Visit to World Council of Churches

An ICCJ delegation visited Geneva on September 30 and October 1 to consult with the World Council of Churches and other ecumenical bodies, all located in the Centre Oecuménique, Route de Ferney.

WCC and ICCJ have been in contact for a long time. Excellent cooperation between present and former WCC staff members in the Department for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation and ICCJ have resulted in a broad spectrum of consultations during recent years. The World Council holds observer status in the ICCJ Executive Board. The Geneva meetings were among friends.

ICCJ President Dr. Weissman started a long series of sessions on Monday morning, meeting with the staff of the EAPPI program of the World Council. EAPPI stands for Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel. EAPPI wants to provide protective presence in Palestine to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. A new EAPPI coordinator will be located in Jerusalem soon. Criticism heard from ICCJ’s background could be shared and discussed.

After the other ICCJ delegates, Mrs. Liliane Apotheker and Rev. David Gifford, board members and Rev Dick Pruiksma, ICCJ General Secretary had arrived, the ICCJ in one session met with representatives of the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Conference of European Churches and the World Student Christian Federation. The ICCJ delegation was graciously hosted by the World Council at the beautiful Ecumenical Center in Bossey.

On Tuesday we first of all met with Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. The sharing of our hopes and concerns re. the Israel/Palestine conflict, the continuation of Jewish-Christian dialogue in general and the possibility of a joint consultation on Jewish Christian relations outside the western world, marked this meeting as a meeting of friends and colleagues.

The program of the visit was concluded with an exchange of our thoughts and ideas with several WCC staff members. A long to-do-list resulted from all these meetings. A strong cooperation will be continued, starting at the WCC General Assembly in Busan, Korea, where ICCJ President Dr. Weissman will be a Jewish observer. ICCJ wants to thank very warmly our WCC colleagues Dr Clare Amos and Mariette Ruhland for organizing these events.