Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay

WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay keynote address at the 11th Forum of National Council of Churches in Australia.


This occasion is especially meaningful for me as you deliberate on how best, in true ecumenical spirit, to convey messages of genuine, realistic hope in these seemingly hope-starved times,” said Pillay. Further, you seek to envision ecumenical, collaborative ways and means of nurturing that hope in your communities of faith and among the larger public.”

We live in a time when faith is in crisis, Pillay noted. 

We are so wrong when we think that young people are not interested in God,” Pillay said. I look at my own children and see a depth of spirituality that I did not have even though I went to church every Sunday and most weekdays.”

Pillay named five immense crises of today: accelerating climate change, increasing economic inequality, a worldwide recession from the long-held consensus about human rights, a crisis of governance, and outbreaks of violence within countries and war between them. 

These global trends, each of which engenders incalculable human suffering, are the broadest context in which Christians and Christian churches are living their ecumenical fellowship today,” he said. Their scale is global, their peril imminent, their solutions uncertain.”

The cry for freedom and justice is loud for many in the world today, Pillay continued. 

Where is justice when thousands of people go to bed hungry every night?” he asked. Where is justice when thousands of people are denied access to humanitarian aid?”

The God of justice and mercy calls us to stand up for justice, he urged.

We cannot be silent,” he said. Christians need to stand up for justice and we need to stand together. In unity is our strength.”

Christianity matters because it is a gospel of love and reconciliation, Pillay said.

With all the suffering and pain in the world today, what the world needs is love,” he said. Properly understood and if practiced well the Christian faith is the message of love.”

He asked: How do we work towards healing, forgiveness and reconciliation? 

Crucially, we can mobilize the world into seeing there are other ways,” he said. 
At its core, ours is a global crisis in spiritual values, but ours is also an age of deep spiritual longing.”

Let us know that Christianity matters, he concluded. Let us rely on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to encourage our faith and make a difference in the world so that the world may know the grace and love of Christ.”

Address to the 11th Forum of the National Council of Churches in Australia by the WCC general secretary

Video recording of the keynote address of the WCC general secretary at the Forum of National Council of Churches in Australia

Photo gallery: visit of the WCC general secretary to Australia