find military solutions to social and political problems, to militarily engineer new social and political realities. Rather, it is intended to mitigate imminent threats and to alleviate immediate suffering while long-term solutions are sought by other means. The use of force for humanitarian purposes must therefore be carried out in the context of a broad spectrum of economic, social, political, and diplomatic efforts to address the direct and long-term conditions that underlie the crisis. In the long run, international police forces should be educated and trained for this particular task, bound to international law. Interventions should be accompanied by strictly separate humanitarian relief efforts and should include the resources and the will to stay with people in peril until essential order and public safety are restored and there is a demonstrated local capacity to continue to build conditions of durable peace.

17. The force that is to be deployed and used for humanitarian purposes must also be distinguished from military war-fighting methods and objectives. The military operation is not a war to defeat a state but an operation to protect populations in peril from being harassed, persecuted or killed. It is more related to just policing - though not necessarily in the level of force required - in the sense that the armed forces are not employed in order to "win" a conflict or defeat a regime. They are there only to protect people in peril and to maintain some level of public safety while other authorities and institutions pursue solutions to underlying problems.

18. It is the case, therefore, that there may be circumstances in which affected churches actively call for protective intervention for humanitarian purposes. These calls will always aim at the international community and pre-suppose a discerning and decision-making process in compliance with the international community, strictly bound to international law. These are likely to be reluctant calls, because churches, like other institutions and individuals, will always know that the current situation of peril could have been, and should have been, avoided. The churches in such circumstances should find it appropriate to recognise their own collective culpability in failing to prevent the crises that have put people in such peril.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the statement on the Responsibility to Protect and expresses thanks to all member churches and individuals involved in the study and consultation process on "The Responsibility to Protect: Ethical and Theological Reflection" and asks the Central Committee to consider further developing guidelines for the member churches, based on the principles in this report.

b) Fosters prevention as the key tool and concern of the churches, in relation to the Responsibility to Protect. Because churches and other faith communities and their leadership are rooted in the daily spiritual and physical realities of people, they have both a special responsibility and opportunity to participate in the development of national and multilateral protection and war prevention systems. Churches and other faith communities have a particular responsibility to contribute to the early detection of conditions of insecurity, including economic, social and political exclusion. Prevention is the only reliable means of protection, and early detection of a deteriorating security situation requires the constant attention of those who work most closely with, and have the trust of, affected populations.

c) Joins with other Christians around the world in repenting for our collective failure to live justly and to promote justice. Such a stance in the world is empowered by acknowledging that the Lordship of Christ is higher than any other loyalty and by the work of the Holy Spirit. Critical solidarity with the victims of violence and advocacy against all the oppressive forces must also inform our theological endeavours towards being a more faithful church. The church's ministry with, and accompaniment of, people in need of protection is grounded in a holistic sojourning with humanity throughout all of life, in good times and in bad.

d) Reaffirms the churches' ministry of reconciliation and healing as an important role in advancing national and political dialogue to unity and trust. A unifying vision of a state is one in which all parts of the population feel they have a stake in the future of the country. Churches should make a particular point of emphasising the understanding of sovereignty as responsibility. Under the sovereignty of God we understand it to be the duty of humanity to care for one another and all of creation. The sovereignty exercised by human institutions rests on the exercise of the Responsibility to Protect one another and all of creation.

e) Calls upon the international community and the individual national governments to strengthen their capability in preventive strategies, and violence-reducing intervention skills together with institutions of the civil society, to contribute to and develop further the international law, based on human rights, and to support the development of policing strategies that can address gross human rights violations.

f) Urges the United Nations Security Council, in situations where prevention has failed and where national governments cannot or will not provide the protection to which people are entitled, to take timely and effective action, in cooperation with regional organisations as appropriate, to protect civilians in extreme peril and foster emergency responses designed to restore sustainable safety and well-being with rigorous respect for the rights, integrity and dignity of the local populations.

g) Further calls upon the international community and individual national governments to invest much greater resources and training for non-violent intervention and accompaniment of vulnerable peoples.

h) Asks the Central Committee to consider a study process engaging all member churches and ecumenical organisations in order to develop an extensive ecumenical declaration on peace, firmly rooted in an articulated theology. This should deal with topics such as just peace, the Responsibility to Protect, the role and the legal status of non-state combatants, the conflict of values (for example: territorial integrity and human life). It should be adopted at the conclusion of the Decade to Overcome Violence in 2010.

