Christian Churches around the world – Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans – are also looking forward with great anticipation to tomorrow’s Geneva summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and are extending from every corner of the world a common prayer that the two world leaders will be guided to seek “the ways of peace and justice”. “From our headquarters in the same city in which you will meet, and from so many other cities, towns and villages around the world in which our member churches carry out their ministries, we will be watching and praying for signs of hope from your encounter”, is what Rev. Ioan Sauca wrote to the presidents of the United States and Russia in a letter sent on behalf of the World Council of Churches on the eve of their meeting. The WCC is a Geneva-based ecumenical body with a constituency of 350 Christian Churches – Protestant, Anglican Orthodox and other denominations – from 120 countries around the world, representing 550 million Christians. According to White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, the two leaders will “discuss the full range of pressing issues”, seeking to “restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship”.
The Economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, geopolitical tensions and the nuclear arms race are the issues that depend on the governance of the two world leaders and are of particular concern to the Churches. “Still struggling to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, the world faces even greater challenges ahead in addressing the wider social and economic impacts of the pandemic”, writes the WCC. The Churches are also concerned about “the existential threat posed by accelerating climate change to the intricate web of life on our planet”. In the letter, the churches also speak of the “persistent and once again growing spectre of catastrophic nuclear conflict, particularly in the context of declining cooperation in arms control and increasing geo-political tensions”. The letter goes on to state that “as leaders of your two nations, with their particular histories and current roles in world affairs, you have a special responsibility for reducing tensions and achieving a stable and predictable relationship, so as to improve rather than diminish the prospects of effective global cooperation in addressing the multiple complex crises the world faces today”.
“We pray that the God of life and peace will inspire and guide you in this essential task, for the good of your own peoples, for our interdependent human community, and for God’s precious and unique creation”. The WCC then shared with all its member Churches a special prayer for Presidents Biden and Putin, and “for the leaders of all the nations of the world”. “Grant wisdom to all those who guide the destinies of the world so that, we may all be delivered from the evil of war and violence.”