Transform power and back Africa, says WCC head
The new African head of the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 342 national churches in 120 countries, has called on Christians to work for a radical transformation of the way power is used in the world today.
Declared Dr Sam Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya, at a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia: 'Now the US is the world's only superpower and its policies and actions have consequences for every country in the world, people are afraid of US power and the way it is being used'.
In this context, it was essential that US churches should 'continue to advocate for a responsible use of power', added Dr Kobia, who became the first African General Secretary of the WCC at the beginning of 2004. He acknowledged that Christian truth-telling was a difficult task when the nation was so divided.
'This is precisely why churches worldwide are mobilized in support of communities in the US that uphold another power, the power of peace,' stated Kobia. 'They expect much from you, because indeed much has been given to you.'
While affirming 'the vitality and creativity of peace and justice work in the US', Dr Kobia also stressed the importance of grounding that work 'in spiritual discernment and prayer'.
The responsibility of the US churches has also been underlined by the senior pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev Dr Joseph L. Roberts, Jr. Quoting Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, Roberts emphasized that for those who follow Christ 'true love is a painful embrace'.
As God 'painfully embraces the world with all its evils,' asked Roberts, 'will our arms reach those who are suffering from Beslan to Abu Ghraib, from Darfur to the thousands of women and children introduced every year into the US and sold into forced labour and prostitution?'
Dr Kobia also used the opportunity of his recent US visit to press the need for positive government and NGO policies towards Africa, 'a continent crying out for justice'.