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The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Christian Unity (PCPCU) has been invited by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to participate in the Tenth Assembly which will take place in Busan, Republic of Korean from 30 October to 8 November 2013 of which theme is "God of Life, lead us to Justice and Peace". The delegation of Catholic Church will be present as Observer because the Catholic Church is not a full member of the WCC; yet the WCC highly appreciates the cooperation and the active collaboration of the Catholic Church. We went to Geneva for the preparatory meeting: 17-20 February 2013; we were a Delegation of eight Observers from Rome; and Prof. Dr. Annemarie MAYER is the Catholic Consultant at the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), she lives in Geneva and Fr. Lawrence IWUAMADI, from Nigeria who is Professor at the Ecumenical Institute, Château de BOSSEY.
We received background reading for the meeting. Even though we are only Observers, the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism made a request and strongly recommended the reading of the new Mission Statement of the WCC: A New affirmation on mission and evangelism, "Together towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes"; the CWME wanted us to bring the Catholic perspective on the New Ecumenical Affirmation. This document has been unanimously approved as an official statement of the World Council of Churches by the Central committee at its meeting on the island of Crete, Greece on 5 September 2012. There has been only one official WCC mission and evangelism statement approved by the central committee in 1982, the title of the statement was: "Mission and Evangelism: An Ecumenical Affirmation". And because of the mission paradigms shift: the global landscape of Christianity has radically shifted from Northern to the Southern and Eastern Hemisphere, there was a need for a fresh look at the new global scenario and its challenges and opportunities for mission and evangelism. We need a renewed understanding and practice of mission in a rapidly evolving world. Therefore CWME has been working, since the Porto Alegre Assembly in 2006, towards a new ecumenical affirmation on mission.
Fr. Richard Nnyombi of the Missionaries of Africa (M. Afr.) he is from Uganda and both of us presented the catholic perspective of New Ecumenical Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism, the two texts will be published by the WCC. To give you a foretaste of this wonderful document I will just quote the following: "The Commission on World Mission and Evangelism is thankful to God that the world church and the affiliated mission bodies of the WCC have been able to reach a common understanding of the commitment to God's mission today. Indeed the new affirmation is truly ecumenical! There has been full participation and commitment of Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Indigenous churches from North and South, East and West, in the construction of this historic text" (101.2 (395) International Review of Mission. November 2012. New Milestone in Mission, p. 243).
Our stay in Geneva has been a learning process and at the same time we experienced the solidarity of our brothers and sisters of the WCC. Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, in his welcome address expressed his solidarity with the Catholic Church. "We are with you, we are pilgrims and God is leading us. We are praying for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Conclave". Rev. Martin Junge, the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation – A communion of Churches, said that he was very surprised upon receiving the news about Pope Benedict XVI; he expressed his solidarity with us and is praying for wisdom for the conclave.
Rev. Dr. Joseoop KEUM, from Korea introduced us into the reality of Korea: history, cultural background and the life of the Church. We are almost ready to go to South Korea for the Tenth Assembly. We pray for the success of this huge gathering: 825 of member church delegates- ecumenical partners and other churches. May they adopt this dynamic common vision!
Rome, 22 February 2013.
Lucie Nzenzili MBOMA, FMM
Executive Director of SEDOS.