***

4. Statement on terrorism, counter-terrorism and human rights
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. "The violence of terrorism - in all its many forms - is abhorrent to all who believe human life is a gift of God and therefore infinitely precious. Every attempt to intimidate others by inflicting indiscriminate death and injury upon them is to be universally condemned. The answer to terrorism, however, cannot be to respond in kind, for this can lead to more violence and more terror. Instead, a concerted effort of all nations is needed to remove any possible justification for such acts."

2. This message, included in the letter of the General Secretary of the WCC to the Secretary General of the United Nations on October 1, 2001 is reaffirmed by the 9th Assembly of the WCC.

3. In recent times, acts of terror and some aspects of the so-called "war on terror" have introduced new dimensions of violence. In addition, fundamental international laws and norms, including long-established standards of human rights, have come under threat.

4. Terrorists base their actions in absolutist claims. Religion is sometimes used as a pretext for the use of violence as being divinely sanctioned. Assembled as representatives from churches in all corners of the world, we state unequivocally that terror, as indiscriminate acts of violence against unarmed civilians for political or religious aims, can never be justified legally, theologically or ethically.

5. The WCC's 9th Assembly supports the stated goal of the Decade to Overcome Violence to "relinquish any theological justification for violence and to affirm a new spirituality of reconciliation and active non-violence".

6. Acts of terror are criminal acts, and should be addressed by the use of the instruments of the rule of law, both nationally and internationally. These instruments should be strengthened. The internationally accepted norms and standards of human rights and humanitarian law are the result of common efforts and are specifically meant to deal with situations of crisis and threats to individuals and societies. There is a danger that these instruments will be eroded in the response to terror. It is of critical importance to resist this erosion of rights and liberties. The "war on terror" has redefined war and relativised international law and human rights norms and standards. A military response to terror may become indiscriminately destructive and cause fear in affected populations. It may provide legitimacy to a violent approach rather than the criminal justice approach which is appropriate in dealing with cases of terror. The international community should co-operate in addressing terrorism, especially by strengthening the International Criminal Court to respond to acts of terror. Terror can only be overcome by the international community that upholds respect for the dignity of human beings and the rule of law.

7. Churches and all other faith communities are called to respond to the reality of living in a world terrorised by fear. At such a time it is appropriate to point to the rich resources in religion which can guide us to peace and reconciliation. These resources should be utilised when religious communities and religious leaders come together to speak out against all acts of terror and any attempt to legitimise it. They should also take action against any attempt at meeting terror with military means and disrespect for human rights and the rule of law. Religious communities and leaders should be in the forefront of the struggle for a society which is ruled by law and respect for human dignity. Churches have a pivotal role in framing the issues within a culture of dialogue.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the Statement on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights.

b) Affirms the role of the churches to seek peace and pursue it. Violence against unarmed and innocent civilians for political or religious aims by states and non-state actors can never be justified legally, theologically or ethically.

c) Requests UN member states with urgency to agree on a clear definition of Terrorism.

d) Urges that terrorist acts and threats as well as organisational support for terror be considered as matters of criminal justice. Measures to counter terrorism must be demilitarised and the concept of "war on terror" must be firmly and resolutely challenged by the churches.

e) Appreciates the theological work done by the churches on the concept of security and calls for its further development.

f) Expresses the need to accompany and support the churches as they respond prophetically and creatively in a pastoral and prophetic mission to assist those that are caught up in fear.

g) Encourages interfaith initiatives to mobilise alternate responses to terrorism that do not rely on violence. They should reject all attempts to justify acts of terror as a response to political and social problems and play an active role in the prevention of conflicts by serving as an early warning system and by building a culture of peace for life.

h) Affirms that all acts to counter terrorism by the state must remain within the framework of the international rule of law ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law. Legislation to counter terrorism should not result in humiliation and violation of the human rights and dignities. It is necessary for the states and the international community to go beyond policing and military co-operation and embrace co-operation in order to address root causes of terrorism.

***

3. Statement on UN reform
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. On many previous occasions the governing bodies of the World Council of Churches have affirmed the unique role of the United Nations and the noble ideals embodied in its Charter. The sixtieth anniversary of the UN and the process of reform initiated before the recent summit meeting offer an occasion for this assembly of the World Council to consider the present state of the international order and to call on member churches to renew and strengthen their active support for and engagement with the UN at a critical moment in its history. The churches, together with the wider civil society, carry a responsibility to shape the public opinion and to generate the political will for multilateral co-operative action that is needed for the UN to succeed in its mission.

