Health issues at the assembly of the World Council of Churches
AHN Coordinator, Paul Holley, was invited by the World Council of Churches to advise the assembly during its 'ecumenical conversation' on health and healing. Hosted in the coastal city of Busan in South Korea, the assembly attracted as many as 4000 participants. Around 80 attended the conversation on health, mostly from African countries. After 4 days of deliberations, the group was able to draw together some key pointers to inform the programmatic planning of WCC for the coming 8 years.
The theme for the assembly was 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace'. UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe addressed a plenary session of the assembly and invited churches to become more involved in the continued battle against HIV/AIDS. Father Michael Lapsley from South Africa shared his story from the struggle against apartheid during which he was disabled by a letter bomb. His 'Healing of Memories' programme has been promoted by WCC and is applied in different post conflict settings around the world.
Anglicans rejoiced at the election of Dr. Agnes Abuom as the new moderator of WCC. A lay member of the Anglican Church of Kenya, Dr. Abuom brings a great deal of experience in development to the role. Bishop Mark MacDonald from the Anglican Church of Canada was elected as one of the 5 presidents of WCC. Bishop Mark is a member of AHN, having a concern for the health of indigenous communities under his care.
Working alongside colleagues from church health-related organisations, Paul drafted a paper outlining a rationale and set of possible objectives for WCC in the future. The paper can be downloaded on the following link.