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Norwegian theologian Olav Fykse Tveit
elected to lead World Council of Churches

Geneva, August 27, 2009 -- Norwegian theologian and pastor Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, 48, was elected 7th general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) today during its Central Committee meeting.  

Tveit will be the youngest general secretary since Willem A. Visser 't Hooft who had led the WCC while it was in process of formation and following its founding assembly 61 years ago.  

The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, expressed his best wishes and support to Tveit. 

“This is both an exciting and challenging time to be involved in ecumenical cooperation,” Kinnamon said. “Olav can be assured of the prayerful support of his sisters and brothers in the United States and around the world. We look forward to working together with him and getting to know him better.” 

"This task I really feel is the call of God. I feel that we have a lot to do together," said Tveit in his acceptance speech before the central committee.  

He stressed the spirit of unity that dominated the whole process and expressed hope that it will continue to reign in the common journey. Tveit encouraged the committee members to continue praying for him: "Please do not stop!"  

Since 2002, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has been the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. Tveit is a member of the WCC Faith and Order Plenary Commission and the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway.  

Tveit was one of two candidates standing for election to the WCC's highest administrative post. The other candidate was Rev. Dr Park Seong-won, a Presbyterian theologian from South Korea.  

Tveit will replace outgoing general secretary Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia who in February 2008 informed the Central Committee, the WCC's highest governing body, that he would not seek a second term in office. Kobia has served as general secretary since 2004.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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