02 February 2006
World Council of Churches Assembly 2006, Porto Alegre, Brazil
The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) will
meet in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14 - 23 February 2006, addressing the
theme "God, in your grace, transform the world".
Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, who will be attending the Assembly in Brazil, said: 'The Assembly agenda is firmly set in the context of global issues of widespread injustice and poverty. I will anticipate challenging discussions around the document 'AGAPE-A Call to love and action' that summarises the results of work done by the WCC and ecumenical partners on economic globalisation. The document echoes the themes of last years 'Make Poverty History' campaign, calling for "for the eradication of poverty and inequality", "for justice in international trade relations", "for responsible lending, unconditional debt cancellation and the control and regulation of global financial markets". I have been involved in drawing together a European response to the document in advance of the assembly and it will be fascinating to discuss these issues in a global, ecumenical forum. Other important issues that I hope to be discussing include environmental destruction, climate change and how the development of information technology changes what it means to be church. I am particularly looking forward to sharing in the worshipping life of the assembly and meeting and worshipping with members of the Methodist Church in Brazil on Assembly Sunday.'
A central element of the Assembly for all participants will be worship, where the community will gather for prayer and meditation, drawing on the diverse spiritual experience of churches from around the world. On Assembly Sunday (February 12 2006), Christians everywhere are being encouraged to pray and celebrate with the churches of the world. The WCC's website provides a number of resources for churches and individuals to use on Assembly Sunday, but they are particularly encouraging people to join together in a prayer for transformation:
Lord, our God Almighty
Transformer and Creator
God of fatherly peace and motherly love
We gather before you with our pleas of despair
From our hearts filled with hope.
Gracious God, your church has experienced
the pangs of birth and its infancy
on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Be with your church as it continues its growth
across the world into adulthood and full unity.
With the church still in its adolescence
We pray for your gift of transformation.
Revive in us a spirit of community
Mould our thoughts into ones of love.
Instil in us a sense of your peace.
Give us the courage and resilience to accept transformation
For ourselves and for others
For the ones who suffer and the ones who inflict it
For the victims and the perpetrators
And for all your people.
In a world filled with violence and hatred
Give us the courage to sow love and harmony.
In a world rampant with discrimination and inequity,
Nurture in us the seeds of unity and grant us
the foresight to see and resolve our divisions.
Prepare our hearts, minds and hands to reap your harvest.
Gareth Powell, a Conference appointed delegate and Ecumenical Officer for Wales, commented: "It's not simply a matter of being part of the Methodist Connexion, but exploring the fact that we belong to the Body of Christ, which is made up of such a variety of gifts and traditions. There is always room for a greater understanding of one another's faith experiences, and the use of this simple prayer on Assembly Sunday gives us a wonderful opportunity to express unity and solidarity with one another in Christ, as well as taking the chance to pray for the Assembly and for the issues and concerns that will be discussed over this time."
Prayer prepared for WCC Assembly Sunday by the group of youth interns in the World Council of Churches.