The 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) will take place in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 30 October to 8 November 2013 under the theme 'God of life, lead us to justice and peace'.
The assembly planning committee, which includes WCC Central Committee members and ecumenical partner representatives, met last week in Busan at the assembly venue – the Busan exhibition and conference centre (BEXCO).
The committee gathered to offer direction for the development of the assembly spiritual life, the assembly programme, assembly business and the partnership needed to strengthen preparations over the next two years.
The committee met with leaders and members of local churches and had the opportunity to attend early morning prayer with one local congregation. The planning committee was welcomed by the leadership of the National Host Committee in Korea during a special reception at Nurimaru APEC house overlooking the Busan coast.
During the meeting, the committee considered the Korean concept of madang as a way to root the assembly in the host context and also give shape and meaning to the gathering.
Madang is the traditional Korean 'courtyard' connecting different parts of a house; a space for discussion, deliberation, celebration and fellowship; a traditional centre of family and community life. The assembly planning committee visited a number of traditional madang spaces in the city of Kyung-ju in order to understand the concept better.
The committee affirmed that the next assembly should be prepared in a spirit of madang, inviting participants into a common space of discussion and celebration.
Previous WCC assemblies have used similar concepts to help shape the meeting – padare at the Harare Assembly in 1998 and mutirao at the Porto Alegre Assembly in 2006.
The committee discussed the assembly theme, which takes the form of a prayer, “God of life, lead us to justice peace”, and suggested different ways to engage the fellowship of member churches in reflection and spiritual preparation for the assembly.
The committee will meet again in July 2012 to finalise its proposals to the WCC Central Committee which meets in August 2012.
The dates for the assembly were revised by the WCC Executive Committee at its meeting in September 2011 in Ethiopia, to ensure the exclusive use of the venue by the assembly.