04 September 2003

Delight as fellow Methodist becomes General Secretary of the World Council of Churches

The Methodist Church in Britain has expressed its delight at the appointment of Kenyan Methodist minister, the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia, as the new General Secretary of the World Council of Churches - the first African churchman to take on this significant ecumenical role. On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain, the Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Unity in Mission, the Rev Peter Sulston, has made the following statement:

"We express our delight at Sam Kobia's election as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches from next January. He is minister of one of our partner churches, Methodist Church Kenya, and we rejoice at the honour he brings to his own church.

"He comes to the role at a difficult time because of both the internal problems of the WCC as it seeks to find a new way of working with much reduced resources and the challenges he has outlined in moving from the politics of ideology to the politics of identity.

"To be General Secretary at this time would be a daunting task for anyone. Dr Kobia will bring to it a clear mind, gracious spirit, skills as a negotiator and long experience of the World Council. He will bring too the particular gifts that come from his Methodist and Kenyan identity: a great respect for different traditions and a commitment to dialogue, not only between different Christian traditions, but also between people of different world faiths.

"He will very much need The Courage to Hope (the title of his forthcoming book). As we assure him of our prayers, our hope for his term as General Secretary will be that will be that with his Methodist roots he will retain the characteristically Methodist optimism of grace and continue to see possibilities not problems. We look forward to working with him in whatever ways we can."

Read the WCC report on Dr Kobia's appointment

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