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For immediate release:
1 July 2004
Kobia affirms WCC's strong relationship with German churches, praises country's role in promoting peace, justice, ecology
Embargoed against delivery : Thursday 1 July 2004 at 18:00
High-resolution photo available (see below)
cf: WCC Press Release PR-04-10 of 23 June 2004
Germany could lead efforts to achieve the "global ideals" of "peace, justice and ecological protection" said Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia today at a reception attended by prominent German political, civic and church leaders in Berlin.
Speaking at the Evangelical Church in Germany's annual St John’s reception, the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed his appreciation for the pioneering work done on globalization by the German parliament. This work has "revealed the asymetrical nature of our world today," Kobia said.
Highlighting the active engagement of German churches in the ecumenical search for justice, peace and the integrity of creation, Kobia affirmed his hope that Germany "will develop strong impulses for just peace in the conflict-torn regions, for sustainable use of resources and renewable energies, and for reconciliation of wounded memories and enmity."
Calling it "an affront to the ecumenical vision of a united humanity", Kobia stated that "the process of globalization driven by the neo-liberal economic paradigm has created a global inequality and inequity" in which 20% of the world's population owns 83% of the global resources. "Our challenge today is to search for alternatives" to a world "of increasing inequality and violence" and "to nurture an economy that works in the service of life and does not contribute to its destruction," he stressed.
The WCC general secretary also highlighted the need for "inter-religious dialogue and co-operation" in the face of "growing xenophobia", including "an evolving enemy-image that makes a caricature of our Muslim friends", and the "blatant misuse of religion in the mobilization of war". It is urgent, he said, "to nurture non-violent action for change and to work for peace and reconciliation" against the backdrop of "justification for war and even brutal torture" that harms the humanness of both the victims and the perpetrators.
Kobia attended the St John's reception during a visit to the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) - his first as WCC general secretary to member churches in Europe. The visit, he said, signified the "strong relationship between WCC and German churches," and his intention to deepen that partnership.
Before the reception, Kobia met with the president of the EKD Council Bishop Dr Wolfgang Huber and other senior representatives of the church. The newly elected German president Horst Koehler was also present at the reception.
A photo of Bishop Dr Huber with Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia is available on our website:
This material may be reprinted freely.
Juan Michel,+41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.