New member churches welcomed to World Council of Churches

By agency reporter
June 28, 2016

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has welcomed three new member churches to the ecumenical fellowship and also admitted two others to interim membership status.

The action, taken by the WCC Central Committee at its June 20-28 meeting in Trondheim, Norway, expands the number of member churches to 348.

Central Committee moderator Dr Agnes Abuom, said : “We are delighted to welcome these churches to the ecumenical fellowship. And it is a special joy to welcome back to the fellowship the Dutch Reformed Church, one of our founding member churches and now, a generation after the end of Apartheid, a partner in building a future of justice for all peoples.”

The three new member churches are:

The Dutch Reformed Church, founded in the 17th century, includes more than a million members and three theological faculties.  Suspended from the WCC in 1962 because of its involvement in and support of Apartheid, the DRC in 1986 rejected all forms of racism and opened its membership to all believers.

Blantyre Synod is the component part of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) for the southern region of Malawi.The CCAP Blantyre Synod was established in the 19th century by Scottish missionaries and includes 1.8 million members in 800 local congregations.

The Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI) is one of the largest Baptist groups in India, including 1.2 million members in 7263 congregations. The American Baptist Missionaries initiated the mission in 1836. Today CBCNEI has six regional conventions as participating bodies in North Eastern states.

Along with the new member churches, two other churches entered the interim period designated for churches that have been accepted into WCC membership:

The Africa Brotherhood Church, (ABC) from Kenya, was founded in 1945 by several brotherhoods that had received the Gospel from Africa Inland Mission (AIM), Salvation Army or Catholic missions. They wanted to focus on education and enculturation of Christianity. The ABC currently has 159,193 members in 916 local congregations in East and Central Africa.

The Community of Baptist Churches in Central Africa (CBCA) is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Founded in 1927 by an American missionary society named Unevangelised Africa Mission, it became independent in 1964. Present in the eastern part of the DRC, the CBCA currently has over 500,000 members in 418 recognized congregations and 300 outposts. CBCA owns thousands of church schools, church health facilities and a university.

* 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, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

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