New York, NY – March 14, 2013
The Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), extends his warmest congratulations to Francis, the newly elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. In a recent statement, Dr. Tunnicliffe affirmed his prayers for Pope Francis, who assumes the leadership of the Catholic Church at a time filled with great challenges but also a time of great possibilities to see and hear God’s work anew in Christian communities all over the world.
The WEA welcomes the new pope’s commitment to justice and peace, especially for those who are persecuted for the sake of the Gospel and for those living on the margins of society. It is also very encouraging that Pope Francis hails from the global south, where the majority of the world’s Christians now live, and that he holds to a strong commitment to evangelism and the proclamation of Jesus.
In Buenos Aires, the Rev. Dr. Norberto Saracco, a prominent evangelical leader in Argentina affirmed that Pope Francis is known for having very good relationships with evangelicals and with leaders of other faiths, in addition to being a man of prayer and a supporter of the Bible Society.
Recognizing that there are varying degrees of difference between Roman Catholics and evangelicals around the globe, it is the hope of the WEA that fruitful conversations with the Catholic Church will continue.
Dr. Tunnicliffe said: "We look forward to building on some of the good work we have done together in the past, such as the collaboration for the document Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct. We live at a time of grave challenges for all Christian communities. Therefore, the need to find common ground for conversation and action in this world are fundamental if we are to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ and his kingdom on earth."
Having met various times with Pope Benedict XVI, Dr. Tunnicliffe looks forward to meeting Pope Francis, knowing that, "despite our differences, we can uphold one another in prayer and that the Holy Spirit will guide us and help us discern within our different communities, what tasks God has for us to do."
At the invitation of the Vatican, Dr. Tunnicliffe will attend the inauguration of Pope Francis on March 19th in Rome.
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Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving and representing more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to speak as a trusted voice, to equip members and leaders for global impact and to connect its members and others for common action in the furtherance of God’s reign. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.