World Council of Churches
Potsdam, Germany
29 January - 6 February 2001
Document No. GS 1.1



The report of the Officers to the Central Committee is a constitutional obligation. The purpose of this report is to inform the Central Committee of the decisions taken by the Executive Committee at its meetings of 29 February -3 March and 26 - 29 September 2000, as well as those taken by the Officers at their meetings of 8 - 9 June and 30 November - 1 December 2000.

1. Inter-Religious Dialogue: The Executive Committee, at its meeting of 29 February - 3 March 2000 discussed the participation of the WCC in international inter-religious initiatives and events and agreed that this matter constitutes one of the crucial challenges to the ecumenical movement in the 21st century. It recommended that the WCC consider its policy and strategy, sharpen its specific contribution and offer an ecumenical perspective and guidance on the matter to its member churches. The advisory group on Inter-religious Relations was asked to make concrete proposals to the Programme Committee of the Central Committee on several aspects of inter-religious dialogue.

2. Advocacy: The Executive Committee supported the establishment of a new ecumenical mechanism for global advocacy, bearing in mind that the WCC should play a central role in the new mechanism. The mechanism, known as the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, should provide for accountability of the participants and engage and encourage the involvement of the churches in advocacy. The Executive Committee advised that a small WCC Office on Advocacy be set up and that its funding should not divert resources from on-going WCC programmes.

3. Public Issues: At its meeting of February/March 2000, the Executive Committee issued a statement on Chechnya, urging the end of hostilities and the suffering and loss of life on both sides of the conflict. It noted with appreciation the appeal of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II for "common efforts to heal the physical and spiritual wounds of those who suffer". In addition, the Committee issued a Minute on Cyprus, welcoming the resumption of UN-led talks to pave the way to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. A Minute on Indonesia, called on Christian and Muslim leaders to intensify efforts to mediate the dispute and to offer generous assistance to the victims of violence and the re-building of their communities and places of worship. These were followed in September 2000 by a resolution on the Jerusalem Final Status Negotiations, re-affirming the Harare Statement on the Status of Jerusalem and underlining the urgency of pursuing negotiations. The Committee issued a Statement on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Creation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It reiterated its support for the underlying principles of the organisation and called on the churches to use the occasion to raise awareness about the plight of uprooted peoples in their communities.

4. Financial Accounts: The Committee received interim reports on 1999 budget, the audited report of which was sent to you in August 2000.

In March 2000, the Executive Committee approved the budget for the current year noting that there had been a further drop in contributions income against the prior year. Considerable efforts were being taken to adjust expenditure to continually decreasing income. These include deferring specific expenditures to the latter part of the year, and making the authorisation of the related activity subject to additional income in excess of the "budgeted baseline" being realised.

At its meeting in September, the Committee learned that it would be necessary to meet the expected shortfall of CHF 778,000 from appropriate reserves. The Committee recommended that additional efforts be taken to address the imbalance between designated and undesignated contributions, which is effectively responsible for the deficit.

In December 2000 the Officers considered an outline of the budget for 2001. A detailed budget will be submitted to the Officers and to the Executive and Central Committees in January 2001.

The UDI/CHF 10 Million Campaign: The Committee received a report on the status of the campaign to raise membership and UDI contributions from the current CHF 6 million to CHF 10 million by the year 2005. The campaign includes intentional visits to member churches, a correspondence campaign and soliciting the help of governing body members to work on the campaign. The Committee requested specific timelines for the proposed plan of action, and suggested that membership contributions be discussed by a special commission.

The Compensation Study: The study, which was planned as a result of the organisational changes brought about the Common Understanding and Vision process, had been adjourned pending the appointment of a new Human Resources director, who is now in place. The Committee was made aware of the financial implications of the new remuneration plan, which will take into account staff development and the increased cost of living. Discussions by the Committee are to resume after the presentation of concrete proposals emerging from the study.

