The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches began its twenty-fifth anniversary meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (22 August).
SCU Sign "Ecumenical Centre" PAN TO GV Centre (2 shots)
GV Delegates seated
SV Chairman speaks (Sound continues over shots of delegates listening)
"Even as we have been involved in this struggle for racial justice in Southern Africa, the Executive has been deeply concerned about the continuing lack of communication with the member churches in South Africa over the past years. After implementation of the 1971 proposals for consultation between delegations from the WCC and the South African member churches had to be postponed indefinitely because of the imposition of unacceptable conditions by the South African government, nothing could be arranged. So the Bangalore Executive proposed further exploration of the possibility for a Consultation as originally proposed in South Africa. It was also suggested that those member churches in South Africa, which are not represented in the Central Committee, might consider exercising their right to send one representative each to this meeting of the Central Committee, as this would not only provide opportunity for a consultation on specific issues concerned with racial justice,but would also make it possible for the South African Church representatives to become more fully acquainted with the life and work of the World Council in general. I am glad that the member-churches of South Africa have responded positively to this last suggestion, and that their representatives are with us at this meeting."
Initials BB/1703 IG/AH/BB/1713
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Background: The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches began its twenty-fifth anniversary meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (22 August).
The World Council first met at Amsterdam in August 1948. Since that time it has played a leading role in the fight against racial injustice in Africa. It has also, on a less-publicised level, helped millions of refugees, placed itself in the vanguard of efforts to promote economic and social development in the poorer countries of the world and has promoted unity among its 263 Anglican, protestant and Orthodox member-Churches.
A storm of protest erupted in South Africa and elsewhere three years ago over the decision to make donations to African guerrilla movements. But the Council has made it clear that it will not allow accusations that it is "leftist" deter it from pushing ahead with such projects and giving financial support to "liberation movements".
Speaking at the opening of the Council's meeting the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Dr. M. M. Thomas said:
SYNOPSIS: At Geneva on Wednesday the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches assembled at the start of its annual week-long meeting. This year the Council is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary -- a period marked by controversy as well as solid achievement. The delegates were addressed by Dr. M. Thomas Chairman of the Executive Committee on one of the most controversial issues -- South Africa: