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WCC blog: A global assembly

31 October 2013 | by Paul Valentin

Christian Aid's international director Paul Valentin 5pm

We’re now in the midst of the official assembly programme. We started with a gathering prayer, which truly stirred the spirit.

Powerful lamentations by all the geographic regions summarised the tremendous challenges humanity is facing.

It set the scene and tone for the conversations that will take place over the next 10 days under the motto of 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace!'

Symbolism

The gospel (Luke 24: 28-35) was chanted in Aramaic; Jesus’ own language! The Nicene Creed was spoken in all languages present in the room.

If memory serves, the Nicene Creed came about when the early church felt the need to express what is fundamental in the shared faith. Its use in this global assembly was full of meaning.

After lunch and some further encounters with protesters, we moved to the auditorium for the official opening.

Emotional presentation

The various welcoming speeches don’t need to be summarised, but the subsequent presentation organised by the Korean churches was powerful and made a deep impression.

The rich history of the country, the role of the first missionaries and the growth of the church were presented in an upbeat tone, which was abruptly cut off by the depiction of the Japanese invasion and the subsequent widespread suffering caused by the Second World War.

In an amazing mix of projected images, ballet, chanting, music and song, the continuing history from the end of the war and the division of the country was depicted, followed by the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 and the lasting pain that this still causes today.

The emotions were palpable and made me see this country in a totally different light. Enough said; the spirit is here!

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Our staff are in Busan, South Korea attending the World Council of Churches assembly. The theme of the assembly, 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace', provides a focus for theological reflection, worship and meditation, as well as for planning programmatic activities before, during and after the assembly.  

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About the author

Christian Aid's international director Paul Valentin

Paul Valentin is Christian Aid's International Director.

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