The 10th Assembly of WCC starts with prayers and reflections
The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) opened on Wednesday, 30 October in Busan, Republic of Korea under the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace.” Pope Francis has called on all Christians to intensify prayer and cooperate in service of the Gospel in a letter to the participants of the Tenth General Assembly. The President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, read the letter to participants.
The opening service of common prayer on the first day of the assembly honoured diverse faith traditions from around the world. The gathering prayer included deeply moving litanies of lamentations, cries and hopes from the churches in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and the Pacific.
The first plenary session of the assembly welcomed delegates and participants. The mayor of Busan, Hur Nam Sik, Moderator of the Korean Host Committee of the WCC assembly the Rev. Dr Kim Sam Whan and the WCC General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit welcomed all the assembly participants. Tveit expressed thanks to the Korean churches, the city of Busan and the government for their gracious hospitality and welcome. He addressed participants of the assembly which includes some 3000 participants representing 345 member churches of the WCC, including youth, WCC staff members, stewards, co-opted staff, interpreters and more than 1,000 Korean church members and day visitors. All these participants represent more than 100 countries.
Tveit also welcomed three churches accepted into the WCC fellowship since its 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2006. These churches are the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, which joined in 2008; the Lao Evangelical Church, 2008; and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, 2013.
Pope Francis told the Assembly, all Christians are called to reach out to those who find themselves in the existential peripheries of our societies and to show particular solidarity with the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the poor, the disabled, the unborn and the sick, migrants and refugees, the elderly and the young who lack.
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