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

The Methodist Church in Britain has expressed its delight atthe appointment of Kenyan Methodist minister, the Rev Dr SamuelKobia, as the new General Secretary of the World Council ofChurches - the first African churchman to take on this significantecumenical role. On behalf of the Methodist Church in Britain, theMethodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Unity in Mission, the RevPeter Sulston, has made the following statement:

"We express our delight at Sam Kobia's election as GeneralSecretary of the World Council of Churches from next January. He isminister 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 theinternal problems of the WCC as it seeks to find a new way ofworking with much reduced resources and the challenges he hasoutlined in moving from the politics of ideology to the politics ofidentity.

"To be General Secretary at this time would be a daunting taskfor anyone. Dr Kobia will bring to it a clear mind, graciousspirit, skills as a negotiator and long experience of the WorldCouncil. He will bring too the particular gifts that come from hisMethodist and Kenyan identity: a great respect for differenttraditions and a commitment to dialogue, not only between differentChristian traditions, but also between people of different worldfaiths.

"He will very much need The Courage to Hope (the title of hisforthcoming book). As we assure him of our prayers, our hope forhis term as General Secretary will be that will be that with hisMethodist roots he will retain the characteristically Methodistoptimism 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