2. Many of the "peoples of the United Nations" continue to cry for justice and peace. We hear this cry especially from peoples living under occupation and oppressive regimes, from victims of war and civil conflict, from the millions of uprooted people, from Indigenous Peoples displaced from ancestral land and from those suffering from the HIV and other pandemics, hunger, the lack of work, clean water and access to land for cultivation. Many have become disappointed in view of the limitations of the capacity of the UN to address their cries. Through droughts, floods, hurricanes and severe climate changes we also hear the cry of the earth that is groaning under the impact of human greed and brutal exploitation of the resources of nature.

3. As Christians we live by the promise and the hope that God hears the cries of the people and will deliver them from their sufferings. When we pray: "God, in your grace, transform the world" we trust that God, through God's life-giving Spirit, continues to offer life in its fullness. As we pray, we must be prepared to act in order to become co-workers with God in transforming ourselves, our communities and the international order and build a culture of life in dignity in just and sustainable communities.

4. When the UN was founded in 1945 it was guided by the vision: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to affirm faith in fundamental human rights, to establish the basic conditions for justice and the rule of law, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. People of faith inspired this vision and it has been the basis for the strong support that the WCC has rendered to the work and the aspirations of the UN and to the principle of multilateralism throughout its 60 years history.

5. After the end of the Cold War and the rapid spread of globalisation the UN finds itself at a critical juncture. On the one hand, complex global problems require a co-operative and multilateral response. Never before has it been so clear that the challenges of communicable diseases and environmental degradation, of corruption and organised crime, of proliferation of arms and the threat of terrorism cannot be resolved by individual states alone. On the other hand, this very situation has given rise to new fears, to mutual suspicion, and even to acts of indiscriminate violence leading some to withdraw behind barriers of exclusion or to rush to unilateral action believing that it is more effective.

6. The UN is based on the commitment of governments to act together and in solidarity with one another. In spite of weaknesses of the UN and failures of governments to cooperate through its forum it is still the best instrument that we have to respond to the contemporary challenges. In its 60-year history the UN and its specialised agencies have been able to strengthen the international rule of law, resolve many conflicts (e.g. in Kampuchea, East Timor, Namibia, and Liberia), resettle millions of refugees, raise the level of literacy, support education for all, introduce basic health care, fight poverty and respond to countless emergencies as well as natural and man-made disasters. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the commitments for financing development and the recent agreements regarding the cancellation of unpayable and illegitimate debt are indications that this commitment for multilateral action is still alive.

7. The changed global situation, however, obliges the UN and member states to engage in a serious process of reform in order to retain the capacity to respond to the basic mandate of the UN and to the aspirations of the people of the world. The reform process must continue to go beyond the framework of the UN organisation and aim at improving global governance based on the principle of multilateralism.

8. One significant achievement of the summit was the acknowledgement that the realisation of peace/security, development/social and economic justice and the implementation of human rights are inseparably linked. This should serve as the fundamental framework and policy orientation for the continuing process of reform. In fact, for people on the ground it has always been obvious that there can be no security in a situation of utter deprivation; that economic development at the expense of the recognition of human rights, in particular the rights of the marginalized, women, children, indigenous and differently-abled people does not serve the cause of social justice; and that without basic human security and the satisfaction of human needs the affirmation of human rights loses its meaning.

9. This acknowledgement of the linkage of the three pillars has implications for the ways we conceive of and approach action in the fields of security, development and human rights. We reaffirm the statement by the WCC assembly at Vancouver (1983): "No nation can pretend to be secure so long as others' legitimate rights to sovereignty and security are neglected or denied. Security can therefore be achieved only as a common enterprise of nations but security is also inseparable from justice. A concept of ‘common security' of nations must be reinforced by a concept of ‘people's security'. True security for the people demands respect for human rights, including the right to self-determination, as well as social and economic justice for all within every nation, and a political framework that would ensure it" (Gathered for Life, 134). This position was also emphasised again with the previous assembly at Harare (1998) in the statements on human rights and globalisation. "Human rights are the essential basis for a just and durable peace. Failure to respect them often leads to conflict and warfare…There is an urgent need to learn the lessons from the past, and to set up mechanisms of early intervention when danger signals appear" (Together on the Way, 200ff).

