Calling for an immediate end to all forms of violence in Syria, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee issued a public statement on Sept. 4  requesting “all parties to engage in dialogue ... as the only solution ... in order to safeguard the unity and pluralistic nature of historic Syria.”

The statement noted that “the Christian presence in the Middle East is part of the social and cultural constituency of the society they live in” and that Syrian Christians “have a historical role to play in building up a future society based on the mutual respect and dialogue of life” within the country. Christians make up approximately ten percent of the Syrian population.

The statement concludes with an assurance that the WCC “prays for the reign of peace with justice in Syria and in all countries in the Middle East”. The Central Committee also appealed “to the international community to respect the ability and responsibility of the Syrian people to find solutions to the crisis, and to refrain from outside military interventions,.”

The Central Committee is the main governing body of the WCC. Comprised of 150 members, it meets every 12-18 months between meetings of the WCC Assembly, which occurs every seven years. The Central Committee is meeting here Aug. 28-Sept. 5, its last meeting before the 10th WCC Assembly in Busan, Korea, in November 2013.