By Nathan Day Wilson
30 October 2013
My goals with these (approximately) daily dispatches from the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) are broad: Describe many direct contributions of Disciples to the assembly, which reflect the extensive ecumenical witness of our denomination thanks in no small part to the Council on Christian Unity; name key actions of the assembly; and, as much as possible, help you the reader feel like you are here.
This combination of goals has a potential risk: The writing may be uneven with some dispatches having a formal, newsy tone and others being informal, even folksy.
However, I’m taking that risk in hopes that the variety will prove interesting and will appeal to more readers than only one type of writing.
More importantly, I’m taking that risk because I want to humanize the assembly and enliven what many think about ecumenical gatherings. You see, gatherings such as this one are not fundamentally about receiving reports and crafting resolutions.
They are about sharing gifts and hopes and dreams and frustrations. They are about growing in our faith and in our service. They are about affirming ways we can live together in a changing and challenging world. They are about seeing Christ in the faces of people who do not look like us.
And, gatherings such as this one – and other efforts to promote wholeness in a fragmented world – are foretastes of God’s realm!
Today – the opening day of the assembly – was one such foretaste. Amidst orientations, briefings and business meetings were beautiful reunions and promising introductions. Pacific Islanders were dancing. Koreans (who were volunteering their time for the Assembly) were giving directions. A British communications firm was taping its first broadcast. Latin Americans were reading Scripture. Africans were singing.
No, I wasn’t just staring. I was praying – praying with gratitude for this foretaste.
Wilson pastors First Christian Church in Shelbyville, Indiana, 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.