World Council of Churches 10th Assembly
The 10th World Council of Churches Assembly began Thursday, October 30. Christians from around the world are gathered in Busan, Korea, until November 8. Our delegates were Ms. Laura Smith and the Rev. Carol Wood. Christine Zawadzi was an Assembly Steward.
The assembly sets the future agenda of the council, elects the Central Committee for the next term and speaks with an international voice on behalf of the many member churches. It is also a unique moment for the whole fellowship of member churches to come together in prayer and celebration.
The assembly theme, “God of life, lead us to justice and peace,” is not merely a slogan for the event but provides a focus for theological reflection, worship and meditation, as well as for planning program activities before, during and after the assembly.
Many resources—including a leader’s guide, participant’s guide and congregational resource—have been produced with the intent to encourage local congregations to better appreciate some of the spiritual impulses and current emphases of the ecumenical movement and thereby accompany the churches’ journey to Busan.
Laura, who blogged about her journey to the Assembly (lauramargaret.blogspot.ca), wrote:
“…the North American delegates met together tonight. We talked about the biggest issues facing our region right now, and it was interesting to see the divide between the US and Canada – even though we are so close together. American delegates mentioned violence and migration as issues, and those just aren’t as prevalent in Canada, I don’t think. Others mentioned were issues facing indigenous people, climate change, and how our actions affect those in the rest of the world.”
Other Canadian Presbyterians attended as participants and visitors. View the congregational resources and reflections found on the WCC Assembly website.
View the News & Media web page.
- Pilgrimage to Busan materials:
- Other Canadian Presbyterian participants:
- Janet Brewer
- Sarah Kim
- Ron Wallace
- Dorcas and Noel Gordon as visitors
Photos and Stories
From Thursday, Nov. 7
Carol, Laura and Ray from the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand “cast their vote” for an amazing Assembly. The new Central Committee was elected today, the “Message” statement finally approved, and approval given on the remaining statements from the Public Issues report. The Assembly moved from moments of tedium in word smithing, to moments of solidarity with the plight of those who are suffering in Sudan, Congo and the Middle East. The pain of separation of our Korean brothers and sisters will remain with us, as will their generous hospitality and love for Christ.
The prayer of the Assembly goes with us as we make our way homeward. “God of Life, lead us to justice and peace.”
From Sunday, November 3
Every Sunday koinonia is demonstrated in the sharing of lunch after worship. A team of volunteers share the cooking and clean-up responsibilities. Worship was joyful and focused on “Thanksgiving” rather than the “All Saints Day” theme. The taste of the bread and wine of communion was sweet—a beautiful reminder of the grace of Jesus Christ that binds us together with Christians from around the world.
Worship service celebrated Thanksgiving, so the altar was laden with an array of beautiful fruits and vegetables. Four adults were baptized, and communion was celebrated. The service was in Korean but some of the hymns were familiar so we could sing along in English. “Stuart” Youngro translated parts of the service, as well as the greeting that was brought on behalf of our group.
Carol Wood and Rev. Edzang Assoumou from Gabon, and Samuel Jajakumar from the National Council of Churches in India were part of the WCC delegation visiting Seoul. They are pictured with the new members and Pastor Kim Jin-Deok. The hospitality and welcome was a beautiful example of koinonia.
Photos from the Assembly
(Photos provided by the Rev. Carol Woods)