Bishop Kenneth Cragg Remembered by WCC
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 13, 2012 /Standard Newswire/ -- The Rev. Dr Kenneth Cragg (photo), who died on 13 November at the age of 99, is recalled by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) as one of the pioneers of the modern ecumenical approach to inter-religious dialogue and cooperation, and especially to improved Christian-Muslim relations.
A scholar and priest who served the Anglican Communion in the 1970s as assistant bishop of Jerusalem and later as bishop of Egypt, Cragg was the author of many books, including The Call of the Minaret (1956), The Arab Christian: A History of the Middle East (1992) and Iron in the Soul: Joseph and the Undoing of Violence (2009).
In 1967, Cragg was instrumental in the inter-Christian consultation on living faiths co-sponsored by the WCC which for the first time brought together Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant theologians to discuss the relationship between Christians and people of other beliefs. The consultation statement on "Christians in Dialogue with Men of Other Faiths" affirmed a common humanity and described dialogue as an authentic lifestyle in a multi-faith context. It called for "mutual awareness of one another's conviction and witness".
The Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, said of Bishop Cragg, "He was one of the towering intellects of his generation who helped to shape our churches' understanding of the Middle East and Christian-Muslim interaction. In the years just before and after the Second Vatican Council, he built a new basis for Christians of all confessions to speak with a common voice in inter-religious dialogue."
The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.