Transforming the world at WCC
Salvationists attend 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Brazil
Commissioners Linda Bond and William Francis (both IHQ) meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who spoke to the WCC Assembly delegates about the “promise and risk” of inter-religious dialogue. Photo by Paulino Menezes, WCC
Editor’s note: One of the delegates to the WCC Assembly was the Western Territory’s former territorial commander, Commissioner Linda Bond, who now serves at International Headquarters as secretary for spiritual development and international external relations.
The theme for the ten-day 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC)—the international fellowship of Christian churches—was God, In Your Grace, Transform The World. The event took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and among the 3,700 delegates were 12 Salvationists—largely from Latin America and the Caribbean—who were given the opportunity to spotlight the Army’s mission around the world and to share in a variety of ecumenical topics related to the life and witness of the Church today.
A range of presentations, exhibitions and dialogues between all assembly participants are typically included at the event and this year was no exception. Among the featured displays was a Salvation Army exhibition highlighting the organization’s work around the world serving women and children. This focused in part on the Army’s mission in many countries regarding the modern-day slave-trade practice of human trafficking, and offered a fantastic opportunity for Salvationist delegates to contribute to the conference from an Army missional perspective.
Plenary sessions covered topics such as Economic Justice—A World Without Poverty Is Possible, Christian Identity and Religious Plurality and Youth Overcoming Violence.
A central element to the assembly for all participants was the event’s worship life, as the community gathered for prayer and meditation, drawing on the diverse spiritual experiences of churches around the world. Bible study periods and ecumenical conversations were also part of the busy timetable, as were business sessions and committee work. Additionally there were plenty of moments for celebration and opportunities to share in ecumenical partnership.
The Assembly meets every seven years and is described as the “supreme legislative body” of the WCC. Its central purpose is to review programs and determine the council’s overall policies as well as to elect the executive.
“Assemblies are often a turning point in the life of the WCC,” comments the group’s General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia. “This year’s assembly will surely leave its mark on ecumenical history.”
From the Salvationist, 4 March 2006