5. ACT: In preparation of legal decisions concerning changes in the governing structure, the Committee requested the ACT communication officers and WCC Communication to prepare a presentation to the attention of the Central Committee members, enabling them to understand better ACT’s mission and activities. It asked that the link between the WCC and ACT be made more visible and the Council’s leading role highlighted. The Committee suggested that increased communication and education about ACT would enable the member churches to understand and to feel some ownership of the organisation.

6. ENI: The Executive Committee endorsed a proposal that ENI become a non-profit making association under Swiss law. The proposal had also been reviewed by other ENI partners. It was hoped that the association could be constituted as of January 1, 2001.

7. Mission and Evangelism: The Executive Committee endorsed the proposal of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism that the WCC organise a world mission conference before the next Assembly and forward this proposal to the Central Committee.

8. The Ecumenical Disabilities Advocacy Network (EDAN): The Committee received with appreciation the progress report on the programme which emerged at the Harare Assembly and welcomed its working style which is based on the principle of partnership.

9. Appointments: The Officers and the Executive Committee approved the appointment of several new staff members: Dr Rogate Mshana (Tanzania, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania), Executive Secretary for Economy and Justice, for four years, from 1 February 2000; Mr Fei Tevi (Fiji, Anglican), Regional Relations Secretary for the Pacific, for four years from 1 April 2000; Ms Christina Minezac (Switzerland, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Human Resources Manager, for four years from 1 September 2000; Mr Thor-Arne Prois (Norway, Lutheran Church of Norway), ACT Co-ordinator for two years from an agreed date; Fr Dr Ioan Sauca (Romanian, Romanian Orthodox) as Director of the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, for four years from 1 January 2001; Mr Michiel Hardon (The Netherlands, Netherlands Reformed Church), as Director of Income, Monitoring and Development, for four years, from 1 January 2001; Dr Tamara Grdzelidze (Georgia, Orthodox Church of Georgia), Executive Secretary, Faith & Order, for four years, from 1 January 2001; Vikarin Kersten Storch (Germany, EKD, Lutheran) as Executive Secretary, for four years from 1 August 2001, to be endorsed by the EKD; Rev. Carlos Ham (Cuba, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba), as Executive Secretary for Evangelism, for four years, from 1 March 2001.

Five Consultants were appointed by the General Secretary since the last meeting of the Central Committee: Mr Miroslaw Matrenczyk (Poland, Polish Orthodox Church), Consultant for Eastern Europe, for two years, from 1 January 2000; Ms Elsa Moreno Cardenas (Colombia, Roman Catholic Church), consultant/Appeals Office, ACT, for one year from 1 January 2000, extended for an additional year from 1 January 2001; Dr Peter Bouteneff (USA, Orthodox Church in America) consultant to the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, for three years from 1 September 2000; Mr Jean-Nicolas Bazin (France, Eglise Reformée de France), Finance, Services and Administration, Consultant, Information Technology, for three years, from 1 September 2000; Ms Diana Mavunduse, (Zimbabwe, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe), DOV Communicator, Communications, for one year from 1 November 2000.

Two internal transfers were approved: Ms Carol Abel (UK, Church of Ireland, Anglican), as Project Manager, Finance, Services and Administration, from 1 October 2000; and Ms Catherine Inoubli (France, Roman Catholic), as IT Operations co-ordinator, from 1 October 2000.

Vacancies were announced for the following positions: Lecturer, Bossey Ecumenical Institute; Finance Manager, Finance; Information Technology Manager for Computer Information Services; Executive Secretary for Education and Ecumenical Formation, Education and Ecumenical Formation team.

The Committee learned of the death of Mr Marlin VanElderen (USA, Christian Reformed Church in North America), Executive Editor, on 12 June 2000.

10. Extension of Contract of General Secretary: At its meeting of September 2000, the Executive Committee recommended to the Central Committee to extend for one year the contract of the General Secretary and to delay for one year the process for the election of a new General Secretary.

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