The champions of ecumenism had no mean task when the Ghana Assembly of the International Missionary Council convened at year-end. Their objective was to get the delegates on record in favor of a proposal for merger with the World Council of Churches—a valuable promotional asset for achieving a final consummation of the plan. Whatever resolution the delegates voted on, therefore, would have to be just noncommittal enough to prevent wholesale opposition, a development which might work lasting damage to the ecumenical cause.
Significant personalities behind the ecumenical movement were on hand to guide the action. Among those who braved the blazing equatorial sun on the campus of the University College at Achimoto were Dr. W. A. Visser ’t Hooft, General Secretary of the WCC; Dr. John A. Mackay, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, who was made honorary chairman of the IMC after serving 10 years as its chairman; Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, Chairman of the WCC Central Committee; Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, President of Union Theological Seminary; Dr. Roswell P. Barnes, Executive Secretary for the WCC in the United States; and Dr. Charles W. Ranson, outgoing General Secretary of the IMC, who had to return suddenly to his London home because of his wife’s death.
An Ambiguous ‘Yes’ Resolution
The Assembly voted 58 to 7 to adopt a “steering committee” report of 1,420 words as a representative statement. Tucked into the document as the first of its 10 resolutions was this significant sentence:
“Resolved: 1. The Ghana Assembly of the International Missionary Council, having reviewed the steady growth of the relationship of association between the IMC and the WCC and having considered with care the opinions of delegates, and those of the ...1
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