Grußwort auf dem Johannisempfang der EKD

Samuel Kobia

01. Juli 2004, Berlin

"Bishop Huber, the Chairman of the EKD Council, Eminent Church Leaders, honorable political and civic leaders, your Excellencies of the ambassadors, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

This is a very special occasion to meet with you all at the inauguration day of the new German president. I want to congratulate Mr. Köhler, and pray for God's blessings on you and this wonderful country. Almost fifty years after the end of World War II, when all over the world doubts were raised about the future course of your country, Germany is today a stable democracy and a friend of many nations in the world. You have shown that you have learned from the past.

I want to thank you once again Bishop Huber for inviting me to visit the German churches and for the opportunity to address this illustrious meeting of church leadership and politicians.

This being my first official visit as WCC General Secretary to member churches in Europe significe the strong relationship between WCC and German churches. My intention is to deepen our partnership during my tenure of office.

I wish also to register my appreciation for the work done by your parliament on globalization. This is the first work done by any parliament in the world. The Report of the Enquette Commission of the German Parliament on globalization revealed the asymetrical nature of our world today. The process of globalization driven by the neo-liberal economic paradigm has created the global inequality and inequity where 20% of global population owns 83% of the global resources. This process is an affront to the ecumenical vision of a united humanity through which different communities and peoples live in solidarity with each other. Our challenge today is to search for alternatives that will bring about not only the wealth of nations but the health of nations where peace, justice and ecological protection prevail. Germany could very well lead the way to achieve these global ideals.

The German churches have been very actively engaged in the conciliar process for justice, peace and the integrity of creation. I hope that the „country of ideas“ as the new president underlined, will develop strong impulses for just peace in the conflict-torn regions, for sustainable use of resources and renewable energies, and for reconciliation of wounded memories and enmity.

The World Council of Churches works for the unity of the churches as a sign and instrument for the unity of humankind:

Against the backdrop of growing xenophobia and of an evolving enemy-image that makes a caricature of our Muslim friends and confronted with blatant misuse of religion in the mobilization of war, we want to nurture inter-religious dialogue and co-operation.

Against the backdrop of the justification for war and even brutal torture that denies the humanness of the victims, but also destroys the humanness of the perpetrators, we want to nurture non-violent action for change and to work for peace and reconciliation.

Against the backdrop of the present political and economic realities with the scandal of millions of dying children every year, we need to nurture an economy that works in the service of life and does not contribute to its destruction.

Thinking of the children that are born today here in Berlin and on African soil and in other regions of this world, I am convinced that there will be no meaningful future for any of them, if there is no future for all of them together. There must be an alternative to a world of increasing inequality and violence. Let us not only dream „God‘s dream“, but let us make every concrete step possible to live it together.

Masiti - we are marching in the light of God - may God bless you all."