Specialized Ministries Pre-assembly

The pre-assembly will articulate a response to the brokenness and discrimination that threaten creation and the human family.

Together we are on our way to the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, under the theme “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity”. The assembly comes at a time when the world seems more divided than ever by increasing disparities, racism, populism and violence.

The pre-assembly with the leadership of specialized ministries is the opportunity to articulate a common response to the most pressing issues of our time and to propose common action as we move together toward the WCC assembly in Karlsruhe.

At the WCC 10th Assembly in 2013, the ecumenical fellowship embarked on a pilgrimage of justice and peace. Central to this journey is a common understanding that “diakonia, as the church’s ministry of sharing, healing and reconciliation, is of the very nature of the church ... it demands of individuals and churches a giving which comes not out of what they have, but what they are” (WCC 6th Assembly).

The pre-assembly, hosted in collaboration with ACT Alliance, comes soon after the ACT General Assembly in 2021 and builds on some of its outcomes related to the climate crisis, power relations, discrimination, racism, fundamentalism and democracy.

The pre-assembly has three primary goals:

  • To define the urgent issues that compel our common action in a time of uncertainty.

  • To articulate a response to the brokenness and increasing discrimination that threaten creation and the human family.

  • To communicate this shared vision as the ecumenical movement journeys toward justice, peace and reconciliation.

    The pre-assembly will frame the context with a “What’s at Stake” discussion by the leadership of the WCC and ACT Alliance. The pre-assembly will address three areas of common concern:

  • Overcoming racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

  • Promoting democracy in a time populism and broken public spaces.

  • Responding to the impact of the climate crisis.

    The pre-assembly will conclude by articulating a message of encouragement to the WCC 11th Assembly and the support of specialized ministries in responding to the challenges or our time.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

15:00 - 15:30 (CET)

Opening session

Welcome, prayer, review of agenda and introductions.

15:30 - 16:15

What’s At Stake

The acting WCC general secretary, Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, and the ACT general secretary, Mr Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, will share their views on what is at stake for the world and why the pre-assembly and WCC 11th Assembly are so timely.

Moderator: Ms Patti Talbot, United Church of Canada

16:15 - 16:25


16:25 - 17:15

Discussion sessions

Participants will join one of three discussion groups:

No 1

Overcoming racism, discrimination and xenophobia

Racism, xenophobia and discrimination have structured society to benefit those in power at the cost of those who do not have any. The realities they create are incompatible with the Christian faith. The murder of George Floyd in 2020 sparked a renewed ecumenical commitment to promoting an anti-racist Christian faith by unpacking the intersectionalities of racism and xenophobia with politics, economics, ethnicity, environmentalism, health and religion. To what extent is the ecumenical movement willing to go to overcome racism, discrimination and xenophobia?

Moderator: Rev. Dr Karen Georgia Thompson, United Church of Christ

Rapporteur: Ms Dionne Gravesande, Christian Aid

No 2

Promoting democracy in a time populism and broken public spaces

In many parts of the globe, increasing racism, discrimination and xenophobia has deepened social and economic divisions and are accompanied by a rise in politics best described as nationalistic populism. As trust declines in social institutions of all kinds, with spiralling misinformation fuelled by social media that has little or no constraints, democracy and democratic participation is threatened. In the context of polarized and even broken public spaces, how can the ecumenical movement witness to the common good and promote democratic political and civic participation?

Moderator: Mr Dagfinn Høybråten, Norwegian Church Aid

Rapporteur: Ms Patti Talbot, United Church of Canada

No 3

Responding to the impact of the climate crisis

The climate crisis threatens all of creation and the whole human family. Yet responding to the crisis is impeded by how unequally its impacts are felt among different locations, how inequitably the resources fueling the crisis are shared, and how divisive the issue of climate change has become in many national political discourses. Can the ecumenical movement strengthen our sense of fellowship across these divides and thereby increase our ability to respond to the climate crisis in an equitable and socially inclusive manner?

Moderator: Rev. Karin van den Broeke, Kerk in Actie

Rapporteur: Ms Anne-Grete Larsen, Norwegian Church Aid

17:17 - 17:30

Wrap Up and Closing Prayer

Dr Dagmar Pruin, Bread for the World


Thursday, 10 March 2022

15:00 - 15:10 (CET)

Welcome and Prayer

15:10 - 16:30

Our proposed response

WCC deputy general secretary, Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, will moderate feedback from the groups and discussion on the draft pre- assembly message.

16:30 - 16:40


16:40 - 17:00

Specialised Ministries at the WCC 11th Assembly

A review of how specialized ministries are involved in the WCC 11th Assembly – from business to Brunnen, ecumenical conversations to prayer and spiritual life.

Mr Marc-Henri Heiniger

17:00 - 17:20

Final Review of Pre-Assembly Message

Moderator: Rev. Nathan Wilson

17:20 - 17:30

Wrap Up and Closing Prayer

Bishop Sally Dyck, United Methodist Church

Specialized Ministries Pre-Assembly Message to the WCC 11th Assembly

The representatives of Specialized Ministries, organizations connected to member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) serving the one ecumenical movement in the areas of mission, diakonia, relief and advocacy, gathered for an online Pre-Assembly 9 and 10 March 2022 in preparation for the WCC 11th Assembly, taking place in Karlsruhe, Germany, in September 2022.

Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity: A reflection on the theme of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Karlsruhe 2022. 

The result of the work of an international group drawn from different regions and confessional traditions, the text is intended as a resource for churches and Christians worldwide in advance of the WCC’s 11th Assembly, to take place in Karlsruhe, Germany, from 31 August to 8 September 2022. It offers biblical and theological reflections on the assembly theme, inspired by a biblical verse – “For the love of Christ urges us on” (2 Cor. 5:14) – against the backdrop of critical issues confronting churches and humanity as a whole. The text is available initially in four languages – English, French, German, and Spanish.

Pilgrims on the Path of Peace

The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe (Unillustrated).

For each assembly, the central committee submits an accountability report, describing and offering an assessment of the activities of the WCC between the assemblies; in this case, since the 10th Assembly, in Busan, Republic of Korea, in late 2013. The report “Pilgrims on the Path of Peace – The Journey of the WCC from Busan to Karlsruhe,” is now available online for WCC member churches, ecumenical partners, and other global pilgrims. The WCC central committee received the report in February.

At Specialized Ministries Pre-Assembly, eyes are on “critical moment we are facing as humanity” (WCC news release 10 March 2022)

A World Council of Churches (WCC) Specialized Ministries Pre-Assembly, being held 9-10 March, is presenting an opportunity to articulate a common response to the most pressing issues of our time and to propose common action as the WCC and its partners move together toward the WCC assembly in Karlsruhe.