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As I emphasized in my brief reflection to the Central Committee in the chapel this morning, the task of the World Council of Churches is urgent – arguably more so today than at any time in the past. The 75th anniversary of the Council is certainly a cause for celebration, but it is also an occasion for renewal of commitment. We are entitled to take pride in the achievements of the ecumenical movement. Our churches have learned from one another. They have walked and worked with one another. And they have borne witness to the unity mandated by our Lord, the unity that we seek. So we sincerely congratulate the Council for this milestone.
Nevertheless, our world faces vital concerns and critical challenges, many of which are entirely unprecedented. Whether we are addressing the barbaric and unholy war of the Russian Federation on the sovereign territory of Ukraine; or whether we are dealing with the global issue of climate change that impacts the most vulnerable and marginalized; or whether we are responding as a European family to the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees… The churches are called – indeed, obligated – to adopt a prophetic, generous and healing approach. And in this mission, the role and responsibility of the World Council of Churches can prove vital and transformative.