World Council of Churches Assembly 2006, Porto Alegre, Brazil

The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) willmeet in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14 - 23 February 2006, addressing thetheme "God, in your grace, transform the world".

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and SocialJustice, who will be attending the Assembly in Brazil, said: 'TheAssembly agenda is firmly set in the context of global issues ofwidespread injustice and poverty. I will anticipate challengingdiscussions around the document 'AGAPE-A Call to love and action'that summarises the results of work done by the WCC and ecumenicalpartners on economic globalisation. The document echoes the themesof last years 'Make Poverty History' campaign, calling for "for theeradication of poverty and inequality", "for justice ininternational trade relations", "for responsible lending,unconditional debt cancellation and the control and regulation ofglobal financial markets". I have been involved in drawing togethera European response to the document in advance of the assembly andit will be fascinating to discuss these issues in a global,ecumenical forum. Other important issues that I hope to bediscussing include environmental destruction, climate change andhow the development of information technology changes what it meansto be church. I am particularly looking forward to sharing in theworshipping life of the assembly and meeting and worshipping withmembers of the Methodist Church in Brazil on AssemblySunday.'

A central element of the Assembly for all participants will beworship, where the community will gather for prayer and meditation,drawing on the diverse spiritual experience of churches from aroundthe world. On Assembly Sunday (February 12 2006), Christianseverywhere are being encouraged to pray and celebrate with thechurches of the world. The WCC's website provides a number ofresources for churches and individuals to use on Assembly Sunday,but they are particularly encouraging people to join together in aprayer 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 EcumenicalOfficer for Wales, commented: "It's not simply a matter of beingpart of the Methodist Connexion, but exploring the fact that webelong to the Body of Christ, which is made up of such a variety ofgifts and traditions. There is always room for a greaterunderstanding of one another's faith experiences, and the use ofthis simple prayer on Assembly Sunday gives us a wonderfulopportunity to express unity and solidarity with one another inChrist, as well as taking the chance to pray for the Assembly andfor the issues and concerns that will be discussed over thistime."

Prayer prepared for WCC Assembly Sunday by the group of youthinterns in the World Council of Churches.