10. The fact that the outcome document of the 2005 UN World Summit recognises the inseparable linkage of the three pillars of security, development and human rights speaks for determined efforts to strengthen organisational and policy coherence in the UN system across borders and between specialised institutions, interests and constituencies.

11. Compared to expectations raised and perceived needs, the outcome of the UN World Summit in September 2005 was disappointing. Although, in the field of security, important achievements were made with the endorsement of the principle "The Responsibility to Protect" as a normative obligation and the commitment to a more coherent approach to conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding through the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, there was no agreement on disarmament and non-proliferation. On terrorism, the summit was not able to agree on a clear international definition making attacks against civilians for political purposes once and for all indefensible, nor to go beyond intelligence, policing and military co-operation to embrace in co-operation to addressing root causes. The highly politicised proposal for reform and reconstruction of the Security Council also ended in a deadlock.

12. Although, on development, the outcome document of the summit reinforced commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals and goals of full employment and decent work, no new commitments in aid, debt relief or trade were made. In failing to do so the world leaders failed to acknowledge the urgency of action on this area. The WCC was the first organisation to propose a target for official development assistance, of two per cent of national income. It is vital that member churches in donor countries continue to be strong advocates to their governments and the public of sustaining or increasing aid to the UN target of 0.7 per cent of GDP without harmful economic conditions. Combined with more just trade policies and faster and deeper reduction of official debt, it is possible to sustain development and poverty reduction to fulfil the MDGs, and even move beyond these important limited goals.

13. The agreement to double the resources and approve a new action plan for the High Commissioner on Human Rights is an important step. The new Human Rights Council, if given a prominent role in the UN structure and with appropriate tools, offers a potential to improve the Human Rights Mechanisms. While the Commission on Human Rights played an outstanding role in generating core standards on human rights, it has largely failed in achieving implementation, a failure compounded by the current context of the "War on terror", which has seriously undermined the rule of law internationally and in particular the respect for human rights law. The reluctance by some countries to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is another example of undermining progress of the international rule of law.

14. Non-governmental organisations play an important role at the UN providing crucial information, monitoring decision-making processes, creating opportunities for the voices from the grassroots, often the victims of international policies, to be heard and to overcome attitudes of narrow self-interest and promote the spirit of multilateralism. Churches are called to continue and strengthen their efforts to play a part in this vital role of engaging with the UN and holding it and member states to account for their decisions and policies. The unique role that religions or religious organisations could play in addressing conflict, and working for peace, human rights and ending poverty is not yet fully realised. There is an urgent need for the UN and member states to strengthen the capacity to deal with the growing interaction between religion and politics. There is also an urgent need for the churches and the WCC to strengthen their own capacities to continue and improve their engagements with the UN.

15. The real test for any steps in this reform process will be whether it increases the chances for life in dignity and sustainable communities for the people on the ground. This is the privileged context for the work and witness of the churches. They are entrusted with a message of life and hope that can dispel suspicion and paralysing fears and set people free to gain courage and confidence in their capacity to transform their lives in community.

Resolution:

The Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) Adopts the statement on UN Reform, to advance the objective of a more effective United Nations dedicated to the pursuit of global peace with justice.

b) Reaffirms the dedication of the World Council of Churches and member churches to the principles and purposes of the UN, its charter, and its role in advancing the rule of law and in elaborating norms and standards of state behaviour that serve the safety and wellbeing of all people. The effectiveness of the UN depends on accountable and inclusive democratic decision-making that does not sideline small, less powerful, and economically deprived members, and the success of UN reform is judged in terms of the capacity of the UN to change the situation of the people on the ground and make a practical positive difference and an improvement to their comprehensive wellbeing. Reaffirms furthermore the dedication of the WCC to be present and visible at the UN.

c) Encourages the churches to urge member states to cooperate actively with the United Nations and to keep faith with their commitments to financing the Organisation and ensuring that the organisation and its agencies are adequately staffed and funded to achieve their mandate.

On Security

d) Supports changes to the permanent membership of the UN Security Council that would make it more geographically, politically and culturally representative of today's world, and that would encourage working methods and decision-making processes that enable fair, effective, and timely responses to the needs of vulnerable people and to prevent the outbreak of violent conflict. All current and aspiring members of the UN Security Council should fully comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

e) Welcomes the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission as a means of developing new and appropriate ways of responding to civil conflict. The Peacebuilding Commission should adopt and endorse peacebuilding principles and practices, which emphasise local ownership in peacebuilding and peacekeeping processes. These should also promote the full participation of women (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325), the marginalised groups, Indigenous Peoples, differently- abled people and youth. At the same time current disarmament forums and mechanisms must be strengthened and made more effective in advancing the already agreed global objectives of the elimination of nuclear weapons and of controlling conventional arms and arms transfers.

