Opening Session -Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches
In his opening speech, His Holiness Aram I stressed the importance of visible unity of the churches in the region despite their differences. He then spoke of the historical importance of the ecumenical movement in bringing churches together.
Referring to the Middle East, Catholicos Aram I said that Christianity began in the Middle East, division of churches also began in this region. Therefore, unity of the churches, which remains a major challenge, should also begin in the Middle East. His Holiness Aram I then identified areas of priority for the churches. According to him, a common date to celebrate Easter was the urgent priority because he said, “celebrating Easter together will give visibility to the unity of the people and strengthen the witness of churches In the Middle East.
His Holiness then evoked the memory of the late Pople Shenouda III and spoke of his important contribution to the ecumenical movement.
In the last part of his speech, Catholicos Aram I referred to the priorities of the Middle East Council of Churches. He said that the priorities of the Council should respond to the needs of the region, strengthen the presence of the churches through a relevant approach to diakonia and service.
Following the speech of His Holiness Aram I, the General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Paul Rouhana presented his report. In his report he identified three priority areas: Nurturing spiritual values, strengthening ecumenical relations and reorganizing the MECC’s work in diakonia and social service.
After discussing the report of the General Secretary, the members of the Executive Committee received the reports of the Finance and the Restructuring Committees, which raised important question to be tackled during their deliberations. The Executive Committee noted that financial situation of the Council remains a major concern.