Assembly Adopts Documents Addressing Concerns for Unity, Politicization of Religion and Rights of Religious Minorities, Peace on the Korean Peninsula, Among Others

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Two young Korean Christian volunteers pose with a banner of the WCC Assembly theme

The WCC Assembly adopted a number of documents addressing public issues, a statement on unity, and a “message” coming out of the experience of the assembly.

In addition to just peace (see the Newsline report at http://www.brethren.org/news/2013/wcc-assembly/world-council-of-churches-adoptts-just-peace-statement.html ), the documents addressed the politicization of religion and the rights of religious minorities, peace on the Korean Peninsula, and the human rights of stateless people, among several other situations of concern for the ecumenical movement.

A number of the documents were adopted in an extra business session on the last day of the assembly after it became clear the delegates did not have time to discuss all of the remaining business items. The delegate body agreed to the moderator’s suggestion to decide to adopt the documents by consensus, without discussion. However, one of the proposed documents on nuclear weapons and nuclear energy did not receive enough support, and was referred to the WCC Central Committee.

The most prominent statements adopted by this assembly had been initiated through an “intensive process, which involved the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, the WCC officers, and the WCC executive and central committees in 2012 and 2013,” said a WCC release.

The statement titled “Politicization of Religion and Rights of Religious Minorities” calls on the global ecumenical community to mediate with their respective governments “to develop policies of providing effective protection of persons and communities belonging to minority religions against threats or acts of violence from non-state actors.” It also calls for “concerted and coordinated efforts on the part of religious, civil society and state actors in order to address violations of rights of religious minorities and their freedom of religion and belief.” (Read the full statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/politicisation-of-religion-and-rights-of-religious-minorities .)

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
A creative expression of the WCC Assembly theme, using cut outs from cardboard boxes

The statement on “Peace and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula” calls for “a creative process for building peace on the Korean peninsula” through measures such as halting military exercises and foreign intervention, and reducing military expenditures.  (Read the full statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/peace-and-reunification-of-the-korean-peninsula .)

A statement on the “Human Rights of Stateless People” calls on churches “to engage in dialogue with states to adopt policies which confer nationality to stateless people and provide proper documentation.” It encourages churches and other organizations and the United Nations to collaborate effectively to reduce and eradicate statelessness. Haitian Brethren in the Dominican Republic are among the people threatened by statelessness for whom this statement is pertinent. (Read the full statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/human-rights-of-stateless-people .)

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Members of a Korean Christian group promoting a world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy

Other statements and minutes adopted by the assembly address:

— improved United States-Cuba relations and lifting of economic sanctions (go to http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/resolution-urging-improved-united-states-cuba-relations-and-lifting-of-economic-sanctions )

— Christian presence and witness in the Middle East (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/statement-affirming-the-christian-presence-and-witness-in-the-middle-east )

— the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/minute-on-the-situation-in-democratic-republic-of-congo )

— commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide of 1915 (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/minute-on-100th-anniversary-of-the-armenian-genocide ).

— the current critical situation of Abyei in South Sudan (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/statement-on-the-current-critical-situation-of-abyei-in-south-sudan )

climate justice (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/minute-on-climate-justice )

indigenous peoples (go to www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/minute-on-indigenous-peoples )

The message of the assembly titled “Join the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace” is at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/message-of-the-wcc-10th-assembly .

The assembly’s statement on unity is at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/assembly/2013-busan/adopted-documents-statements/unity-statement .