On Development

f) Underlines the importance of democratically selected, open and accountable forums for discussion of global economic, social and environmental issues and calls for increasing their significance in comparison with exclusive, unbalanced and secretive forums. The UN Economic and Social Council should be enabled to hold finance ministers, meetings on global macro-economic management, to more actively address environmental issues integrated with social and economic issues and to hold the International Financial Institutions to account. Commitments made by governments in financing for development, towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, debt cancellation and for sustainable development should be seen as binding and the UN has to be given instruments to ensure their implementation.

g) Encourages churches to work with member states to make the UN an initiator and a global monitor for management of natural resources and public goods and for strengthening the mechanisms to ensure that transnational corporations are held accountable to global standards.

On Human Rights

h) Stresses that reform of the UN human rights architecture must result in an improvement of the capacity of the UN to engage with and make a practical positive difference in the lives of victims of injustice, discrimination and oppression around the world. The system of Special Procedures developed by the Commission on Human Rights, of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies as well as of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office should be actively supported, and their independence respected and their capacity substantially enhanced.

i) Urges member states to avoid politicising the composition of the new Human Rights Council and give it a status within the UN architecture that reflects the central importance of human rights as one of the three pillars of the UN system. Members of the UN Human Rights Council must demonstrate through their policies, actions and domestic and international human rights record a genuine commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the economic, social and cultural rights. Being a UN member state or even a permanent member of the UN Security Council does not by itself meet this criterion 3.

On Civil Society Participation

j) Asks all states to ensure the ongoing participation of civil society organisations and faith communities in the work of the UN, at local and international levels, as a means of encouraging transparency and accountability as well as a means of availing itself of essential expertise and information. This should be particularly emphasised with respect to the role of religions and religious organisations in addressing issues of security, human rights, development and the growing interplay between religion and politics.

_______________

Notes:

3 Dissent was registered from the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church regarding the right of UN member states to participate in the Human Rights Council regardless of their political or ideological systems.

***

5. Statement on water for life
23 February 2006

The following report was presented to and received by the Assembly.

Its resolutions were proposed by the Public Issues Committee and approved by the Assembly through consensus.

Dissent expressed by Assembly delegates is recorded as endnotes.

1. Water is a symbol of life. The Bible affirms water as the cradle of life, an expression of God's grace in perpetuity for the whole of creation (Gen 2:5ff). It is a basic condition for all life on Earth (Gen 1:2ff.) and is to be preserved and shared for the benefit of all creatures and the wider creation. Water is the source of health and well-being and requires responsible action from us human beings, as partners and priests of Creation (Rom 8:19 ff., Rev 22). As churches, we are called to participate in the mission of God to bring about a new creation where life in abundance is assured to all (John 10:10; Amos 5:24). It is therefore right to speak out and to act when the life-giving water is pervasively and systematically under threat.

2. Access to freshwater supplies is becoming an urgent matter across the planet. The survival of 1.2 billion people is currently in jeopardy due to lack of adequate water and sanitation. Unequal access to water causes conflicts between and among people, communities, regions and nations. Biodiversity is also threatened by the depletion and pollution of fresh water resources or through impacts of large dams, large scale mining and hot cultures (irrigation) whose construction often involves the forced displacement of people and disruption of the ecosystem. The integrity and balance of the ecosystem is crucial for the access to water. Forests build an indispensable part in the ecosystem of water and must be protected. The crisis is aggravated by climate change and further deepened by strong economic interests. Water is increasingly treated as a commercial good, subject to market conditions.

3. Scarcity of water is also a growing source of conflict. Agreements concerning international watercourses and river basins need to be more concrete, setting out measures to enforce treaties made and incorporating detailed conflict resolution mechanisms in case disputes erupt.

4. Both locally and internationally there are positive and creative responses to raise the profile of Christian witness to water issues.

