Disciples News Service

Dispatches from the World Council of Churches Assembly #1

By Nathan Day Wilson

28 October 2013

Some 25 Disciples will be among thousands attending the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which runs Oct. 30 – Nov. 8 in Busan, Republic of Korea. The opening service will be broadcast through an online live stream from the Christian Broadcast System in Korea, the oldest Christian television network in Korea.

The WCC includes more than 350 member churches from 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 500 million Christians and most of the world’s Orthodox and Protestant churches, as well as many United and Independent churches. 

Assemblies, held every seven years, involve the member churches as well as ecumenical partners including the Roman Catholic Church and the Global Christian Forum.  Assemblies offer the opportunity to gather in one place for prayer, worship, growth and decision-making.   

The theme for this assembly is a prayer, “God of Life, lead us to justice and peace,” reminding participants of their reliance on God and connection to all who call on God in prayer.

The Disciples’ official delegation will be led by Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  It will include two additional voting delegates: Sueng Un (Paul) Tche, pastor of White Oak Pond Christian Church in Richmond, Ky, and recently named moderator-elect for the denomination and Aaron Wiggins, a youth delegate who has recently served as a missionary to Fiji, now living in Nashville, Tenn.  Disciples’ ecumenical officer, the Rev. Dr. Robert Welsh, president of the Council on Christian Unity, will serve as the advisor to the delegation.

An exciting addition to this assembly is 21 “ecumenical conversations” to engage participants in sustained dialogue on critical issues facing the world and church today including humanitarian development, dialogues with new ecumenical partners, Bible study, leadership development, mission in changing contexts, authentic approaches evangelism and discipleship, Christian identity in a multi-faith world, overcoming poverty, human security, children’s rights, health and healing ministries, as well as conversations related to the Korean Peninsula and Middle East. Each conversation provides four 90-minute sessions for sustained dialogue.          

The World Council is broadest ecumenical expression, with churches diverse in practice and doctrine, attempting to express the unity God seeks for the church and for the world.  The WCC has its roots in the missionary movement of the early 20th century. 

Wilson pastors First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Ind., and coordinates the “Faith & Values” section of The Indianapolis Star. He is an accredited media representative at the WCC’s 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea.