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World Council of Churches General Secretary visits Anglican Communion Office

Posted on: April 10, 2024 2:20 PM
The Revd Dr Jerry Pillay, Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc alongside staff from the Anglican Communion Office

The Revd Professor Jerry Pillay, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), visited the team at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) on 9 April, with Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc, Programme Executive for Ecumenical Relations and Faith and Order and Professor at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, France. 

The purpose of his visit was to meet staff at the Anglican Communion Office and the Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, Canon Maggie Swinson, for dialogue on approaches to global mission, their role as Secretariat to the Anglican Communion, and to share more about the strategy and priorities of the WCC. 

Speaking about the visit, Professor Pillay said, “It has been something that I have been looking forward to doing... It has been a really good conversation today with the members of staff here in this office.... I am so thrilled to discover the enthusiasm to be involved in working towards Christian unity. To be involved in practical aspects of Christian ministry and the real desire to work together. I have found a greater sense of spiritual ecumenism and a desire for it amongst the team here that has deeply inspired me.” 

The work of the WCC is a fellowship of 352 churches – including Anglican - from more than 120 countries representing 600 million Christians worldwide.  

Professor Pillay shared plans about Nicaea 2025, the 1700th anniversary of the Nicene Creed and the world conference taking place in Egypt in October 2025. He explained that the WCC will be inviting the Anglican Church to add its voice and take part in the various events taking place throughout the year, including the conference.  

He also shared his excitement about the Common Easter next year and how this will be a rare opportunity for Christians from eastern and western traditions to come together across the denominations creating “a global impact for Christian witness.” 

Professor Pillay was elected as General Secretary by the WCC central committee in June 2022 and began his role in January 2023. He is the ninth General Secretary in the WCC’s history since it was founded in 1948, just three years after the United Nations was founded.  

Speaking about how much the WCC values the Anglican Communion’s membership, he said, “the Anglican Church is a very important member of the World Council of Churches. They have been ever since our inception, and they have played multiple roles in different areas. They have always provided leadership. They have given us leaders who have served the governing structures of the WCC over numerous years and still do in our current governance structure. They also serve on a lot of committees and commissions and are very involved in the life and work of the WCC. Judging by the conversations that we have had today, there is a desire from the Anglican Church to be more involved in the WCC which we truly welcome and also, I personally, as General Secretary would like to see the Anglican Church become more involved in the ecumenical work and the life of the WCC itself.” 

Speaking about the significance of Professor Pillay's visit, Bishop Anthony Poggo, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Office said: "The Anglican Communion Office was delighted to have welcomed the Reverend Professor Jerry Pillay and Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc. Around the world, I know that the work of the WCC is deeply valued and respected. As members of the WCC, the Anglican Communion is fully committed to working ecumenically, in joint mission and witness around the world."