5. Churches in Brazil and in Switzerland, for instance, have made a Joint Ecumenical Declaration on Water as a Human Right and a Common Public Good - by itself an excellent example for ecumenical co-operation. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew states that water can never be regarded or treated as private property or become the means and end of individual interest. He underlines that indifference towards the vitality of water constitutes both a blasphemy to God the Creator and a crime against humanity. Churches in various countries and their specialised ministries have joined together in the Ecumenical Water Network in working for the provision of freshwater and adequate sanitation and advocating for the right to water. Access to water is indeed a basic human right. The United Nations has called for an International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005 to 2015.

6. It is essential for churches and Christian agencies to work together and to seek co-operation with other partners, including other faith traditions and NGOs, and particularly those organizations that work with vulnerable and marginalized populations who hold similar ethical convictions. It is necessary to engage in debate and action on water policies, including dialogue with governments and multilateral or corporate institutions. This is essential to promote the significance of the right to water and to point to alternative ways of living, which are more respectful of ecological processes and more sustainable in the longer term.

Resolution:

That the Ninth Assembly, meeting in Porto Alegre, Brasil, 14-23 February 2006:

a) adopts the statement on Water for Life and calls on the churches and ecumenical partners to work together with the aim to:

b) promotes awareness of and take all necessary measures for preservation and protection of water resources against over-consumption and pollution as an integral part of the right to life;

c) undertakes advocacy efforts for development of legal instruments and mechanisms that guarantee the implementation of the right to water as a fundamental human right at the local, national, regional and international levels;

d) fosters co-operation of churches and ecumenical partners on water concerns through participation in the Ecumenical Water Network;

e) supports community based initiatives whose objectives are to enable local people to exercise responsible control, manage and regulate water resources and prevent the exploitation for commercial purposes;

f) urges governments and international aid agencies to give priority to and allocate adequate funds and other resources for programmes designed to provide access to and make water available to local communities and also promote development of proper sanitation systems and projects, taking into account the needs of people with disabilities to have access to this clean water and sanitation service;

g) monitors disputes and agreements related to water resources and river basins to ensure that such agreements contain detailed, concrete and unambiguous provisions for conflict resolution;

h) contributes to the International Decade for Action, Water for Life, 2005 - 2015, by exploring and highlighting the ethical and spiritual dimension of water crisis.

***

Second report (draft - for action)
22 February 2006

Vulnerable populations at risk

Statement of the Responsibility to Protect

Introduction

1. In January 2001, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) received the document "The protection of endangered populations in situations of armed violence: toward an ecumenical ethical approach". The document, which requested the churches to further study the issue, was also the beginning of a study and consultation process within the WCC, carried out by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA). A deeper reflection on ethical and theological aspects of the Responsibility to Protect is not only of concern to the churches. In a meeting in New York City in 1999, UN General Secretary Kofi Annan asked the WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, to contribute to the international debate on "humanitarian intervention" by bringing a theological and ethical perspective on the issue of intervention for humanitarian purposes.

2. The use of force for humanitarian purposes is a controversial issue in most intellectual and political spheres. While some believe that the resort to force must not be avoided when it can alleviate or stop large-scale human rights violations, others can only support intervention by creative, non-violent means. Others again, give a very high priority to territorial integrity and sovereignty. Churches too have necessarily entered this debate and the current dilemma among the WCC's constituencies has prevailed since the very beginnings of the Ecumenical Movement. During the 1948 WCC first Assembly in Amsterdam, the Assembly restated the opposing positions:

"a) There are those who hold that, even though entering a war may be a Christian's duty in particular

circumstances, modern warfare, with its mass destruction, can never be an act of justice.

b) In the absence of impartial supra-national institutions, there are those who hold that military action is the ultimate sanction of the rule of law, and that citizens must be distinctly taught that it is their duty to defend the law by force if necessary.

c) Others, again, refuse military service of all kinds, convinced that an absolute witness against war and for peace is for them the will of God, and they desire that the Church should speak to the same effect."

3. In history, some churches have been among those legitimising military interventions, leading to disastrous wars. In many cases, the churches have admitted their guilt later on. During the 20th century churches have become more aware of their calling to a ministry of healing and reconciliation, beyond national boundaries. The creation of the WCC can be interpreted as one result of this rediscovery. In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to go beyond loving the neighbour to loving the enemy as well. This is based on the loving character of God, revealed supremely in the death of Jesus Christ for his enemies, absorbing their hostility, and exercising mercy rather than retributive justice (Rom 5:10; Luke 6:36). The prohibition against killing is at the heart of Christian ethics (Mt 5: 21-22). But the biblical witness also informs us about an anthropology that takes the human capacity to do evil seriously. The challenge for Christians is to pursue peace in the midst of violence.

