5 March 2024, Geneva, Switzerland: Stavros Kofinas of the Ecumenical Patriarchate pictured in the Ecumenical Centre chapel in connection with an inaugural Joint Meeting of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), the Commission of the Churches on Health and Healing (CCHH), and the Commission on Climate Justice and Sustainable Development (CCJSD) of the World Council of Churches, in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.


I would say that the commission is dealing with the whole person: body, soul, mind, emotions, the whole person, or with all of the person,” Kofinas says. 

He describes the four major working groups of the commission related to accessibility to healthcare; mental health; HIV and reproductive health; and faith in science. 

And, if the commission is dealing with the whole person,” it must also deal with the whole oikoumene, Kofinas says.

I think that what we have to find is a way where what we're doing in the commission and the World Council of Churches can reach each pastor who is in the parish dealing with the sick, and how it can reach all the doctors and healthcare professionals, and let them know that this is going on—and that's a big challenge,” he says.

He notes that most healthcare professionals are associated with many organizations. So, if we can reach the organizations, and we can convince them in our own way to implement what we're saying and recognize it, then they will be able to pass it on, and we will become like partners in their efforts,” he says. See, many times those organizations see us as opposed to them. We have to show them that we're working with them.”

The commission will also be enriched with theological meaning and express itself in theological ways, Kofinas relates. Because I think that we have to be able to provide an existential aspect to what health and healing means,” he says.

Finally, he addresses how the commission plans to involve young people. So what we have to do is find a way where we can get the young people who are studying medicine particularly and those who are studying nursing particularly to become more aware of what we're doing,” he says. And that's also a big challenge.”

Churches' challenges in health and healing work highlighted by global panel (WCC news release, 6 March 2024)

Three WCC commissions meet to confront emerging global challenges (WCC news release, 5 March 2024)

Photo gallery: Joint Meeting of Three WCC Commissions – March 2024