His Eminence participates in the General Assembly of the NCCCUSA
The General Assembly of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA is being held in New Orleans, LA from 9-12 of this month. The theme of this year’s assembly is “witnesses to these things” (Luke 24:48). Over 400 delegates and visitors are attending the assembly representing the 36 member churches of the Council. His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim is representing our Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch which is member of the Council since 1960. This year’s Assembly is being held in conjunction with the celebration of One Hundred years since the first ecumenical gathering “The World Missionary Conference” which was held in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1910.
His Eminence was invited to respond to a keynote speech by Rev. Dr. John Buchanan, the editor and publisher of the “Christian Century” on the Ecumenical movement since the Edinburgh Conference. In his intervention His Eminence highlighted the positive role of ecumenism in the life of the churches and the many contributions of this movement to the cause of Christian Unity. He also mentioned some of the local and confessional movements which were established as a result of the success of the ecumenical movement.
Archbishop Karim said unity is an imperative given the harsh realities of divisions. “The despicable acts of terror on those peaceful Christians in Baghdad clearly shows to what extent people go to silence those who do not share their faith or traditions,” he said. “We as representatives of Christian communions in the U.S. are called to solidarity with sisters and brothers in Christ who suffer elsewhere in the world.”
His Eminence added, “The unity of the church is both a gift of God and an obligation and responsibility of Christians to fulfill the Lord’s commandment and all be one. For the church fathers, unity was a sign of faithfulness to our Lord. Their understanding of church unity continued to be a light for generations to come. With the Edinburgh conference the churches opened a new chapter of unity which did not mean giving up the particularities of churches but means a united Christian witness for the whole world and a voice for the voiceless.”