4. The member churches of the World Council confess together the primacy of non-violence on the grounds of their belief that every human being is created in the image of God and shares the human nature assumed by Jesus Christ in his incarnation. This resonates with the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The WCC has therefore initiated an ecumenical "Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace" parallel to the United Nations "Decade for the Culture of Peace. 2001-2010". It is in those who are most vulnerable that Christ becomes visible for us (Mt 25). The responsibility to protect the vulnerable reaches far beyond the boundaries of nations and faith-traditions. It is an ecumenical responsibility, conceiving the world as one household of God, who is the creator of all. The churches respect the strong witness of many individuals who have recognised the responsibility to protect those who are weak, poor and vulnerable, through non-violence, sometimes paying with their lives.

From "humanitarian intervention" to the "responsibility to protect"

5. The concept of Responsibility to Protect was developed by the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in its December 2001 report. It shifted the debate from the viewpoint of the interveners to that of the people in need of assistance, thus redefining sovereignty as a duty-bearer status, rather than as an absolute power. This innovative concept focuses on the needs and rights of the civilian population and on the responsibilities of sovereignty, not only the rights of sovereignty. Hence, the shift from intervention to protection places citizens at the centre of the debate. States can no longer hide behind the pretext of sovereignty to perpetrate human rights violations against their citizens and live in total impunity.

6. The churches are in support of the emerging international norm of the responsibility to protect. This norm holds that national governments clearly bear the primary and sovereign responsibility to provide for the safety of their people. Indeed, the responsibility to protect and serve the welfare of its people is central to a state's sovereignty. When there is failure to carry out that responsibility, whether by neglect, lack of capacity, or direct assaults on the population, the international community has the duty to assist peoples and states, and in extreme situations, to intervene in the internal affairs of the state in the interests and safety of the people.

Our primary concern: Prevention

7. To be faithful to that responsibility to protect people means above all prevention - prevention of the kinds of catastrophic assaults on individuals and communities that the world has witnessed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other instances and locations of human-made crises. WCC studies showed that although churches have different views on the use of force for human protection purposes, they agree on the essential role of preventive efforts to avoid and, if possible, tackle the crisis before it reaches serious stages. Protection becomes necessary when prevention has failed. Hence, churches emphasise the need to concentrate on prevention. While external intervention - by the use of force or non-violently - may seem unavoidable in some situations, churches should nevertheless be engaged in increasing the capacity of the local people to be able to intervene themselves by strengthening structures of the civil society and modern public-private-partnerships, in terms of prevention as well as protection. Churches are called to offer their moral authority for mediation between differently powerful actors.

8. The prevention of catastrophic human insecurity requires attention to the root causes of insecurity as well as to more immediate or direct causes of insecurity. Broadly stated, the long-term agenda is to pursue human security and the transformation of life according to the vision of God's Kingdom. The key elements of human security are economic development (meeting basic needs), universal education, respect for human rights, good governance, political inclusion and power-sharing, fair trade, control over the instruments of violence (small arms in particular), the rule of law through law-biding and accountable security institutions, and promoting confidence in public institutions. On the other hand, the more immediate preventive attention to emerging security crises must include specific measures designed to mitigate immediate insecurities and to instil the reliable hope that national institutions and mechanisms, with the support of an attentive international community, will remain committed to averting a crisis of human insecurity.

9. At the national level, governments should undertake self-monitoring to become aware of emerging threats, establish mechanisms for alerting authorities and agencies to such emerging threats, engage civil society and churches in assessing conditions of human security and insecurity, initiate national dialogues, including dialogue with non-state actors, to acknowledge emerging problems and to engage the people in the search for solutions, and develop national action plans.

10. Prevention requires action to address conditions of insecurity as they emerge, before they precipitate crisis, which in turn requires specific prevention capacities such as early warning or identification of emerging threats or conditions of insecurity, and the political will to act before a crisis occurs. To act before a crisis is present requires a special sensitivity to and understanding of the conditions and needs of people, which in turn requires the active cooperation of civil society, and especially faith communities which are rooted in the daily spiritual and physical realities of people. Faith communities are playing a major role in trust-building and truth finding processes in many contexts of crisis, such as truth and reconciliation commissions, trauma-healing centres, providing safe meeting places for adversarial groups, etc.
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