Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

The tasks of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) include:

  • advice on public policy and advocacy
  • advice on programmatic directions, including analysis of systemic issues that underlie injustice and social transformation
  • addressing particular programmatic and policy issues, with a special emphasis on the aim of promoting a peaceful and reconciling role of religion in conflicts and on the promotion of inter-religious dialogue as a framework for community building, faith sharing and understanding.

The CCIA oversees the WCC programmes Public witness: addressing power, affirming peace; Justice, diakonia and responsibility for creation; and Inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.

The CCIA dates back to 1946. However, its scope was much extended in 2006, when its merger with three other WCC advisory bodies was decided: the Commission of the Churches on Diakonia and Development (CCDD), the Commission of the Churches on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (CJPC), and the Reference Group on Inter-religious Relations and Dialogue (IRRD).

Structure

The Commission of the Churches on International affairs (CCIA) comprises 38 people nominated by churches and regional ecumenical organizations to advise the WCC. These men and women from around the world are church leaders, pastors, laypersons and academics with expertise on areas relevant to the commission. They usually meet every eighteen months.

Working groups on specific topics come together and stay in contact in-between commission meetings, mainly through the internet. They thus respond to the challenge of providing WCC staff and governing bodies with timely advice despite the complexity of issues.

Working groups are not established on a permanent basis but respond to urgent challenges faced by the WCC and the ecumenical movement. For the period between October 2010 and the WCC Assembly in October 2013, four working groups have been set up:

  • Peace and Security
  • Dignity and Rights of Migrants and Migrant Workers
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Peace in the Community, with a special focus on the Millennium Development Goals

The working groups are composed of commissioners, plus experts on the respective topics. Although some of the names of the working groups bring to mind existing projects or programmes of the WCC, the contents cut across the different areas of WCC work.

Methods

Particularly in the WCC programme areas of public witness, justice and diakonia, and interreligious dialogue and cooperation, the CCIA offers an ecumenical forum, information and leadership on national and international problems to WCC member churches, their agencies and other ecumenical partners.

The CCIA provides a platform for information-sharing and joint advocacy on critical situations and on opportunities to support initiatives for peacemaking, justice and overcoming poverty.

The CCIA also assists the WCC in preparing public statements, appeals to state authorities and messages of support and solidarity to churches and others engaged in struggles for justice and peace. It helps the WCC governing bodies identify challenges to the churches and to guide them to shape a coherent ecumenical response.

Participants in the first meeting of the renewed Commission of the Churches on International Affairs in Geneva on 11-13 September 2007.

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