Star of the East – 2/11/19
UK- Dr. Elizabeth Joy of the Malankara Orthodox Church selected as one of the final candidates to be the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Dr. Elizabeth Joy, lovingly known as ‘Elizabeth Kochamma,’ has served in various leadership roles in the ecumenical world for the past thirty-two years. She has served as a General Secretary, CEO, and a leader of regional, national, international and global organizations of great repute. Dr. Elizabeth Joy has also worked with esteemed organizations such as the Bible Society of India (BSI), Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), Christian Institute for Study of Religion and Society (CISRS) in India, Council for World Mission (CWM), Deputy Secretary for Ecumenical Relations for the UK region of the Malankara Orthodox Church and a Director of Churches Together in England (CTE).
Her recent Ph.D. in Theology from King’s College London in July 2018 addresses discrimination based on caste, class, color gender, sexuality, and the increasing ecological degradation in an innovative manner from a Dalit Theology perspective.
Dr. Elizabeth Joy is the wife of a celebrated priest of the Malankara Orthodox Church who currently serves in the Diocese of the United Kingdom. Acknowledging her active role in the life of the Church, and in the greater ecumenical world, His Holiness the Catholicos of the East nominated her for this esteemed position of General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Dr. Elizabeth Joy was raised in a multicultural, multi-religious, ecumenical context in a neighborhood where the common denominator was poverty. Therefore, she has committed herself to volunteering work with Church and Society since 2011 in order to reach out to those at the margins. She continues to promote interfaith relations, capacity building, and nurturing faith through social, theological and ecumenical formation among individuals, churches, and communities. Through the Three Faiths Forum (3FF) in the UK (now called Faiths and Beliefs Forum to include all other faiths and no faith groups) she goes to Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim schools and Colleges by sharing my Christian faith, theology, and ecumenism.
Currently, Dr. Joy serves as one of the Directors of the Churches Together in England (CTE) where her responsibility involves strategic planning and reviewing, recruiting of staff at the executive level and receiving periodical reports of the General Secretary abiding by the ethical and social stance of CTE and UK. She works with a spectrum of more than 51 churches, from the Orthodox to the Pentecostal denominations. Recently, she has received an invitation from the British SCM to be on their Council of Reference, an advisory body to their board of trustees with responsibilities for human resources, finance, strategic planning, church leadership, campaigns and advocacy and faith development of young people.
As the Executive Secretary for Mission Education at CWM from 2002-2011, she has designed, developed, implemented and evaluated many of Mission Education and Training programs She has played a key role in the strategic planning for CWM from 2010-2019 and she has been invited to give her input in the strategic planning for the next ten years (2020-2029).
As the first woman General Secretary and the CEO of the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), Dr. Joy has taken decisions pertaining to the development and use of the SCM property, investments, fundraising and being the first point of contact for Global and local ecumenical bodies. Through CTE, Meora World Mission and the Church Dalit Solidarity Group UK. She has experience in working with the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner of the UK, Home office and Houses of Parliament in the UK. The former Prime Minister David Cameron invited her along with another 99 Christian leaders from all over the UK to number 10 Downing Street to appreciate our work and contribution in 2016. She also had the opportunity to participate in a meeting at the United Nations in New York, discussing topics pertaining to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr. Elizabeth Joy is well versed with the mission and goals of the World Council of Churches by attending the last two assemblies of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre and Busan and the CWME in Athens in 2005.
The WCC brings together churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed churches, as well as many United and Independent churches.
The Malankara Orthodox Church has been an integral member of the WCC since its formal inception. Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos of the Malankara Church was elected as a central committee member of WCC at its 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea. His Grace was later unanimously elected into the Executive Committee of this ecumenical body during the Central Committee meeting in Trondheim, Norway in June 2016.