Document date: 23.11.2006
Letter from WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, to Prof. Dr Lukas Vischer, on the occasion of his 80th birthday

23 November 2006 

Dear Lukas, 

At the occasion of your 80th birthday, we want to thank God for the blessings bestowed on you and on the fellowship of churches worldwide through your work with the World Council of Churches and with other ecumenical bodies.  

You have rendered an extraordinary service to the WCC and its member churches as staff of Faith and Order from 1961 onwards and as the Faith and Order director from 1966 to 1979. You have continued to be involved in the Conciliar Process of Mutual Commitment to Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation and have given much of your energy in recent years to our work on climate change and the concern for creation. We are very much aware of your important contribution to this area of work. Also the European Christian Environmental Network owes its existence to your initiative. All these, without forgetting your deep interest in close relationships with and generous support to some churches across the world, to mention here only the Georgian Orthodox Church. 

We want to express our deep felt gratitude and appreciation for all you have given to the ecumenical movement. Including your wife, Barbara, in this, we recognise her important role in your common mission through her support to you and her own engagement for environmental concerns.  

I still have fond memories of the celebration of your 75th birthday at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva. It is wonderful to know that the University of Bern is organising a Symposium to mark your 80th birthday. Unfortunately, I cannot be present myself due to my travel to China. But I am glad that my predecessor as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Prof. Dr Konrad Raiser, will be there and convey my heartfelt greetings and congratulations to you.  

The Moravian watchword of November 23rd, the day of your birthday, is taken from the Gospel of St. John, 16:26-27: Jesus said, "I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you." This strong affirmation of the love of God and of the direct relationship with the one who gave us our lives and sustains us, is a very good motto for this day. We want to assure you that we pray for you and all your family that you are held, blessed and nurtured by God who loves us now, tomorrow and always. 

Yours in Christ, 

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary