Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Unity is Focus of Assembly; Press Corps Goes to Buddhist Temple

Today in Busan the experience of the 10th Assembly if the World Council of Churches from a journalist's perspective, was one mixed between appreciation for the Assembly statement on Unity and a tour to a mountaintop Buddhist temple.
The morning plenary was dedicated to unity and the Assembly Statement on Unity. Dame Mary Tanner, herself an icon of the ecumenical movement, introduced the plenary, reminding all of the prayer of Jesus Christ in John 17:21, "That they all may be one," and that this unity is primarily that unity found in the Godhead himself.
First there were two presentations; one by Metropolitan Nifon of Târgoviste, Patriarchal Exarch for external and ecumenical relationships of the Patriarchate of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and one by the Rev. Dr. Neville Callam of Jamaica, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. Both presentations were deeply appreciative of the Faith and Order work of the WCC and called for a deepening of the koinonia/communion of the Church. Metropolitan Nifon stressed the relationship within the Trinity and Dr. Callam emphasized the need to come to a convergence on authority and the sources of authority.
Everyone in the auditorium was then asked to write down a prayer for unity. These were collected in baskets by the Assembly volunteers.
Turning then to personal stories of the quest for unity, Mary Tanner introduced Ms. Alice Fabian, a South African and candidate for ordination in the United Congregational Church in Southern Africa and Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald of Canada, National Indigenous Bishop of Canada, to speak.
Both told very personal tales. Ms. Fabian spoke of the unity of her own church community in overcoming separation by Zulus and non-Zulus. Bishop MacDonald spoke of indigenous issues and the fact that there are lessons to be learned when people are essentially forced together by necessity.
The Brothers of TaizĂ© led the auditorium in singing Ubi Caritas and Laudate Omnes Gentes as the plenary ended.
After lunch, a little over 30 journalists covering the Assembly accepted an invitation to go to the mountains outside Busan for a visit to the Beomeosa Buddhist Temple. It was an outstanding experience as some of these photographs demonstrate.
It was well worth it and followed by an exquisite tea break in the hills overlooking Haeundae Beach.

No comments:

Post a Comment